HOUSTON — It’s now been five games of this.
Five games of routs. Five games of blowouts. Five games in which Connecticut hasn’t broken a sweat, five games in which the opposition has looked like it didn’t belong on the same court.
It was more of the same Saturday night.
Fifth-seeded Miami, coming off impressive wins over No. 1 Houston and second-seeded Texas, was overwhelmed. It was never really in the game over the final 30 minutes, as the fourth-seeded Huskies cruised to a 72-59 national semifinal victory and booked a title game meeting with No. 5 San Diego State on Monday night.
This run is starting to become reminiscent of Villanova’s title in 2018, when the Wildcats won their six tournament games by an average of 17.6 points. In five games, Connecticut is winning by 20.6 points per contest.
“We don’t stop. We keep putting our foot on their neck,” said Huskies star guard Jordan Hawkins, who played through a stomach bug and scored 13 points. “I think we can out-tough anybody.”
UConn entered the Final Four the overwhelming favorite, and it certainly looked the part in the nightcap. The Huskies became the sixth team since the tournament expanded in 1985 to win its first five games by double figures. Four of them cut down the nets.
Adama Sanogo continued his fantastic tournament, producing 21 points and 10 rebounds, and when Miami converged on him, UConn (30-8) made them pay from the perimeter, hitting nine 3-pointers.
Undersized and too thin up front, the Hurricanes (29-8) had no answer inside, out-rebounded by nine and outscored in the paint, 38-24. Their three-headed guard monster of Isaiah Wong, Jordan Miller and Nijel Pack were held in check. They scored 34 points on an inefficient 30 shots. Miami was held to a season-low 59 points.
The Huskies have the feel of a dominant No. 1 seed, not a No. 4 that has gotten hot at the right time. UConn greats Kemba Walker, Ray Allen, Emeka Okafor and Rip Hamilton were in attendance watching a performance that had to feel familiar to the former national champions.
“When we’re playing harder than the other team, which is our calling card, going plus-nine on the glass, playing elite defense, and having a lot of answers on offense, there’s nowhere where we’re weak as a team, and we’re deep,” coach Dan Hurley said. “So we’re able to kind of body-blow our opponent and continue to put together quality possessions at both ends and it has a cumulative effect. It’s been able to break opponents.”
Most impressively, not everything went according to plan for Hurley’s team. Hawkins was clearly not 100 percent.
He managed just three first-half points, before finding the range after halftime. Do-it-all wing Andre Jackson Jr. had foul trouble and was limited to four minutes in the first half. It didn’t matter.
UConn still led by 13 at the break, behind 13 points from the dominant Sanogo on 5-of-6 shooting.
Joey Calcaterra and Alex Karaban hit 3-pointers late in the half, sending the Huskies into the break with momentum.
It got worse for Miami after halftime, Connecticut quickly pushing the lead to 20 and threatening to run away and hide.