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Hop's Heresy: UCLA’s mark remains intact

December 23, 2010

Geno Auriemma

    It's like tossing an ice cube into a pan of hot oil ... but it's got to be said. Geno Auriemma and the UConn women did not break the UCLA-John Wooden 88-game consecutive win record!
    Sure, they have 89 wins in a row, but the last time I checked, it was a different sport. UConn plays women's basketball. UCLA played men's basketball. It's not the same. It's not even close!
    Both sports are played in arenas, and the balls are round. That's about it as far as like qualities, other than the basket is 10 feet tall in each sport. The ball is even a different size. The speed of the sport, the strength of the players, the size of the players ... it's all so very different.
    Say Iowa wins 89 wrestling matches in a row, does that put them one up on Wooden and UCLA? That's almost the same comparison.
    What Geno and his young ladies have accomplished, although without beating Tennessee in that streak, is amazing and it should be honored ... as a great accomplishment in women's sports.
    Women's sports ... are not men's sports.
    The men have their records, and the women have their records. Great.
    What Geno is upset about is that they are not getting the attention and love that he feels a record of that magnitude deserves, and he has to be pointing to the media. It's been getting plenty of ink since the first of the year, albeit few sports magazine covers. Now he's getting some TV time. Some, at least on ESPN.
    No, he's not going to get the same accolades that a men's team would get in the same situation, but no men's team is ever going to do that again. The competition is just too tough, and there are enough gifted players to spread around. However, if a team did make a run at it, it would be huge in the media.
    The media is going to gang up on the sports that are popular, that sell advertising ... and are fun to cover. Most women's sports just don't make the cut. Now, if the women supported girls and women's sports as they do men's sports, that would definitely make a difference. I don't see that happening.
    You can make public schools offer the same amount, or more, girls sports because of federal funding. You can't make an independent media do equal coverage. They are not going to do it with cost and space as the big reasons.
    At a small newspaper like the Daily Democrat, we can juggle coverage and give the girls sports plenty of ink and pictures, thought it definitely means a few more nights away from home, dinners on the run, and late nights. Tough life!
    Auriemma's UConn women have dominated, with the average margin of victory nearly 30 points. Though Pat Summit and her Tennessee Vols won't sechedule Geno and his ladies because of a spat, it is strange that the two teams have not met in the NCAA tourney for the past two years.
    There are about a half-dozen teams that UConn has to worry about. UConn beat Baylor by a point early in the season and recently beat an always strong Stanford team. There aren't many more teams they need to worry about as far as snapping that skein.
    It's a great record and it goes on.
    ESPN and the talking sports heads have moved on, and now are real worried about NY Jets coach Rex Ryan and his wife's foot fetish.
    That's just reality.
 

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