It’s a streak that sounds like something out of a video game, if you had the patience to play that many games in a row before you got bored.
100 wins in a row. That’s where the University of Connecticut women’s basketball team sits after a 66-55 win over No. 6 South Carolina last night.
It’s an amazing streak that has never been seen at any sport at any level, and will probably never been matched once it does come to an end, whenever that may be.
But it’s bad for women’s basketball.
I sat around last night trying to wrap my head around any sort of streak or way of explaining how a team could possibly win 100 games in a row at the highest level of its sport, facing other teams night in, night out that are supposedly on the same level of play.
The only thing I could come up with is when you were a kid or your sibling would play Madden, NBA Live, NHL, or whatever, and just override all the trades in the game, build an all All-Star roster, and then win every game by just laughable margins.
Now try doing that for 100 games. I don’t care what it is, beating your kid a checkers, rigging a video game, or even basketball, it gets boring after a while.
Look at this chart from ESPN Stats and Info:
Over a 100-game winning streak they have played all of two games that were decided by single digits. Two. They’ve won nine by more than 60. And more than half of those 100 by more than 30. UConn women’s basketball is like if Alabama football played a 1-AA schedule every year, but it still counted for FBS play. It’s unreal.
It’s boring. It’s insanely impressive, but it’s boring.
They haven’t lost a game since Nov. 17 of 2014. It’s been nearly two and a half years since they lost. And prior to that loss, they had won 46 in a row. That’s right, UConn is 146-1 over its last 147 games.
But back to my point, is that it’s bad for basketball. Here is my question for you: Say you root for a school like North Carolina or Duke, and they may have a good team this year (I have no idea, these were just two names that came to mind), what is the end game for them?
It’s not a National Championship, because UConn has won four in a row, and is probably easily on their way to a fifth.
Why would anyone watch a regular season women’s basketball game that doesn’t feature UConn? Even if they are top teams, like say South Carolina and Maryland this year, you’re basically watching a consolation game.
And it’s the same in the NCAA Tournament. Unless that game involves UConn, nobody cares about it, because they’re basically a couple also-rans who are just hoping to play as long as they can until they inevitably run into UConn.
When all the attention in the world is on UConn, there is nobody else in women’s basketball, despite how great those other teams might be, that is getting any attention, unless they beat UConn. And then we’d get a thousand stories about UConn’s streak and a footnote in the history books that TEAM X beat them one night to end the streak.
To go back to my point about Alabama football, part of the reason Alabama is so appealing is because they can, and do lose. Teams do have, albeit a slim one, a chance at beating them, as Clemson proved this past season.
UConn women, you don’t. Again, 100 straight wins and just two of those by less than 10 points. And that’s with more than a quarter of the games against ranked teams. For even more craziness, they’ve never, NEVER, lost an American Athletic Conference game.
Dynasties are good for sports, it brings interest to have a giant at the top that everyone is trying to knock off. But those giants in every other sport have their weaknesses and you can beat them. The UConn women don’t.
Since the UCLA men’s run of seven straight titles in the late 60’s and early 70’s, the longest title streak in men’s basketball is two, done twice.
The UConn women have done it three times since the start of 2000.
It’s an amazing streak, and one that deserves every bit of attention it’s getting, and probably more. But it’s bad for the game when nobody else is getting any of that attention.