UCONN is now basketball's gold standard for winning, even if their competition was non-existent.
Congratulations to the UCONN Lady Huskies on winning their 89th game in a row with a 93-62 win over 20th ranked Florida State on tuesday night. It broke the UCLA men’s record of 88 straight between 1971-74 with the legendary John Wooden at the helm.
It was their 87th win by more than 10 points in another contest against a team that wasn’t nearly as talented as Geno Auriemma’s squad. It was another dominant performance by a dominant program that has ruled their sport like no other team. Now for the bad news.
For all of ESPN’s coverage of the big event, it’s stress of how important it is and where it ranks in the annals of sports history, it’s really about as much of a big deal as UCONN’s next opponent.
This isn’t a sexist rant about how a women’s team can’t be compared to a men’s team or how it’s a shame that a woman’s team is taking a men’s record, it’s about the fact that the UCONN women’s record isn’t that big of a deal because of the state of women’s basketball is dull and lame.
It’s a sport with one player. Tennessee isn’t the powerhouse it once was, LSU has taken a step back since Pokey Chapman left, Baylor is a one woman show with Britney Griner and Louisville, Texas, Maryland, Duke, Stanford and North Carolina all are having off years.
UCONN doesn’t get the players, it gets every player. Rebecca Lobo, Diana Taurasi, Sue Bird, Tina Charles and Maya Moore are just a few of the seemingly hundreds of immensely talented women to walk the doors at Storrs. While Geno isn’t exactly crying about it it’s put all of the focus in one place.
The women’s game isn’t nearly as fun because there is no parody. There’s no possible sleepers, no underdogs, no great small school story. There’s no Davidson’s, no Butler’s, no Stephen Curry’s, no other reason to watch any other game that doesn’t feature UCONN.
Back when the Huskies and Tennessee were knee deep in a rivalry that was worthy of being mentioned with Duke-UNC, there were reasons to turn on ESPN and watch. Then there was the eventual rising of the three headed ACC monster which led to a great national title game in Boston. However, when Auriemma inexplicably ended the yearly feud with the Vols (thanks to a real feud with legendary Pat Summit) it immediately dropped the relevance of the sport.
Since then it’s been all UCONN all the time with no one to stop them or say anything about it.
For the last three or four years there’s been no reason to turn on a woman’s game because you already know the end result of the season. The regular season, conference tourneys and even the big dance are all pointless when you see UCONN on ESPN2 on Monday nights steamrolling the so called competition. Whether you’re ranked 2,3,4,5 or whatever, Duke, Oklahoma, Baylor, Stanford it doesn’t matter. It’s a loss and it’s big and it’s a waste of two hours.
In order for the game to matter the games need to matter. Parody needs to be in place for records,like the one that was just broken to matter.
The reason why the Patriots undefeated run was so great wasn’t that they blasted every opponent, it was the games like the Colts game, the Ravens game on Monday night that caused such a stir, the Eagles game that raised questions about the Pats and the Giants game for the record (and the other Giants game too, hehehe. Sorry had to rub that one in). They were all tough games that stirred out interest because even though they weren’t equal to the Pats there was that small chance that they could beat them and it almost happened.
That’s not there for UCONN. except for the Baylor game in November no game has been interesting enough for me or anyone to watch. They’re just scoreline games to watch and laugh at the ridiculous score while I watch the Rangers or Knicks.
Don’t get it twisted, winning 89 games in a row is hard for anyone to do. Anythings can happen in any scenario to anyone to cause a loss (ask the Giants). However, as great a feat a this is it would be better if the game was better.
When UCLA reeled off it’s 88 game Picasso it beat great teams like Memphis, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Indiana, Michigan and Louisville. It won it’s games by 9.5 points a game. It grinded out wins and blew teams away. That’s why the 88 game winning streak was so impressive and still stands in the men’s game today.
UCONN does deserve the record, they won their games and won them with emphasis. The record books will change and the Lady Huskies will sit on top of the mountain. However, they ain’t UCLA. Geno ain’t the wizard, Maya Moore ain’t Bill Walton and the Huskies didn’t didn’t face nearly as good of competition relevant to their game. If they did then the record-breaking performance should be trumpeted as one of the best ever. Instead all I did was peak at the score and finish watching the Washington Capitals break their losing streak. Sad, but true.