6.30.2007

UCONN EXPOSED - CHAPTER SEVEN

The next seven posts should be read in reverse order from the bottom up

CHAPTER SEVEN

Wrapping it up for now.
7 Chapters for 7 Championships

This little 'book' was written for TENNESSEE Women's College Basketball Fans and any potential Lady Vols who might drop by The SUmmiTT from time to time.

It was written by an Orange Blooded Tennessee Fan and does not pretend to be from an unbiased perspective. However it all depends on the FACTS and the actual records and schedules of the Tennessee Lady Vols and the Connecticut Huskies and their coaches Pat Summitt and Geno Auriema

The comparative analysis of the Strength of Schedule and the verifiable record leaves no doubt that the Tennessee record was built on playing ranked opponents approximately 50% of the time while the Connecticut record is built on playing ranked opponents less than 20% of the time. This writer and observer believes that to be incredibly significant in comparing the two programs.

A potential recruit attempting to make a life changing decision concerning her four years at one of these fine Universities and excellent Women's College Basketball programs should know that there are major differences between the two programs.

Part of that is due to the measurable superiority of the Southeastern Conference in fielding teams that are highly ranked year in and year out. But even larger is the out of conference schedule that takes the Tennessee Women to most of the strongest programs in Women's College Basketball across the country.

In addition to this dramatic difference at the top of the WCBB world there is the unranked portion of the schedules of both teams. In 2007 Tennessee played four games against teams ranked below the top 100 in RPI. Coach Summitt's alma mater Tennessee Martin, The University of Alabama in conference, Louisiana Tech - a perennial powerhouse that for the first time in history failed to make the NCAA tournament and Drake University in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

Meanwhile the Connecticut Huskies played 14 games against teams with RPIs below 100, 200 and even 300. Five of these teams were part of the Big East conference, one was the NCAA opening round opponent, and the rest were out of conference elective games with Colgate, Colorado State, Sacred Heart, Holy Cross, Richmond, Oakland, and Boston University. Some UConn fans say these games are played to "help out" these undermanned teams. I will wonder aloud how it helps to be soundly over-matched and beaten by a superior team?

But the choice is clear to incoming recruits and it could play a significant part in any decision that is made. On the surface in terms of winning percentage and National Championships there seems to be little difference between the two programs. Once you look beneath the surface the difference is huge.

Playing for the University of Tennessee is the most difficult and the most rewarding experience available for a young woman who has what it takes to be invited to be a Lady Vol. In terms of difficulty the Tennessee schedule is so far above the rest that nothing really compares. If you seek to be the very best then you play the very best all season long. Stronger players improve by playing against stronger player.

Fans will always compare their teams with others who assert comparable achievement in any sport. UConn fans are great fans. They assert that UConn is comparable to Tennessee - an equal or better team in terms of accomplishment. This little book is my answer to their assertions. It was written to give my fellow Tennessee fans some ammunition when they find themselves debating or discussing WCBB with fans of other schools. It was written to give potential recruits something to think about when making a choice if the choice is very close between UConn and Tennessee. And it was written to illuminate the significant differences I have found while researching the comparable differences between Tennessee and UConn in the WCBB world.

I have posted these chapters to THE LADY VOLS WEBLOG so they can be accessed at any time after this disappears from The SUmmiTT messageboard. Please feel free to use any portion at any time for any purpose. Journalists who may find this information helpful are encouraged to borrow it and use it.

I want to thank all of the SUmmiTTeers who would just a soon see this subject disappear from the SUmmiTT for their patience in putting up with it's presence during the past several days and I especially want to thank those of you who wrote such kind comments about the content.

I hope all of you who know how great it is to be a Tennessee Lady Vol Fan now know a little something more about how great it really is.

6.29.2007

UCONN EXPOSED CHAPTER SIX

CHAPTER SIX
A Look at the Rosters

In terms of the players which Coach has the better record for doing more with less?Given the 9 win and 17 loss misery of UConn over the past 3 years . The utter futility of 3 years with no NCAA Final Fours one might conclude that the cupboard was bare.
What about the players that UConn has had in their program over these 3 years of drought and decay. Lets take a look:

Tahirah Williams 2005 Gatorade New Jersey Player of the Year...four-time Street & Smith honorable mention All-America
Ketia Swanier 2004 Georgia AAAA Player of the Year.
Renee Montgomery 2005 McDonald?s All-America...2005 Gatorade West Virginia High School Player of the Year...2005 Street & Smith Third Team All-America...Associated Press West Virginia Player of the Year as a senior...2005 WBCA Honorable Mention All-America
Charde Houston USA Today 2004 All-USA Second Team...2004 McDonald's All-America Team...2004 WBCA All-America Team...ranked as the No. 2 senior nationally by All-Star Girls Report...2004 Cal-Hi Sports Division I All-State First Team...named Parade Magazine First Team All-America as a senior
Mel Thomas 2004 McDonald?s All-America Team...2004 WBCA All-America Team...2004 Associated Press Ohio Co-Player of the Year
Tina Charles 2006 USA Today National Player of the Year...2006 McDonald's National Player of the Year...2006 Parade Magazine National Player of the Year...2006 Gatorade National Player of the Year...2006 WBCA National Player of the Year...2006 EA Sports National Player of the Year...2006 Miss New York Basketball...member of the 2006 USA Basketball U-18 National Team...2006 Street & Smith's First Team All-America...2006 WBCA First Team All-America
Kalana Greene 2005 WBCA All-America...2005 So Carolina Gatorade POYKaili McLaren 2006 Gatorade Maryland Player of the Year...2006 WBCA All-America Team...2006 McDonald's All-America Team...2006 WCAC First Team
Brittany Hunter 2003 Parade National Player of the Year...consensus top-rated player in the nation in recruiting rankings by All-Star Girls Report, Full Court Press, Blue Star and All-Game Sports...first team Parade and Street & Smith All-America.
Cassie Kerns 2005 McDonald's Honorable Mention All-America...2005 WBCA Second Team All-America
Nicole Wolff -- 2002 McDonald's High School Player of the Year and Naismith Player of the Year finalist.. Parade Magazine, WBCA and McDonald's First Team All-American...
Ashley Battle -- WBCA All-America team Parade All-America Fourth Team named West Virginia Player of the Year...
Wilnett Crockett -- Two-time Nike All-American WBCA and McDonald's All-American Third Team All-USA TODAY honoree...UConn's second consecutive CA. Gatorade State Player of the Year
Jessica Moore -- Parade All-American fourth team honoree WBCA Honorable Mention All-American...twice Gatorade Alaska POY
Barbara Turner -- 2002 First Team All-American by USA TODAY, WBCA, and Parade Magazine...also named a First Team McDonald's All-American 2002 Gatorade Ohio Player of the Year Ms. Ohio Basketball...2002 Naismith Player of the Year finalist.
Ann Strother 2002 Naismith, USA TODAY, WBCA, Parade Magazine and Gatorade National High School Player of the Year... Two-time High School All-American and 2002 Consensus First Team All-American... Twice named USA Today and Gatorade Colorado Player of the Year

4 National Players of the Year
10 MacDonald?s All Americans
7 Players of the Year from Georgia, Maryland, South Carolina, West Virginia (2), New York, New Jersey, Ohio (2) Alaska, California, and Colorado

The Tony fans from UConn blithly predict UConn dominance to come because Charles and Moore are National Players of the Year. But Geno couldn't post a winning record vs ranked teams with 4 National Players of the Year and 10 MacDonalds All Americans and a dozen Gatoraide State Player of the Year over the past three years

In fact Geno either needed TASS or Diana to post winning seasons vs quality opponents. Sure he makes it look good with the sub 100 RPI cupcakes and the weak Big Least but when it comes to beating top 20 foes this past 3 years he's 9 and 17 with all of these great players.

Is Geno the wizard TonyConnecicut fans think he is or does it take Diana to make Geno a winning coach.

Meanwhile Pat has been to 8 Final Fours since 98 while Geno only made 5 with 3 of those due to Taurasi

Taurasi got Geno a 7 and 1 record vs Tennesee but Geno couldn't get to the final four for rematches in 98, 05 or 07 when Tennessee had the better team.

Now Tennessee has a 42 and 10 record playing the Top 20 over the past 3 years with

Alexis Hornbuckle Named as the (WBCA) 2004 High School Player of the Year and the WBCA All-America Game Most Valuable Player (2004)...McDonald's All-America and McDonald's All-Star Game Most Valuable Player (2004)...Parade Magazine and Street & Smith's First-Team All-America (2003).
Candace Parker USA TODAY National Player of the Year (2003, 2004) Naismith and Gatorade Prep Player of the Year (2003, 2004).Parade Magazine, Street & Smith's, USA TODAY and Student Sports First-Team All-America (2003, 2004)...McDonald's and Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) All-American (2004)
Nicky Anosiki Parade Magazine Second Team All-America (2003 and 2004)...McDonald's All-America (2004)
Cait McMahan Street and Smith's third team All-American (2005)...Parade All-American Third Team (2006)...EA Sports All-America second team (2003, 2004)
Alex Fuller (WBCA) All-America (2004)...McDonald's All-America (2004) Street & Smith's Second Team All-America (2003).
Sidney Spencer 2003 "Miss Basketball" by the Alabama Sports Writers Association (ASWA)...ASWA 6A Player of the Year in 2003 Gatorade Alabama Player of the Year
Shyra Ely 2001 Naismith Prep Player of the Year USA TODAY National Player of the Year.. USA TODAY and Sports Illustrated as the number one women's high school player USA TODAY, Parade magazine, Street & Smith's and Nike All-America selection
Shanna Zolman Naismith Player of the Year top- five finalist first team All-America honors from USA TODAY Parade All-American first team...McDonald's All-American Gatorade State Player of the Year as well as Indiana's Miss Basketball
Brittany Jackson USA TODAY, Nike and Street & Smith's All-America honors...Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) All-American 2001 Tennessee AAA Miss Basketball Award
Loree Moore USA TODAY All-American in 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2001, including a first-team nod after her senior season...2001 Parade magazine and Street & Smith's first-team All-America
Tyesha Fluker Parade Magazine All-American McDonald's All-American Sybil Dosty adidas All-American Street and Smith All-America - on roster two years
Lindsay Moss Parade Second Team All-American - on roster one year
Shannon Bobbitt, Alberta Auguste, Dominick Redding and the remaining players like Abby Cannon, Elizabeth Curry, and Aubrey Gustalli did not come with any All American High School honors
Sade' Wiley Gatewood came with several All American honors but played in only 13 games her freshman year and 9 in her second year.

3 National Players of the Year
7 MacDonalds All Americans
Alabama and Indiana Miss Basketball

Granted Nicole Wolff and Brittany Hunter have had injury plagued careers but Candace Parker, Alexis Hornbuckle, Sade Wiley-Gatewood and Loree Moore also missed considerable action due to injury. It appears that Coach Pat Summitt has done more with less in terms of player personnel

Sidney Spencer, Shannon Bobbitt, Alberta Auguste, Tye'sha Fluker, and Nicky Anosiki didn't have the glittering All American accolades of some of their peers, but Coach Summitt seems to have a knack for getting the most out of her players.

UCONN EXPOSED CHAPTER FIVE

CHAPTER FIVE
BREAKING DOWN 2007
A STUDY IN STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE


1 North Carolina = 103.54
1 North Carolina = 103.54
1 North Carolina = 103.54
2 Tennessee = 103.36
3 Duke = 103.23
4 Connecticut = 99.49
5 LSU =98.27
5 LSU = 98.27
5 LSU = 98.27
6 Rutgers = 96.75
6 Rutgers = 96.75
6 Rutgers = 96.75
6 Rutgers = 96.75
7 Purdue = 96.17
8 Maryland = 95.00
9 Georgia = 94.17
9 Georgia = 94.17
10 Arizona St. = 92.94
11 Oklahoma = 92.90
12 Vanderbilt = 92.64
12 Vanderbilt = 92.64
13 Mississippi = 92.45
13 Mississippi = 92.45
14 Stanford = 91.65
15 Ohio St. = 91.52
16 Middle Tennessee = 90.65
17 Bowling Green = 90.21
18 N.C. St. = 89.99
19 Geo. Washington = 89.96
20 Baylor = 89.27
21 Marquette = 88.63
21 Marquette = 88.63
26 Louisville = 85.94
26 Louisville = 85.94

27 West Virginia = 85.79
27 West Virginia = 85.79
29 Marist = 85.29
30 Pittsburgh = 85.12
30 Pittsburgh = 85.12
31 Notre Dame = 85.09
31 Notre Dame = 85.09
35 Kentucky = 84.11
40 South Florida = 83.27
40 South Florida = 83.27
41 Auburn = 83.14
42 Texas = 83.13
48 South Carolina = 82.61
48 South Carolina = 82.61
57 Virginia = 80.72
58 DePaul = 80.67
62 Arkansas = 80.18
68 Mississippi . ST = 78.89
73 Chattanooga = 77.45

78 UCLA = 76.70
82 Seton Hall = 76.38
84 Hartford = 75.92
89 Cincinnati = 74.57
91 Florida = 74.32
104 Louisiana Tech = 73.49
128 Georgetown = 70.77
129 Oakland = 70.76
138 Villanova = 69.95
139 Alabama = 69.86
146 Richmond = 69.37
152 Sacred Heart = 68.68
156 Providence = 68.42
160 St. John's = 68.22
171 Boston U. = 67.31
196 Syracuse = 65.34
200 UMBC = 65.16
201 Tennessee-Martin = 65.06
220 Holy Cross = 63.44
235 Colorado St. = 62.14
303 Colgate = 53.93


Tennessee played SEVENTEEN GAMES vs the top 20
Uconn played SEVEN
Tennessee played THREE GAMES vs below 100 teams
UConn played FOURTEEN

That discrepancy is horrendous - nearly unbelievable for two team that are considered by their fans to be the leaders in the sport.

Another interesting RPI comparison on the College RPI page
Tennessee SOS is 6683
Connecticut's SOS is 6050
a difference of 633
To get that difference below Connecticut
you have to go to James Madison with SOS ranking number 73 of 5419
which is 631 beneath UConn
So Tennessee's SOS number 1
is to UConn's number 6
as UConn is to number 73 James Madison.

UCONN EXPOSED CHAPTER FOUR

Chapter Four
Pat vs Geno
the Coaching Numbers

Despite playing the toughest schedule in Women's College Basketball year in and year out Coach Pat Summitt has a better overall winning percentage than Geno.
It is interesting that the University of Tennessee website actually lists Coach Pat's winning percentage vs ranked teams and breaks it down by Top 10 and 11 to 25 rankings

VS. RANKED TEAMS OVERALL: 396-151 (.730) "updated to reflect last year.
RANKED 1-10: 165-111 (.600)
RANKED 11-25: 217-37 (.854)

I can find no like analysis on the UConn website and it's little wonder. We know for instance from chapter one that Geno has gone 9 and 17 vs top 20 teams for the past three years. The comparison that UConn played only 26 ranked foes since 2004 and Tennessee played 17 top 20 foes last year alone tells us that the comparison is not very flattering to Geno.

We also know that Geno gave the UConn fan's a thrilling schedule of 14 games vs teams with RPI's of less than 100 last year alone. So Geno's overall coaching record must be viewed under the microscope of a weak Big East, a penchant for lining up sub 100 RPI out of conference foes and the 9 and 17 record of the past three years while Pat's record reflects nearly 50% of
Tennessee's games vs Top 25 opponents 547 of 1127 games played vs the top 25

Pat Head Summitt - 33 seasons as head coach
OVERALL: 947-180 (.840) vs Geno 621 - 120 ( 834)
HOME: 431-42 (.911)
AWAY: 311-79 (.797)
NEUTRAL: 205-59 (.776)

SEC GAMES
OVERALL: 379-57 (.869) vs. all SEC
HOME: 169-12 (.933)
AWAY: 143-29 (.831)
NEUTRAL: 67-16 (.807)

NON-CONFERENCE GAMES
OVERALL: 568-123 (.821)

SEC CHAMPIONSHIPS (14 out of 28) 1980, 1985, 1990, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2007
SEC TOURNAMENT TITLES (12 of 28) 1980, 1985, 1988, 1989, 1992, 1994, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2005, 2006
OVERALL: 55-16 (.782)
TITLES: 12 out of 28

VS. RANKED TEAMS
OVERALL: 382-148 (.721)
RANKED 1-10: 165-111 (.600)
RANKED 11-25: 217-37 (.854)

UNRANKED TEAMS
OVERALL: 565-32 (.947)

NCAA TOURNAMENT
OVERALL: 98-19 (.838)
FIRST/SECOND ROUNDS: 40-0
24 REGIONAL SEMIS: 22-4
20 REGIONAL FINALS: 17-5
16 NCAA FINAL FOURS: 19-10
NCAA TITLES: 7 (1987, 1989, 1991, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2007)
SEC COACH OF THE YEAR7 (1993, 1995, 1998, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2007)
NCAA COACH OF THE YEAR7 (1983, 1987, 1989, 1994, 1995, 1998, 2004)
NAISMITH COACH OF THE CENTURY 2000

Head Coach Geno Auriemma thru 2006
All-Time: 589-116 (.835/21 yrs.)
NCAA Tournament: 61-14 (.817)

UCONN EXPOSED CHAPTER THREE

CHAPTER THREE
NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS
- and Head to Head Competition
Dissecting the UT vs UCONN record

Perhaps the greatest single record that mars the impeccable history of Tennessee Women's Basketball is that record marked 9 and 13NINE wins vs THIRTEEN losses between Geno's UConn and Pat's Tennessee. How did this happen and what are the underlying factors that led to this result?

Jan. 6, 2007
Huskies: No. 5Lady Vols: No. 4
Tennessee 70Connecticut 64(At Hartford, Conn.)
Candace Parker nets 30 points (including a second-half dunk), 12 rebounds and six blocks. Led by Charde Houston's 23 points, UConn erases an 18-point deficit but still falls short.
Jan. 7, 2006
Huskies: No. 7Lady Vols: 1
Tennessee 89,Connecticut 80(At Knoxville, Tenn.)
Lady Vols pull away in final minutes for their second straight win in the series after six consecutive losses.
Jan. 8, 2005
Huskies: No. 15Lady Vols: No. 10
Tennessee 68Connecticut 67(At Hartford, Conn.)
Sa'de Wiley-Gatewood converts three-point play with 15 seconds left for 68-66 lead. UConn's Ann Strother then misses 2-of-3 foul shots and UT ends six-game skid.
April 6, 2004
Huskies: No. 6Lady Vols: 2
Connecticut 70,Tennessee 61(At New Orleans)
UConn becomes second team to threepeat with Diana Taurasi (21.6 career average vs. Lady Vols) again leading way.
Feb. 5, 2004
Huskies: No. 4Lady Vols: No. 1
Connecticut 81,Tennessee 67(At Knoxville, Tenn.)
UConn plays solid and steady, and grinds out win in physical battle. Diana Taurasi scores 18 before fouling out in final minute.
April 8, 2003
Huskies: No. 1Lady Vols: No. 4
Connecticut 73,Tennessee 68(At Atlanta)
UConn hits 10 treys and shoots 51 percent from field. Diana Taurasi scores 28 points as Huskies repeat.
Jan. 4, 2003
Huskies: No. 3Lady Vols: No. 5
Connecticut 63,Tennessee 62 OT(At Hartford, Conn.)
Diana Taurasi's 3-pointer with 7.5 seconds left sends game into overtime. UConn goes on to win 51st straight game.
March 29, 2002
Huskies: No. 1Lady Vols: No. 6
Connecticut 79,Tennessee 56(At San Antonio)
UConn posts its largest margin of victory in the series in front of the largest crowd in women's history (29,619).
Jan. 5, 2002
Huskies: No. 1Lady Vols: No. 2
Connecticut 86,Tennessee 72(At Tennessee)
Sophomore Diana Taurasi explodes for 32 points; Lady Vols miss 45 of 72 shots from field in front of record 24,611 fans.
Feb. 1, 2001
Huskies: No. 2Lady Vols: No. 3
Tennessee 92,Connecticut 88(At Tennessee)
Sophomore Gwen Jackson tallies 28 points, 14 rebounds and five blocks in one of top games in rivalry.
Dec. 30, 2000
Huskies: No. 1Lady Vols: No. 2
Connecticut 81,Tennessee 76(At Hartford, Conn.)
Lady Vols rally from 17-point deficit to cut lead to three with one minute left, but Sue Bird wins it with late free throws.
April 2, 2000
Huskies: No. 1Lady Vols: No. 2
Connecticut 71,Tennessee 52(At Philadelphia)
Huskies take third meeting of season, win second NCAA title and end season with 36-1 mark and 17-game win streak.
Feb. 2, 2000
Huskies: No. 1Lady Vols: No. 4
Tennessee 72,Connecticut 71(At Connecticut)
After trailing by six at half, Semeka Randall sinks winner with 4.4 seconds left for Huskies' only loss of season.
Jan. 8, 2000
Huskies: No. 1Lady Vols: No. 2
Connecticut 74,Tennessee 67(At Tennessee)
Sue Bird scores career-high 25 points. Vols shoot just 33.8 percent from field and go 14-for-33 from foul line.
Jan. 10, 1999
Huskies: No. 1Lady Vols: No. 2
Tennessee 92,Connecticut 81(At Connecticut)
After Lady Vols beat country's top-ranked team, teams swap spots in top 25. Holdsclaw, Randall each score 25.
Jan. 3, 1998
Lady Vols: No. 1Huskies: No. 3
Tennessee 84,Connecticut 69(At Tennessee)
Tennessee winning streak reaches 21 on way to perfect 39-0 record, third consecutive NCAA title.
March 24, 1997
Huskies: No. 1Lady Vols: No. 10
Tennessee 91,Connecticut 81(At Iowa City, Iowa)
Entering postseason with 10 losses, third-seeded Vols win Midwest final matchup en route to NCAA title.
Jan. 5, 1997
Huskies: No. 1Lady Vols: No. 8
Connecticut 72,Tennessee 57(At Hartford, Conn.)
Vols suffer regular-season losses to La. Tech, Stanford, Georgia, Arkansas, LSU, Florida and ODU.
March 29, 1996
Huskies: No. 2Lady Vols: No. 4
Tennessee 88,UConn 83 (OT)(At Charlotte, N.C.)
In battle of No. 1 seeds, Vols eliminate Huskies in national semifinals to win first of three straight NCAA titles.
Jan. 6, 1996
Huskies: No. 2Lady Vols: No. 4
Connecticut 59,Tennessee 53(At Tennessee)
Vols lose just four games during '96 title run, but this UConn win snaps UT's record 69-game home win streak.
April 2, 1995
Huskies: No. 1Lady Vols: No. 3
Connecticut 70,Tennessee 64(At Minneapolis)
UConn (35-0) wins national championship to become second team in NCAA history to post undefeated season.
Jan. 16, 1995
Lady Vols: No. 1Huskies: No. 2
Connecticut 77,Tennessee 66(At Connecticut)
Huskies take first-ever meeting in series that becomes women's college basketball's greatest rivalry.

The explanation is simple and straight forward. Tennesse went 1 and 7 vs UConn during the tenure of Diana Taurasi. Tennesse was good enough to make the Final Four during the Taurasi era losing to the Huskies in San Antonio, Atlanta, and New Orleans for 2 losses per year.

On the flip side when Tennessee has had the upper hand in 1997 and 1998 with the Championship teams of Chamique Holdsclaw; UConn wasn't good enough to make the Final Four. The same is true for 2 of the past 3 years when Tennesse made it to Indianapolis and Cleveland but UConn failed to get out of the regional .

UCONN fans like to brag that UCONN hasn't lost a head to head NC game to Tennessee Problem with that is that UConn hasn't made it far enough to suffer those probable losses because they weren't good enough to make the title games when Tennessee was fielding the superior teams.

Tennesssee fans should concede the fact that the teams of the Taursi era and TASS were the best teams of their time. Tennnessee was clearly second best during those years. But when Tennessee was fielding the greatest teams of the late 90's UConn couldn't get to the game. The same has been true since Diana left UConn.

The one year that was a stinging disappointment for Lady Vol fans was 2004 when Tennessee was actually ranked above UConn yet lost to Diana in her Senior year twice.

Another way to see this relationship clearly is in the overall NCAA Tournament Record
TENNESSEE
26 NCAA TOURNAMENT APPEARANCES - NOT ONE SINGLE NON-APPEARANCE26 SWEET SIXTEEN APPEARANCES
18 FINAL FOUR APPEARANCES
12 NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES
7 NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS
5 RUNNER UPS
5 THIRD PLACE
A 98 AND 19 RECORD IN NCAA GAMES

CONNECTICUT
19 NCAA TOURNAMENTS8 FINAL FOURS
5 CHAMPIONSHIPS
3 THIRD PLACE
A 61 AND 14 RECORD IN NCAA GAMES

Every record has a back story and underlying factors that tell the tale of how that record was made. The Tennessee UConn record swung heavily in UConn's favor during the Taurasi era. Tennessee is a victim of it's own success in making this record. The Lady Vols played second best to number one UConn for four years. For Tennessee fans it's too bad that UConn couldn't make the NCAA final fours in the years where Tennessee was clearly the better team.

Since the UConn vs Tennessee head to head series has now ended this may be the last time it is appropriate to bring up this subject on the SUmmiTT. My apologies to those of you who are tired of the UConn story. My hope is that this will summarize the history of the rivalry that is now history and put it into perspective.

UCONN EXPOSED CHAPTER TWO

THE BEAST OF THE BIG LEAST
What advantage is gained by being one of 16 teams in the Big East?
Chapter Two

By playing these ridiculously easy out of conference games Geno has an extended exhibition season to work on his team's capabilities, pad his players stats, build his winning percentage, and strengthen his bench with lots of court time. Recruits are fed the fabulous stats and the great win loss percentage without being bothered with the quality of the opposition.

The press is complicit in this charade - sure they mention from time to time that Tennessee plays the toughest schedule - but they never make the actual comparison.The NCAA is complicit since they fail to reward teams that play the more difficult schedules. On top of the miserable out of conference schedule is the part played by being in the Big East

The top of the Big East last year
Top Twenty
Connecticut
Rutgers
then a fairly serious fall off to
Twenty to Fifty
Marquette
Louisville
West Virgina
Pittsburg
Notre Dame
South Florida
followed by a drop to
58 DePaul
89 Cincinnati
128 Georgetown
138Villanova
156 Providence
180 St John's
196 Syracuse

So teams like Marquette, Louisville, Pittsburg, WVa, ND, & DePaul get to go dancing with Rutgers and UConn while Auburn and Kentucky stay home and the Big East fans cry foul when South Florida is denied a berth. The top 10 Big East teams pretty much start the season with a 6 win advantage because the bottom of the conference features Cincy at 89 and 5 teams beneath 100 in the RPI.

Meanwhile Auburn and Kentucky in the SEC face at least four top 15 foes - Tennessee, LSU, UGA, and Vanderbilt and two of those twice. So an Auburn or Kentucky has one sub 100 team (Alabama) and four top 15 teams for 6 games - a 1 win 6 loss setup vs the Big East middle class with a 6 and 2 setup. This nets the Big East 8 tournament berths to much hoopla over on the Boneyard as if it somehow demonstrates Big East strength instead of Big East weakness. It's an easy mistake to make if you don't really pay attention.

As the tournament progressed only 2 of 8 Big East teams get past the round of 32 compared to the SEC with 3 of 5. LSU destroys UConn by 23 and Tennessee takes out Rutgers by 13

Playing in the Big Least is a definite advantage because the bottom of the Big East is so weak. Playing in the SEC means playing in one of the toughest conferences. The Big East has seen significant NCAA tournament success at the top UConn, Notre Dame, Rutgers all have reached the Final Four. 12 Times Big East teams have reached the Final Four. But that success pales in comparison to the SEC record: 31 times teams from the SEC have reached the NCAA Final Four including Tennessee, LSU, Georgia, Alabama, Auburn and Vanderbilt

UCONN EXPOSED CHAPTER ONE

CHAPTER ONE
The UCONN Record AD DT. (after Taurasi)
UCONN vs the Top 20

What kind of record vs Top 20 teams over the past 3 years would be required for a team to be known as an elite program? How many of you realize what UConn's record is vs Top 20 teams since Diana left Storrs? It may surprise you. So take a guess before you read onUConn had a tough year in 2005 - some could characterize it as terrible The Huskies played 10 games vs Top 20 foes winning two
2005 UConn schedule link
North Carolina L, 65-71
at Arizona State L, 50-61
Michigan State at HCC L, 51-67
TENNESSEE (HCC) L, 67-68 CBS
NOTRE DAME * (GP) L, 59-65
at Rutgers * L, 62-76
at Boston College * L, 48-51
vs. No. 2 seed Stanford (NCAA Regional Semifinals) L, 76-59

UConn did beat Rutgers and Notre Dame in rematches during the Big EastTournamentand they won a game with Texas (This particular UConn schedule/results does not supply the national rankings of opponents)Let's be generous not knowing the ranking of RU and ND and call this record 2 wins and 8 losses

2006 UConn schedule link
#7/8 NORTH CAROLINA (HCC) L, 54-77
at #1/1 Tennessee L, 80-89
#3/3 LSU (HCC) W, 51-48
at #12/11 DePaul* W, 84-75
RUTGERS* (GP) L, 56-60
at Rutgers* L, 42-48
vs. Georgia in Bridgeport W, 77 to 75
vs. Duke L, 61-63, NCAA Regional in Bridgeport

So the record vs Top 20 teams in 06 was 3 wins vs 5 losses

2007 Schedule Link
9/9 Purdue at Gampel Pavillion W 66 - 55
4/4 TENNESSEE (HCC) L, 64-70
2/2 at North Carolina L, 76-82
23/25 RUTGERS (GP) W, 60-50
at 7/7 LSU W, 72-71
at 21/22 Rutgers W, 70-44
vs. 19/19 Rutgers (HCC) L, 47-55
vs. 12/11 LSU (NCAA Regional) L, 50-73

Now we are aware from the colorcoded schedule comparisons that UConn plays a lot of uncompetitive teams and relative to Tennessee few Top 20 teams The 2007 win loss record vs Top 20 teams is 4 wins and 4 losses even though RU was not ranked in the Top 20 for that win at Gampel Pavillion.

The answer to the question is 9 wins vs 17 losses to Top 20 teams in 3 years with only 2 of those 9 wins coming outside the state of Connecticut - at DePaul and at LSU by 1
Since Diana left Storrs Coach Geno's accomplishments include gaudy records
32 and 4
32 and 5
25 and 8
89 and 17 Total
Vs opponents of equal or near equal ranking in the Top 20 the record is 9 & 17

So here are a few questions to consider:
Is Geno really the greatest WCBB coach as UConn fans claim?
When Geno doesn't have the vaunted TASS force or the great Diana Taurasi and is forced to play with HS All American's like Strother, Wolff, Crockett, Thomas, Turner, Houston, Hunter and Charles can he take those teams and mold a real winner that can compete and beat competent competition?

Perhaps some of us were aware of this record vs the Top 20 - I wasn't because I hadn't looked at it as a body of work. I found the results to be surprising.

Mandy