Not much intro needed here. Dance off between Uconn and USF.
Not much intro needed here. Dance off between Uconn and USF.
The lady Huskies take on division rivals Louisville tonight in the national championship game. Uconn is 38-0 and has beaten Louisville twice this year by a combined 67 points. Is this Uconn team the best team women’s basketball has ever seen? Better yet, are they the best collegiate basketball team ever assembled? I ask this knowing that if they lose it would be a Miracle on Ice level upset. It would be a bigger upset than the Giants beating the Pats or Buster Douglas knocking out Mike Tyson, but you won’t hear much about it because its women’s basketball.
The Uconn women’s team is beating teams by 30 points every time out. In the second round of the tournament, the Huskies went down eight points in the first half to California. This was the largest deficit they faced all year, at any point of any game. They proceeded to go on a 40-12 run and win the game by 24 points. Their closest two games were 10 point wins over Rutgers and Notre Dame.
The real strength of this team is their depth. Maya Moore would score 40 points a game if she played for most programs. She averages less than 20 for Uconn, but never loses. Renee Montgomery averages about 17 and has an assist/turnover ratio over two. Geno’s favorite target, Tina Charles is an absolute beast, and is as good a big as you can find in the nation. There are no egos, no stars. They are a team united in their fear and hatred (which grows into respect) for Geno Auriemma.
Then the depth starts. Uconn freshman Caroline Doty went down after 17 games, and fans were worried. Geno went to his bench and found Tiffany Hayes and Lorin Dixon. Their next game came just a day after they told Doty she was out for the season against the second ranked North Carolina Tarheels. Uconn beat UNC in a tough game… by thirty.
Uconn is shooting over 50% from the field for the season while opponents have shot right around 33% against them. This team has the best offense in the nation (84.2ppg) and the second best scoring defense in the nation (53.4ppg). This is not your average great team, though. They outhustle, they outrun, they outwork other teams. The leaders give an example that the young players follow and they defend at 100 miles an hour all game long. Geno won’t let them go any slower.
This is a videogame team. They provide a stress-free watching experience for fans. A win tonight would cap a truly remarkable season, and a loss would be one of the biggest upsets in sport’s history. It is a shame that not many people will watch this game. Women’s basketball, though some consider it an inferior product, is really the last true semi-popular amateur sport. These girls are playing for their schools and to win. There is no giant contract waiting, no shoe deal around the next corner. Could a women’s team really be the best ever? Probably not, but its hard for me to think of a team that has been as fun to watch as this year’s Lady Huskies.
I was just going to comment on my distinguished colleague’s article. Then, I read it. So, due to the fact that it was complete bullshit. I decided to write my own.
Jim Calhoun is Uconn. As much as Geno Auriemma is the women’s program, Calhoun is the men’s program. Calhoun takes players who aren’t necessarily top recruits, and rarely are good citizens, and turns them into great teams and great individuals. Kemba Walker is the first McDonald’s All Amercian Uconn has had since Rudy Gay left in 2006. The other big name coaches (Roy Williams, Mike… umm Coach K, Bill Self) get High School All Americans every year. With the fascists at the NCAA forcing High Schoolers to spend a year in college now, these recruits are critical to programs.
In a comment you said,
“You really think recruits solely come to UCONN for Jimbo?,” well, yes actually they do. They know what he has produced since 1986. He turns great athletes that have been somewhat overlooked into NBA stars. Of the guys he coached currently in the NBA you could create a pretty solid team. Ray Allen, Rip Hamilton, Caron Butler, Emeka Okafor, Charlie Villanueva, and Rudy Gay have all turned out pretty good.
To say that Calhoun is washed up, is just a lack of research. Calhoun is 556 and 204 in his career at Uconn. Connecticut had one bad season in recent years in 2006-07, the season after the departure of Marcus Williams, Josh Boone, Rudy Gay, and Hilton Armstrong. Since then they are 55 and 14. And also, they did just lose in the National semifinal, so I guess all but two coaches in the country are washed up.
This is a program that means very little to people outside the state of Connecticut, but means everything there. Uconn is not like a University of Texas, UNC, or Kansas where they can recruit in state and get guys who grew up dreaming of playing there. Uconn has local kids growing up wanting to play there, but Connecticut produces rich, five foot five white kids, not basketball players.
To say that this game was lost because of a lack of heart is also not true. Uconn did not give up. On the contrary, by the end they were playing too forcefully, AJ Price was trying too hard to run the show, and everyone went cold. You also failed to mention that MSU was playing in front of a home crowd.
The “distractions” you speak of took place when the NCAA tournament had already started and did not seem to affect Uconn all that much until they lost in the final four to a number two seed in an away game. Obviously this occurred as a result of the distractions. Unless you are speaking of the reporter telling Jim Calhoun, basically the CEO of one of the only currently profitable corporations in Connecticut, that he ought to take a pay cut. The reporter, who was first off, not a real reporter, and second of all, a douchebag, deserved to get yelled at, and did. Look at John Calipari’s new contract and go tell him to take a paycut.
It would be a shame for Calhoun to leave because it would turn Connecticut into purely a women’s basketball state. The state needs Calhoun or else the program will end up in ruins.
“It’s time for you to go Jimbo. Not because of your health, but
because the program shouldn’t be about you.”
The program is about him, just like any good college program should be about the coach. They have four years max to make guys mesh and win. Calhoun has done this as well as anyone else for the last 23 years. He may be underrated in fact. Uconn was ranked #2 in the preseason, and lost their smartest and best defensive player (Sorry Thabeet, you’re a pussy) to injury. They finished #3. I guess you would have only been happy with a national championship. Washed up, yeah, so’s Tom Brady.
He has done a great job coaching this UCONN program, and putting it all together.
This years collapse however, just shows how overmatched he has now become. Sure, they lost Jerome Dyson so that’s why a lot of people are going to overlook this horrific loss and say, well they did better than expected! No I’m sorry, that’s not acceptable for a “legendary” coach.
UCONN entered the game against Michigan State knowing what to expect. Michigan State is known to be a very physical team, with a strong team emphasis on rebounding. Hm, sound like any other teams (PITTSBURGH)? Jim Calhoun did not prepare his team for this game. No one in the nation can dispute the fact that UCONN is a much more talented team, yet they are out of the tourney and get to sit and watch the game they should have been in. So how did this happen?
A: The loss of Jerome Dyson was too much to overcome.
Wrong. They have been showing all season this team has too much talent to let that stop them. Yet, come time to put up, they fall short.
B: Jim Calhoun is no longer a great coach.
DING DING. Absolutely right. The distractions that the UCONN team faced this year, all stemmed from their “legendary” coach. Be it how much money this fraud makes a year, his health and well being, his recruiting scandal. It doesn’t matter. HE was the distraction. Not only did he serve as a distraction, or an excuse, for his immature team, however he did not get them ready for the big games. Losing to Pittsburgh twice in the same season, when you are the team to beat, is not the makings of a great coach. A great coach reads and reacts to what is happening. Yet, both of those games they were overmatched physically and beat to the ball far too often.
Not enough for you? What happened vs. Michigan State? The team had NO HEART. They got beat physically and mentally. They didn’t play like they wanted to win that game. They played like they were okay with whatever happened. You let your team dance around for 20 minutes in front of the camera like they just won the world series, when all they really did was clear the quarterfinals, and this is what happens to your immature program. ALL THEY DID WAS MAKE THE FINAL FOUR. BIG DEAL. The team is already filled with extremely immature players, who know their lives have been gift wrapped for them. You don’t let them take pride in the fact that they made the semifinals of a tournament. You drive them for more.
You win that tournament and then you celebrate.
Michigan State brought heart and determination. They weren’t content with making the semifinals because they knew they weren’t supposed to be there. They knew this was not their tournament to win, but they were going to win it. Tom Izzo got them to believe they needed to win this for their state. To bring joy to a state in economic ruin.
That’s what Calhoun is missing now. He doesn’t have the heart to convince his players that they are playing for more than popularity. Calhoun is content to ride in the spotlight and let whatever happens happen. He’s content to let the spotlight be on him, while his team falters in the big games. He’s selfish and washed up.
It’s time for you to go Jimbo. Not because of your health, but because the program shouldn’t be about you.