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Question of the day: If the UConn women surpass UCLA’s 88-game win streak, will they be the best college team ever?

December 10, 2010 | 10:05 am

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Writers from around the Tribune Co. weigh in on the topic. Please check back throughout the day for more responses and feel free to leave a comment of your own.

John Altavilla, Hartford Courant

It is impossible to say with any degree of credibility or confidence that any actor, food, band, color or video game could qualify as the best ever.

So how could that designation ever apply to any college basketball team, particularly a women's team?

Even if it might be true.

If the UConn women, coached by Geno Auriemma, beat Ohio State on Dec. 19 in New York and Florida State two days later in Hartford, Conn., they will have won 89 straight games. And that will surpass by one the total compiled by John Wooden's UCLA men from 1971-74.

But even though the accomplishment would be the ultimate testimony to the consistency of perhaps the greatest college program in the United States in the last 15 seasons — seven national titles, 7-0 in championship games — it would not be enough to color the world of those who still see basketball in black and white of the Wooden heyday.

[Updated at 11:07 a.m.

Dave Fairbank, Newport News

Two words: apples, oranges. There’s no substantive comparison between the UConn women’s streak and the UCLA men’s streak because men’s and women’s basketball are different animals.

Same sport. Same rules. But the differences in the athleticism, culture and — yeah, I’ll go there — emotional makeup between men and women make them distinctly separate games.

Even if UConn’s women surpass UCLA’s streak, they aren’t the best team ever and they might not be the best UConn team ever.

The Huskies have had previous undefeated teams and national champs. The Maya Moore group isn’t necessarily better than the Diana Taurasi group, never mind men’s national champs from Florida or Kansas or Duke, or the Bill Walton UCLA teams.

UConn’s and UCLA’s streaks stand on their own merits. Separately.]

[Updated at 12:31 p.m.

Houston Mitchell, Los Angeles Times

Here’s what UConn winning 89 games in a row will mean: It means they have won more games in a row than any women’s basketball team in NCAA history. A record they already have, in fact. Does it mean they are the best college basketball team in history? No. If they played 100 games against the UCLA team that won 88 in a row, they would lose 100 times. But so what? That doesn’t diminish the feat they have accomplished, which is nothing short of amazing. Winning 89 in a row in any sport is something to be celebrated and respected, and it shouldn’t be diminished by phony comparisons to what other teams in other sports have done.]

[Updated at 2 p.m.

Shannon Ryan, Tribune reporter

Anyone who loves basketball knows the significance of the number 88.
On Dec. 21, the Connecticut women’s basketball team likely will win its 89th game in a row and break the record held by the UCLA men’s team set in 1971-74.

The merits of records like these are fun to debate. That’s part of sports. But there should be little argument about this: UConn is the best team ever.
They’re the best because they’re the most dominant.

Much like UCLA, the Huskies are tossing teams aside with the only competition often being how badly they can beat their opponents.

This doesn’t mean we’ll forget about the UCLA men. It’s a chance to celebrate the Connecticut women.]


Photo: The Connecticut Huskies celebrate their win over the Baylor Bears on Nov. 16. Credit: David Butler II / US Presswire

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