HOUSTON — One of the primary talking points during the 2022-23 college basketball season was the lack of elite, dominant teams.
North Carolina began the season as the number one ranked team, but quickly fell out of the top 25 and didn't even make the NCAA Tournament. Other teams took over the mantle at times, including Purdue, Houston, and Alabama, but it felt like a year with a lot of parity rather than a year full of dominance.
And yet, when the dust settled on the season and One Shining Moment blared through TV screens across the country, we had collectively witnessed one of the most dominant runs through the NCAA Tournament in the modern era.
Dan Hurley's UConn Huskies became the first-ever champion to win all six of their games by 13 or more points, and joined an exclusive club of teams to win every game by double-digits: Michigan State in 2000, Duke in 2001, North Carolina in 2009 and Villanova in 2018.
In fact, UConn did not lose a single game to a non-conference opponent, and their closest margin of victory outside of Big East play was a ten point win over Oklahoma State early in the season.
Locked on College Basketball hosts Isaac Schade and Andy Patton broke down UConn's national championship as well as their excellent run from the four seed in the west region all the way to their fifth title in the past 25 years.
The term blue blood is intentionally undefined, leaving interpretation up to each individual. Duke, North Carolina, Kentucky, and Kansas are never left out of this conversation, but the rest of the group tends to create more divisiveness. UCLA? Indiana? Michigan State? What about 'new bloods' like Gonzaga or Baylor?
UConn finds themselves in the midst of this conversation as well, joining an extremely select group of programs to win five titles in a 25 year period: Duke and UCLA.
But UConn's performance outside of the championships doesn't compare as favorably to the traditional blue blood programs, and movement from the Big East to the AAC and back to the Big East likely isn't helping them from a reputation standpoint either.
Still, the Huskies are the only team to win three consecutive titles under three different head coaches, having won under Jim Calhoun in 2011 (and 1999 and 2004) followed by Kevin Ollie in 2014 and now Hurley in 2023.
That kind of success is very hard to ignore, and puts UConn in the conversation as one of the best programs in college basketball history. Blue Blood? That's the unsolvable debate, but one UConn certainly made a strong case for on Monday.