29 Apr

 UConn vs. Purdue is 10th time No. 1 seeds meet with title on the line

The matchup for the national championship game is set for Monday night in Glendale, Arizona, and it will feature No. 1 overall seed and reigning national champion UConn facing No. 1 seed Purdue. The last game of the 2023-24 college basketball season will mark the 10th matchup between No. 1 seeds for the national title.

UConn is looking to become the first time since Florida in 2006-07 to repeat as national champions. Purdue has never won a national title, and they’re making its first national championship appearance since 1969 after knocking off NC State on Saturday in the Final Four.

This will mark the fourth instance of No. 1 seeds meeting for the title since 2015. The last matchup came in 2021 when No. 1 seed Baylor knocked off No. 1 overall seed Gonzaga 86-70 to claim its first national title in program history. The Bulldogs came into that game with a perfect 31-0 record before the Bears handed them their first and only loss of the season.

The third occurrence of No. 1 seeds facing off for the title was the same season UConn won its first national championship. The Huskies were a heavy betting underdog against Duke in the 1999 title game and pulled the upset behind a monster performance from former program great Richard Hamilton. Just over 25 years later, UConn is seeking its sixth title and could tie North Carolina for the third-most national championships all-time behind UCLA and Kentucky.

Here is a look at the previous nine title game matchups between No. 1 seeds.

1982: North Carolina 63, Georgetown 62
The first time No. 1 seeds faced off for the title, North Carolina had a player on the roster you might be familiar with. His name is Michael Jordan. Jordan hit a go-ahead jumper with 15 seconds remaining, and James Worthy stole the ball on the other end to seal the win. Worthy scored a game-high 28 points, and Jordan added 16. Future NBA star Patrick Ewing scored 23 points and added 11 rebounds for Georgetown.

1993: North Carolina 77, Michigan 71
The final game Michigan’s “Fab Five” would play together was marred by a late-game mistake by Chris Webber. With the Wolverines down two points with 18 seconds remaining, Webber dribbled the ball up the floor before getting trapped in the corner near his team’s bench. Webber called a timeout when his team didn’t have any, which resulted in a technical foul. North Carolina was able to ice the game from the free throw line to capture its third championship in program history.

1999: UConn 77, Duke 74
UConn snapped Duke’s 32-game win streak to capture its first title. Hamilton scored 27 points, and Ricky Moore added 13. The Huskies were nearly a double-digit underdog (9.5 points) in this game partly because Duke’s roster featured four future lottery picks: Elton Brand, Trajan Langdon, Corey Maggette, and Williams Avery.

2005: North Carolina 75, Illinois 70
North Carolina coach Roy Williams won his first national title in thrilling fashion against Illinois. The Tar Heels took a 13-point lead into the locker room before the Fighting Illini stormed back to tie the game at 70. North Carolina big man Sean May scored a game-high 26 points, and future NBA guard Raymond Felton added 17. Illinois had a chance to tie the game late but missed a 3-pointer. Felton converted both free throws seconds later to seal the win.

2007: Florida 84, Ohio State 75
Florida returned all five starters from its championship team in 2006 and returned to the Final Four the following season with eyes on repeating. The Gators featured six future NBA players (Taurean Green, Al Horford, Corey Brewer, Joakim Noah, Chris Richard, and Marreese Speights) who all bypassed the draft to return to school for another run. Florida knocked off a Greg Oden-led Ohio State team to become the last team to repeat as national champions.

2008: Kansas 75, Memphis 68
One of the most thrilling endings in NCAA Tournament history was encapsulated perfectly by the former voice of the Final Four, Jim Nantz.

“(Sherron) Collins, driving, almost lost the handle. (Mario) Chalmers, for the tie. Got it, with two seconds! Unbelievable!”

With Kansas trailing by three in the final moments, Chalmers knocked down a 3-pointer that sent the game to overtime. The Jayhawks outscored the Tigers 12-5 beyond regulation to win their third national championship.

2015: Duke 68, Wisconsin 63
With Duke trailing by nine points midway through the second half, Duke guard Grayson Allen came off the bench to provide a spark. Allen finished with 16 points, and Tyus Jones added 23 to help legendary coach Mike Krzyzewski win his fifth national title. It would also mark Krzyzewski’s last. Wisconsin upset No. 1 overall seed Kentucky in the Final Four to reach the title game for the first time since 1941.

2017: North Carolina 71, Gonzaga 65
After being on the wrong side of one of the best finishes in NCAA Tournament history the year prior against Villanova, North Carolina found redemption the following season with a thrilling title game win over Gonzaga. The Tar Heels trailed by three points at the break and outscored the Bulldogs 39-30 in the final frame to capture their sixth national title. UNC guard Joel Berry ll scored 22 points, and Justin Jackson added 16.

2021: Baylor 86, Gonzaga 70
Gonzaga came into this game looking to become the first team since Indiana (1975-76) to finish as undefeated national champions. Baylor stars Jared Butler, Davion Mitchell, and Macio Teague led the charge on offense to deny Gonzaga from history. The entire NCAA Tournament in 2021 was held at various sites around Indianapolis due to COVID-19.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *