Title Or Bust: We'll Never See A More Bizarre Run In College Hoops Than UConn's Last 25 Seasons
We know what today is. We know it's the national title game (more on that in a later blog, full breakdown and picks, etc). But this is about UConn. I've seen this argument, I was asked about it. 'Is UConn a blue blood now? Do they knock off IU or UCLA?' Things of that nature. I don't really care who blue bloods are. UConn is in this sort of new blood power thanks to the last 25 years.
Here's what I know. There are two arguments to UConn.
1. They aren't the best program of the last 25 years.
2. They are clearly the best Tournament team in the last 25 years.
Don't get me wrong. 99.9% of teams would change out the downfalls for 5 titles in that span. But I keep looking at it and it's bizarre. UConn hasn't won a conference regular season since 2006. They've only won 2 conference tournament titles since winning that regular season title in 06.
Then there's the run of Jim Calhoun to Kevin Ollie to the Ollie title/disaster to now Hurley. There's the AAC. It's all bizarre. Our commish/UConn fan Jeff D. Lowe sums it up well here:
And it's true. In the last 14 seasons they've missed the Tournament 7 times. They lost in the first round 3 times. They haven't been a top-2 seed. They've made it out of the first weekend just 3 times.
2 of those resulted in titles. One is this year.
Shit even look at the historical standpoint. UConn is the only non 1/2 seed to win a title since Melo and Cuse in 03. Since the Tournament expanded in 85, these are the teams not seeded 1 or 2 to win a title: Nova (8 in 85), Kansas (6 in 88), Michigan (3 in 89), Arizona (4 in 97), Cuse (3 in 03), Florida (3 in 06) and then UConn potentially 3 times. UConn is going to do it for the fourth time if they win tonight. It doesn't make any sense how UConn just figures out the boom or bust mentality.
I said it before, but credit to UConn. They are the only athletic department I can think of that decided to make a move to better their basketball program, not football program. They had to get out of the AAC. In order to do that, they somewhat sacrificed their football program. They took that program out of a conference so UConn could get back in the Big East. That let Hurley shine. That helps with recruiting. That helps with making the Tournament.
Again, titles matter. I just don't think we'll ever see a more bizarre 25-year run than what we're seeing out of UConn. And, yes, I'd much prefer 5 titles than not. I'm not an idiot.