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As always, Auriemma pulling the right strings

Posted on: December 20, 2010 1:50 pm
Edited on: December 20, 2010 3:00 pm
 


Posted by Matt Norlander

What better way to get people to talk about UConn basketball on such a historic night than to make it about him, his team, his game? After all, it has always been about him, in some regard. (That is not an across-the-board knock, for the record.) The 88-game winning streak isn't enough. Sorry, but it just isn't; too many people couldn't care less about women's basketball. So, to take the conversation to another level, some personal insult and frustration had to be injected. Some things needed to be removed from his chest.

I have to give credit to the crafty Geno Auriemma, who's coached the Huskies for the past quarter-century and become as much a face, if not more so, of women's college basketball than Pat Summitt, the Tennessee trailblazer that came before him. After top-ranked UConn breezed by No. 10 Ohio State Sunday afternoon, 81-50, in front of the largest women's basketball crowd in Madison Square Garden history, Auriemma went on a rant that will go down as one of his best.

What better time to deliver this than now, at the apex of attention, the streak now one game away from passing UCLA's 88 mark in the men's game? None better. Here's what Auriemma said to a room full of reporters at MSG yesterday.

"I know there would not be this many people in this [press] room if we were chasing a women's record," Auriemma said after the game. "The reason why everyone is having a heart attack the last four or five days is a bunch of women are threatening to break a men's record, and everyone is up in arms about it. All the women are happy as hell and can't wait to come in and ask questions. All the men who love women's basketball are excited, and all the miserable bastards who follow men's basketball and don't want us to break the record are all here because they are pissed. So that's the way it is.

"If we were breaking a women's record, everybody would go: 'Aren't those girls nice.' Just give them two paragraphs in USA Today or give them one line on the bottom of ESPN, and let's send them back where they belong in the kitchen. But because we are breaking a men's record, we have a lot of people paying attention."


As an aside: Who's up in arms about the UConn women breaking the record set by the UCLA men in 1974? If anything, most people are insisting we properly package each streak in its own, separate category. They are two different sports, entirely. Yes, comparisons are inevitable, and Auriemma needs to accept that, but I haven't seen much chagrining about this record falling. That's primarily the case because most are cognizant of the differences in the sport.

But I have to hand to Auriemma, who's an incredibly smart man. He touched on this during a Q&A with Time last week, then harped on it even more yesterday. He's on the money when he says this would be a little blurb in most national outlets if a women's 88-game streak was being broken. It's just our sports culture. American society, in comparison with the attention men's sports receives, doesn't have the desire in following women's sports. I'm pretty certain Auriemma is all too aware of and OK with that.

In order to maximize exposure, he was going to have to deliver a soundbite, and boy don't we know how he's capable of that. As he's gotten older, it seems we get at least one noteworthy clip per season. So in his diatribe, Auriemma opens up a greater, over-arcing conversation. In doing so, ironically, the comparisons between this team John Wooden's become more amplified.

But at the very least, it's more noise surrounding the women's game, which is always only good news for Auriemma and his Huskies. We're talking about it today, aren't we? If the coach doesn't lash out, how many blog posts or columns on the subject bubble up?

Photo: AP.



Category: NCAAB
Comments

Since: Oct 7, 2011
Posted on: October 14, 2011 4:48 am
 

As always, Auriemma pulling the right strings

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Since: Mar 17, 2010
Posted on: December 22, 2010 5:43 am
 

What a Joke

Why doesn't Gino step up and coach a D1 Men's team...

The comparison to Wooden and UCLA is laughable...

A good high school boys team would kick UConn's butt !!! 




Since: Mar 17, 2010
Posted on: December 22, 2010 5:43 am
 

What a Joke

Why doesn't Gino step up and coach a D1 Men's team...

The comparison to Wooden and UCLA is laughable...

A good high school boys team would kick UConn's butt !!! 




Since: Sep 4, 2006
Posted on: December 20, 2010 9:19 pm
 

As always, Auriemma pulling the right strings

Women are getting better and better all the time.  But the percentage of dominating women in just about every sport is very little.
Mens sports has a lot more parity which means alot more teams can beat anybody any given day in just about any sport except football.
Penn State women win year after year in volleyball because the best women play there year after year.  Theres just not enough
dominating women to go around to every team.    Women are getting there but it's still going to take some time before the numbers
help level out the playing field.  Until then, you will have teams such as UCONN and Penn STate go on tremendous streaks that
the current mens games will not be able to contend with.



Since: Feb 4, 2007
Posted on: December 20, 2010 9:17 pm
 

As always, Auriemma pulling the right strings

I love women's basketball but, I think Geno is just feeding his own ego mouthing off.  I'm a male and a big UNC tarheel fan.  I love the lady tarheels and I love ladies basketball.  Lets just sit back and enjoy both, men and women BB.  Let Geno do his thing if it satisfies him.  Go Heels and Huskies....



Since: Nov 14, 2010
Posted on: December 20, 2010 6:50 pm
 

As always, Auriemma pulling the right strings

scbull,

You nailed it!!  I don't have the reputation you guys have on the wire yet, but believe me most of all athletes (both sexes) believe you can't compare the two concerning records, streaks, championships.  I too play amateur sports and believe me that the college women would work me over in hoops, just like someone from Butler U men's team.  As with the streak that means nothing either, we wouldn't play for 'keeps' (maybe fun) but for sure not seriously.  Even without saying 'it' you very eloquently make the point that there would be no comparison if the ladies were playing against their own Univ men's team.  Let's just say that would be very humbling for all................  nice write-up and for Geno................. just coach, work with them as young maturing people, and make their experience a lasting one that hopefully they make a difference in our world through their contributions and charity.



Since: Oct 2, 2006
Posted on: December 20, 2010 3:43 pm
 

As always, Auriemma pulling the right strings

Geno's complaint rung so hollow, it made me annoyed with this streak where I had been excited.  In turn, that made me realize that the women's game has in fact arrived, in the sense that it can be taken seriously on its own terms (just as, say, men's college b-ball is taken seriously on its own terms, which means as exciting sport that is absolutely not athletically on a par with its pro counterpart). What's exciting about the steak is not 88/89, but--imagine this--the possibility of three straight undefeated national championship teams.  Ironically, Geno is miscalculating, and might be about at the tipping pt. where his incessant whining turns people off instead of calls fresh attention to himself, his team, and his sport.



Since: Oct 1, 2009
Posted on: December 20, 2010 2:35 pm
 

As always, Auriemma pulling the right strings

  So they beat the #10 team in the nation by 31 points; enough to make Geno laugh in the post game interview, and we are supposed to believe there is any competition whatsoever?  To compare this record with the mens record is insane.  There is a reason there are not women in the NBA; they are not as good to be blunt.  He insinuates men want them back in the kitchen because we don't care about womens basketball?  If we all liked watching second rate sports high school basketball would be regularly televised on ESPN.  It is nice for them to compete but that is all it is.  I play amateur sports; I hope they never take off a professional game to have me televised!


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