University of Connecticut Basketball: Dominant!!

I guess I was a little more impressed with the win of the University of Connecticut men's basketball team in the National Championship.  I do not want to take anything away from the women's title but the drama from that game was over in the first minute.  In spite of the Lady Huskies playing undefeated Notre Dame, Stefanie Dolson and Breanna Stewart ripped the life out of Notre Dame with surgical precision.  The game did not seem like a battle of undefeated teams.  The twenty-one point margin of victory took most of the suspense out of the game.

The U Conn women have established a dominance rarely seen in college basketball.  By winning his ninth title last night, Geno Auriemma surpassed Pat Summitt as the head coach with the most titles in Division I basketball.  I used to root hard against the Tennessee Vols when they were on top of the game.  They had so many All-Americans that it should have been illegal.  Chamique Holdsclaw, Candace Parker, Kara Lawson, Tamika Catchings and Dena Head were part of a juggernaut that seemed like it would last forever.  I do not root against the U Conn women.  It might be a Yankee vs. Rebel latent tendency.


A funny thing happened on the way to continued dominance.  The rise of U Conn Lady Huskies began with, in my mind, the emergence of Rebecca Lobo.  Afterward, a parade of All-Americans continued to raise the level of play in Storrs, CT.  Tina Charles, Nykesha Sales, Kara Wolters, Sue Bird, Swin Cash, Asjha Jones and Diana Taurasi were a few of these women who went on to success in the WNBA and overseas.  The list would not be complete without mentioning the magnificent Maya Moore.  She has already won titles in the WNBA, Olympics and overseas.  The saying goes, "Don't Hate, Appreciate!"

The U Conn Men's team was not expected to cut down the nets in major college basketball this year.  The University of Florida was the #1 overall seed in the tournament.  Arizona, Virginia and Wichita State were the other #1 seeds.  Maybe it was the burden of being #1 that weighed on these teams.  Kevin Ollie coached his #7 team to wins in some tough match ups.  The defense of Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright emasculated SEC Player of the Year Scotty Wilbekin.  They then took the 6'6" Harrison twins totally out of their zone in the Championship Game.  Some of the players that have gone on to pro careers from this program include Ray Allen, Rip Hamilton, Rudy Gay, Donyell Marshall, Emeka Okafor and Kemba Walker.

I am happy for the parents of these players.  Even though Coach Auriemma only played six players regularly, the players who were on scholarship can claim two national championships in a row.  Graduating and obtaining the coveted college degree should be the goal of all of these players,  It is not always guaranteed but I think that should be the goal.  In fact, the U Conn's men's team was suspended from NCAA post season play because of low graduation rates.  This is a time to celebrate for the Men's and Women's National Champions of the University of Connecticut.  You own 2014 and rightfully so!  Good luck to all graduating seniors.  You will savor these titles for the rest of your life.  Congratulations to to the runner ups, Notre Dame and Kentucky also.  

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