UConn 76 San Diego State 59: Numbers of Note

On Monday, UConn claimed the national championship with a 76-59 victory over San Diego State. The matchup at NRG Stadium in Houston saw UConn finish at 31-8 while San Diego State closed the books on an outstanding 32-7 campaign. Tristen Newton of UConn scored a game high 19 points. San Diego State was led by Keshad Johnson with 14. The numbers of note….

Eye test vs. Numbers:

UConn gives the perception of a team looking to get out in transition. San Diego State, more of a grind it out team. Interestingly, one possession separated UConn and San Diego State this season. The Huskies averaged 67 possessions per game, the Aztecs checked in at 66. For the night the game was contested at a 69 possession pace.


The offensive efficiency department saw Danny Hurley’s club enjoying a 110-86 edge. The offensive performance for UConn was by normal means, excellent. It was however below the 121 average that put UConn third in the nation in that category.

Defensively, the Huskies check in at a 91 defensive efficiency (7th in the country). The aforementioned 86 efficiency of San Diego State (normally posting a 111 OE) shows the Huskies were notably above average on defense category on this night.

San Diego State, known for their defense, held opponents to a 90 efficiency, fourth in the nation. In simple terms, the Aztecs were below par on both the offensive and defensive ends.

The factor that mattered most:

Of the Four Factors, eFG (effective field goal) percentage was arguably the most decisive. San Diego State was limited to a 37% eFG mark. UConn was slightly higher at 41%. The Aztecs norm for eFG is 49%. Obviously they struggled on that end, again, give credit to the UConn defense. The Huskies with the likes of 6’9" Adama Sangoro, the Tournament MOP, and 7’2" Donovan Clingan inside, forced San Diego State into 36% shooting (13-36) from two point range. Having to go on the perimeter the Aztecs only hit 6 of 23 for a 26% showing from beyond the arc. San Diego State did get some good looks from deep but came up empty all too often.

Numbers don’t measure heart:

The numbers will tell us a great deal about a given team or individual. The metrics and spreadsheets do come up short in measuring heart and resilience. Brian Dutcher’s Aztecs led early by a 10-6 count. UConn settled in and gradually built a significant double digit lead. Facing a significant deficit, the Aztecs went on a run of their own to cut the Husky lead to two possessions with under six minutes to play. UConn, sparked by a Jordan Hawkins three pointer, answered and went on a 9-0 spurt to seal the verdict. Throughout the tournament the Aztecs showed fight and the ability to come back in adverse situations (see the national semifinal against FAU). On this night they came back but could not finish the job.

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