UConn Domination

Wow. The perfect season of basketball. There are a couple of sporting events that I would consider amazing: England winning the World Cup, say, or the Red Sox winning the World Series. But the events of the last few days have been even better.

(The UConn Huskies, my home state’s basketball teams, won both the men’s and women’s National Championships.)

Yes, I’m one of those insane sports fans. See, in Connecticut, we have no professional sports teams or any other interesting attractions. In fact, our largest city doesn’t even crack 150,000 people and (this is true) Hartford is enticingly known as the “Insurance Capital of the World”. There’s pretty much no reason for the rest of the country to think about Connecticut except to note (in an “I-think-I’m-funny”-but-actually-you’re-not way) that it occupies a couple of freeway exits between New York and Boston. The Huskies are all we’ve got, and it helps that both the men and the women kick serious ass. It’s practically a state religion: everyone watches them on TV when they play, and the two coaches are probably the two most famous people in Connecticut. The Huskies (both teams) really started getting good in the early 90s, my formative years, and I bought the obsession like a morbidly obese person buys gastric bypass surgery.

Luckily (or unluckily, for all those non-CT-natives who have to put up with me now), all my friends bought it too, so I’ve never felt weird reading every news story about UConn put out by every major paper I can (electronically) get my hands on, or realizing that I can recite not only the entire UConn roster, but also each player’s relevant offensive and defensive stats, his height and weight, and even his hometown.

So, yeah, this is about as good as it gets.

I’ve had some wonderful company while watching most of the tournament games, culminating in a terrific come-from-behind men’s semifinal victory over Duke on Saturday, replete with Cheeseboard pizza and ten-plus UConn fans (and, hmm, one sorry-ass Duke fan) crowded into our living room, going nuts as UConn performed its last minute heroics. Okay, I wouldn’t say that everyone was a UConn fan, per se, but everyone was at least a UConn supporter, and I’m hoping that I’ve made some new fans to help me out when next season comes around :).

The championship games were far more relaxed (although the company was still good!), mainly because the Huskies absolutely dominated.

It actually took a while to sink in — in fact, when the men won, I kind of just sat there like a lump of (inedible) play-doh, whereas when they won in ’99 I was on my knees in front of the TV — but sink in it has. Hooooooooooo!

Another good piece of news is that now that the tournaments are over, I don’t have to scour the web looking for articles about UConn, which means that I’ll have a couple more hours of free time each day :). A last tidbit from this article:

No Division I school has ever won the men’s and women’s basketball crowns in the same season.

After Diana Taurasi, the game’s Most Valuable Player, punted the ball high into the stands, Geno Auriemma said it best: “It’s mind-boggling.”

To put the feat in context, consider that there are 326 Division 1 schools and since 1999, UConn has won 6 of the 12 national titles. For those of you who are math-challenged, that’s half of those available. The women, who have won four of the five championships contested since the millennium, are a tidy 204-14 (.936). The men, who won their first in 1999, have gone 162-47 (.775) in those six seasons.

Together in that time, Geno Auriemma and Jim Calhoun have fashioned a ludicrous collective record of 366-61 (.857).

Anyway, there’s not much else to say. Work has been going pretty well, and the usual sports have been fun.

Oh yeah, I added some entries to the LJ “memories” thing… except that I eschewed actual memories, since those tend to be boring. Instead, I tried to pick entries that contain ideas, stories, or creations that I think other people might find interesting or entertaining, even if they don’t know me. So I guess they’re more like anti-memories. If you’re a new reader, you can peruse them here.

[edit: I had forgotten (until the language-nazi in me woke up) that “peruse” is one of those words that everyone (including me, it seems), unintentionally uses incorrectly. The colloquial definition of “peruse” is roughly “to skim” but in reality it means the opposite: “to examine carefully”. I still encourage you to peruse those anti-memories :).]

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to UConn Domination

  1. gdogg says:

    Aww yeah.

    I’ve been wondering in the last few days how lucky I am. UCONN came out of absolutely nowhere, practically. There was that dream season in 1989-1990 that brought me on as a fan, and I’ve been on ever since. I remember lots of things — making time in high school to watch UCONN games, and even sort of mentally looking forward to them.

    I’ve wondered in the past few days how’d this all come about. How’d UCONN end up being such a great college for basketball? I honestly feel incredibly fortunate to have witnessed the start of the UCONN basketball phenomenon.

    I’m also a big fan of UCONN as a university (public education, baby!), and I’m hoping both championships will get better students and that they’ll get more money to go after better faculty and students.

    • gdogg says:

      From the NYTimes:

      “Sports victories have been good for the university in general, which has an enrollment of 26,000. Karen Grava, manager of media communications said freshman enrollment has gone up 59 percent since 1995, and applications have doubled in 10 years. The bigger application pool has helped the university attract freshmen with higher SAT scores, driving up the average score by 54 points to 1167 since 1995, Ms. Grava said.”

      • aj says:

        Yeah that’s pretty amazing. Totally irrational, but cool.

        From what I’ve read about the mid-80s programs, the success was pretty much entirely due to the arrival of Auriemma and Calhoun less than a year apart. If there was any luck, it was in hiring them.

  2. snafuuu says:

    not about basketball

    Ain’t nuthin’ wrong with Hartford being insurance capital of the world. I like insurance law, and there are tons of jobs available for insurance lawyers in Connecticut.

    It’s the home of Yale, which rejected me twice in high school. That counts for something, right?

    • aj says:

      Re: not about basketball

      Hey, yeah, there’s nothing wrong with insurance. It just doesn’t make ol’ CT as popular tourist attraction as it would if Hartford were called, say, the “Tropical Beach Capital of the World”.

      Twice? How does that work?

      • snafuuu says:

        Re: not about basketball

        Well, I guess they technically deferred me the first time (applied Early Decision). But it feels like two rejections!

  3. wingerz says:

    all i can say is:

    gnnnrrrr…uconn…gnnnrrrrr

    you should have seen grant beaming as he arrived at our party on saturday night.