The 2023-24 NCAA basketball season was one marked by significant changes, remarkable performances, and a thrilling end with the NCAA Tournament, culminating in the championship game. From conference realignments to a fascinating postseason, the season was a rollercoaster of emotions for teams and fans alike.

A season of changes

The season kicked off amidst the backdrop of notable conference shifts. The Big Ten Conference announced the additions of Oregon and Washington from the Pac-12, heralding a new era of competition starting in 2024-25. Those two schools will join UCLA and USC to make up the newly expanded conference. 

Similarly, the Atlantic Coast Conference confirmed it will welcome California, SMU, and Stanford starting next season, broadening its geographical footprint and competitive landscape. These moves, along with Oklahoma and Texas joining the SEC, are among several set to reshape the collegiate athletic conferences starting in 2024-25, setting the stage for an unpredictable and exciting year in collegiate sports.

Regular season highlights

During the regular season, the AP released its preseason All-America team, shining a spotlight on standout players such as Zach Edey of Purdue, who was celebrated as the reigning national player of the year and a unanimous All-America selection. Other notable mentions included Tyler Kolek of Marquette and Kyle Filipowski of Duke, among others, who were expected to make significant impacts for their respective teams.

The NCAA also introduced changes to the transfer portal windows, affecting men’s and women’s basketball by opening the portal the day after Selection Sunday for a duration of 45 days. This move was aimed at streamlining the transfer process and aligning it more closely with the sport’s calendar​.

Basketball shot through the hoop and moving the net

The road to the championship

The tournament began with the First Four in Dayton, Ohio, and progressed through rounds hosted in various cities across the United States, including Charlotte, Omaha, Pittsburgh, and Salt Lake City for the first and second rounds. The regionals took place in iconic venues like TD Garden in Boston and the Arena in Los Angeles, leading up to the Final Four hosted at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.

In a series of fiercely contested matches, teams like UConn, Houston, North Carolina, and Purdue showcased their prowess, rewarding those who made NCAA first round bets on these schools. Longshots like Oakland, Grand Canyon, and Yale proved to be this year’s Cinderella surprises while powerhouse schools with big dreams like Auburn and Kentucky went home early.

UConn, aiming for a title repeat, displayed dominance early on, alongside Purdue; these two teams seemed destined from the start to be on a collision course in the championship game. Top seeds Houston and North Carolina suffered upset losses in the Sweet 16 while Alabama and North Carolina State proved doubters wrong, joining UConn and Purdue in the Final Four.

Game being played on the NCAA March Madness court

UConn’s repeat and tournament conclusion

The tournament’s climax saw UConn successfully defending their title, a testament to the team’s resilience, strategy, and skill. This victory underscored UConn’s status as a powerhouse in college basketball, achieving back-to-back championships in a fiercely competitive environment. 

UConn’s repeat win, the first since Florida in 2007, was done in historic fashion, winning six games by a combined total of 140, an NCAA Tournament record. When you add in last year’s tournament, UConn went 12-0 and won every game by at least 15 points, a feat also never achieved before.

Upcoming NCAAB season outlook

The recent conclusion of the men’s college basketball season saw Connecticut triumphantly securing their second consecutive national championship, yet the fleeting moment of victory swiftly gives way to anticipation for the 2024-25 campaign. The approaching season, set against the vibrant backdrop of San Antonio’s Final Four, invites speculation and forecasts amidst the fluid dynamics of the transfer portal and the coaching carousel still in motion. This era’s inherent unpredictability, compounded by decisions surrounding players’ returns or draft entries, frames a compelling prelude to the forthcoming basketball narrative.

Duke emerges as a formidable contender, boasting a six-member recruiting class including Cooper Flagg and Isaiah Evans, which could position them as a national title threat under Coach Jon Scheyer’s guidance. Alabama, with the potential return of Mark Sears, stands as an SEC powerhouse and a serious contender for the Final Four. Iowa State looks to maintain its upward trajectory with a strong backcourt, whereas Kansas hopes for key returns to reclaim its dominance in the Big 12.

Defending champions Connecticut face a rebuild, with significant departures but hopeful contributions from returners like Alex Karaban. North Carolina and Creighton, each awaiting decisions from pivotal players, could either surge or adjust their expectations based on the outcomes. Tennessee and Purdue, despite key losses, remain hopeful for strong seasons with their experienced and talented rosters.

As teams recalibrate and fans recalibrate their expectations, the essence of college basketball’s competition remains a beacon of excitement and unity. The upcoming season, with its blend of legacy teams like Duke and dark horses energised by the transfer market, promises a rich tapestry of stories waiting to unfold on the hardwood. Amidst this ever-evolving landscape, the enduring allure of NCAA basketball beckons anew, inviting participants and spectators to a tradition of excellence and relentless pursuit of victory.

A college basketball game as part of the NCAAB season


The 2023-24 NCAA basketball season will be remembered for its significant transitions, the emergence of new stars, and the thrilling climax of the NCAA Tournament. As conferences realigned and teams battled through the regular season and into the postseason, the sport demonstrated once again why it captivates millions. UConn’s NCAAB championship victory not only cemented their legacy but also set the stage for what promises to be another exciting season ahead, as teams and fans look forward to the challenges and triumphs that lie on the horizon.

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