With every passing round, it becomes increasingly clear that UConn was underseeded on Selection Sunday. The No. 4 seed Huskies once again demonstrated their superiority in the West regional Sweet 16 matchup against No. 8 Arkansas, demolishing the Hogs with a convincing 88-65 victory.
A Blistering Start For The Huskies
UConn set the tone early in the game, shooting at a blistering 61 percent in the first half to build a commanding 46-29 halftime lead. From there, the Huskies shifted into cruise control and never looked back, coasting to an easy win.
This marks UConn’s third consecutive lopsided victory in the NCAA tournament, having beaten No. 13 Iona by 24 and No. 5 Saint Mary’s by 15 in the first and second rounds, respectively.
Led by Jordan Hawkins’ 24 points, the fourth-seeded Huskies (28-8) will now face the winner of the UCLA-Gonzaga game in the Elite Eight on Saturday in Las Vegas. Adama Sanogo added 18 points and eight rebounds. Meanwhile, Arkansas’ season came to a disappointing end with a record of 22-14.
Hawkins triple 👌 @UConnMBB pic.twitter.com/CpnbcBApMU
— CBS Sports College Basketball 🏀 (@CBSSportsCBB) March 24, 2023
For the game, the Huskies shot an impressive 57.4% from the field and outrebounded the Razorbacks 43-31, including a 42-24 advantage in points in the paint.
Despite Anthony Black’s 20 points and 17 from Ricky Council IV, Arkansas struggled to keep up with UConn’s offensive firepower, shooting just 31.7% from the field. The loss ends the Razorbacks’ season, which saw them reach the Sweet 16 for the third year in a row and make consecutive appearances in the Elite Eight for the first time in program history.
The Huskies really put things out of reach early with a few runs but none bigger than a 14-0 run highlighted by a strong finish from Adama Sanogo, prompting Arkansas’ Eric Musselman to call a timeout with 7:42 left in the first half and his team down 34-17.
Although Makhi Mitchell broke a scoreless streak of over four minutes, and Arkansas got back-to-back three-pointers from Smith and Davis, they were unable to string together enough stops to chip away at their deficit. As a result, UConn went into the final media break with a commanding 42-25 lead and 3:33 left until halftime.
Both teams traded baskets in the final minutes, and UConn carried a 46-29 lead into the locker room at halftime.
Huskies Stay Strong Late
In the second half, Arkansas tried to chip away at UConn’s lead, but the Huskies never relinquished control of the game. UConn’s Adama Sanogo continued his strong play, scoring six straight points midway through the half to keep the Razorbacks at bay. Arkansas was able to cut the lead to 13 points with just under eight minutes remaining, but UConn responded with a 10-0 run to put the game out of reach. UConn’s defense stifled Arkansas all game, holding the Razorbacks to just 31.7% shooting from the field.