Wednesday, December 22, 2010

U Conn Women Break UCLA Men's Win Streak. Who Cares?

The University of Connecticut women's basketball team finally broke the NCAA and UCLA men's basketball team mark of 88 consecutive wins in-a-row.  Outside of sports-deprived Connecticut, who really cares about the 36 year-old record?

The 89 game win streak is a nice accomplishment and the members of the team worked hard for the record, but really, the streak as a whole was about as riveting as an episode of "The New Adventures of Christine" or as anticipated as the release of the latest Anne Hathaway rom-com.  You know its there but...yawn.

Outside of U Conn's head coach Geno Auriemma's rantings this past week, the totally dominating Huskies made the whole three-year streak seem too easy--and boring. They've run off quite a few of these kind of extended streaks before.  It's almost anti-climatic.  They even beat Florida State University, a nationally-ranked team, 93-62, for the record last night.  Not exactly a nail-biter.

Except for a few consistently good programs at Baylor, Stanford and Tennessee,  don't expect too many party crashers at the women's Final Four. The series of one-sided wins against relatively weak competition is like the NCAA men's basketball season being played without any ACC and Big East conference teams. 

Auriemma has been blasting anyone who criticized his team and has made those naysayers feel like chauvinists if they didn't think breaking the streak was every woman's right.  Sorry if people don't want to watch one team steamroll opponents with 30 point blowouts every game. 

At last Sunday's press conference Auriemma said, "The reason everyone is having a heart attack the last four or five days is a bunch women are threatening to break a men's record, and everyone is all up in arms about it."  No Geno.  It's not a heart attack, it's a choking fit from having ESPN shove non-ending promos and features about your team down viewer's throats.  We need the Heimlich, not good fundamental basketball.

"All the miserable bastards who follow men's basketball and don't want us to break the record are all here because they're pissed off," the fiery coach continued at his press conference.  If he is suggesting it is only men who are "miserable bastards",  he's in for a shock.  There are a lot of females who don't like or follow women's sports either. 

Again, if men's sports fans watch their sports, it doesn't mean they're fueling some bias against women's sports.  It's a choice and a fact; men's sports are more popular and bring in higher revenue for college programs.  Women's sports have their niche, but cannot compete with the marketing of men's sports in college or the pros.

Auriemma--who makes highly-caffeinated Kansas State men's coach Frank Martin look mellow-- may find it hard to believe, but some men don't even care about the UCLA streak either.

Let's give the women their due.  The U Conn streak is worthy of praise.  The ladies hard work and sustained excellence deserve recognition, but last night--even with no NFL or NBA games on TV--I didn't even watch one minute of the Huskies record-setting game on ESPN.  It wasn't exactly "The Decision."

If Auriemma considers non-followers of the sport he coaches un-American or biased, so be it.  The coach is known as a good team motivator and recruiter.  Maybe, if he wasn't using this streak as a personal platform to rant at men and the media,  he could be using those skills to draw people into arenas,  respect women's basketball and give the sport it's due.

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