2024 College Basketball Championship Preview

NCAA Game Ball
NCAA Game Ball | Image by Jack Dempsey/Getty Images

Purdue and UConn will play for the 2024 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship in Glendale, Arizona, on Monday night.

Both teams were No.1 seeds and made relatively easy work of their opponents. As previously mentioned by The Dallas Express, UConn, the defending national champion, has won its last 11 NCAA Tournament games by at least 13 points, while Purdue was only really challenged during the Elite Eight game against Tennessee.

Here are some storylines and potential keys to Monday’s game:

Battle of the Seven-Footers

The headliners for this game will be back-to-back National Player of the Year Zach Edey (Purdue) and Donovan Clingan (UConn), both standing over seven feet tall and causing chaos for opponents. Edey led Purdue to the championship game with a 20-point, 12-rebound, four-assist performance against North Carolina State while holding South Regional Most Outstanding Player DJ Burns Jr. to just eight points. Meanwhile, Clingan has at least 14 points and eight rebounds in four of the Huskies’ five tournament games and is a projected lottery pick in the 2024 NBA Draft.

Guard Play

While everyone will be focused on the big men, the performance of each team’s guards will be equally crucial. Purdue guard Braden Smith has been one of its best players all season, but he struggled against North Carolina State on Saturday with just three points. Luckily, Fletcher Loyer and Lance Jones picked up the slack offensively for the backcourt, but UConn’s guards are much more athletic and provide a more significant challenge.

All three of the Huskies’ starting guards average at least 11 points per game. Cam Spencer is one of the country’s best three-point shooters, while Tristan Newton and Stephon Castle have incredible length and athleticism that may cause issues for the Boilermakers.


UConn became the seventh defending national champion to reach the Final Four in the following season since 1991, joining UNLV, Duke, Arkansas, Kentucky, Michigan State, and Florida. If the Huskies beat Purdue, they will become the eighth team to win consecutive championships and the first since Florida in 2006 and 2007. UConn would also tie North Carolina with its sixth national championship — the third-most in NCAA history.

Snapping a Drought?

Purdue could snap multiple droughts with a win. The Boilermakers reached the Final Four for the first time since 1980 and are in the championship game for the first time since 1969, but they have never won a title. Additionally, the Big Ten Conference has yet to win the national title since Michigan State beat Florida in 2000.

Keeping the Trend

Last season, Purdue became just the second No.1 seed in NCAA Tournament history to lose in the First Round when it lost to Farleigh Dickinson. The only other, Virginia in 2018, came back the next season to win the national title. Can Purdue follow suit?

The 2024 National Championship game begins at 8:20 p.m. CT and will air on TBS.

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