Can UConn lose games and still win an NC? | The Boneyard

Can UConn lose games and still win an NC?

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Vowelguy

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I've had this theory that Geno is great at hiding his team's weakness and also instilling confidence in his players such that as they win the players come to believe they're unbeatable. But when they lose it's harder to recover - either because fatal weaknesses have been exposed or the players don't have the same level of belief.

This theory may or may not be right, but consider the question posed in the subject header.

1995 = no losses
2000 = 1 loss to Tenn, split season series and won game 3 in NC
2002 = no losses
2003 = 1 loss to Villanova
2004 = 4 losses to Duke, ND, Vill, BC
2009 = no losses
2010 = no losses

In only 1 of 7 NC seasons did UConn win a NC with more than 1 loss, and that was with DT, who had the competitiveness and confidence to overcome losses better than almost anyone.

And in only 1 of 7 NC seasons did UConn beat a team that defeated them during the RS.

Interesting to see if this team can break trend.
 

alexrgct

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I made the comment last year after the St John's game that Geno was great at building juggernaut teams, but the only NC team he's fielded with more than one loss was essentially the same team that had won it all the previous year.

Interestingly and conversely, Pat Summitt only has one championship where her team lost fewer than two games: her juggernaut in 1998.

Does this mean Geno can field only one kind of national champion? I believe the answer is no. Is this year UConn does it? It's possible. I think Baylor and ND are close to their respective ceilings, and UConn has room to grow.

Geno hasn't had many opportunities to field a championship team like this, so I don't think sample size is sufficient to predict from history what will happen in March/April. Hold a gun to my head, and my prediction is this team makes the F4 and no further. It will take an exceptional outside shooting effort to beat Baylor this year.
 

VAMike23

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After watching both the Baylor and ND games, it looks to me as though we are fully capable of beating either team - on their home court no less - and to me these are the two best teams in the land. Therefore, yes, we can win the NC this year on a neutral floor.

However this team still has to take a step forward with regards to focus and mental toughness to close out difficult games. They have until March to figure out that part of the equation.
 
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Of course it can be done. But, as mentioned, it will have to buck some trends.
 

Tonyc

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Boy do I agree. Alex good points. We lead ND and Baylor on the road and lost at the line. Thats an easy correction. Next time it wont be in their place.VA Yes we do have room for improvement and we will improve as the season progress . As JS mentioned we may have witnessed UConns last loss in a very long time.
 
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After watching both the Baylor and ND games, it looks to me as though we are fully capable of beating either team - on their home court no less - and to me these are the two best teams in the land. Therefore, yes, we can win the NC this year on a neutral floor.

However this team still has to take a step forward with regards to focus and mental toughness to close out difficult games. They have until March to figure out that part of the equation.


I agree, this team has a very little shot at a NC as things stand now; it needs to take the dedicated toughness that they display on defense and apply it to the offence. This is more difficult than correcting foul shooting or turnovers - the whole team needs buy in or the NC ship sinks.
 
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I agree, this team has a very little shot at a NC as things stand now; it needs to take the dedicated toughness that they display on defense and apply it to the offence. This is more difficult than correcting foul shooting or turnovers - the whole team needs buy in or the NC ship sinks.

Are you handing the championship to Baylor? Or have you determined that ND is much better than UConn based on an OT home win?

UConn may not be the best team in the country right now, but given that they came within 5 points of the #1 team and took the #2 team into OT, both games on the road (not to mention beating the #4 team by 10), they certainly appear to be very, very close to the top. I can't see how you can say they have very little shot at an NC as things stand now.
 
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Are you handing the championship to Baylor? Or have you determined that ND is much better than UConn based on an OT home win?

UConn may not be the best team in the country right now, but given that they came within 5 points of the #1 team and took the #2 team into OT, both games on the road (not to mention beating the #4 team by 10), they certainly appear to be very, very close to the top. I can't see how you can say they have very little shot at an NC as things stand now.


I would agree with you if you could win the NC with either close losses or moral victories, but I have not seen that in a box score recently. They need to get out of the habit of losing close games (last year's semi and two this year - won one against Stanford - 1 and 3 doesn't cut it) - and that is a simply a mindset with the amount of talent on this team.
 

MilfordHusky

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The short answer is that we cannot lose any games in the NCAA tourney and still be the national champions. :)

Seriously, yes, other teams have had multiple losses during the season and won the title. See TAMU as the most recent example. I still think of us as a young team. We need to learn how to close out good teams. In our last 3 losses, we had leads of 8+ points but couldn't finish. All 3 games were very winnable. We need to learn. That includes finding or developing players on the current roster who can score in crunch time, not throw the ball away, get tough rebounds, or make key stops on defense.
 

Vowelguy

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Seriously, yes, other teams have had multiple losses during the season and won the title.

Yes, but you missed the point my question -- whether there was something about UConn such that regular season losses indicate fatal problems.
 

MilfordHusky

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Yes, but you missed the point my question -- whether there was something about UConn such that regular season losses indicate fatal problems.
It is a fatal problem only if we don't learn and grow. This is not a powerhouse team with 3 AA players that blows away all the opposition. But it is good enough to win the championship. I think they are capable of improving. If there is a fatal flaw, it is the inability to close out games. I ascribe it to youth and inexperience. Whether it is more than that, time will tell.
 
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It is a fatal problem only if we don't learn and grow. This is not a powerhouse team with 3 AA players that blows away all the opposition. But it is good enough to win the championship. I think they are capable of improving. If there is a fatal flaw, it is the inability to close out games. I ascribe it to youth and inexperience. Whether it is more than that, time will tell.

I agree. We know what UConn did against Baylor at that time and place, and what they did against ND at that time and place. IMHO, Baylor and ND did not play games that were exceptional, given what they had showed against other teams on other occasions. In other words, UConn did not run into either team at a time when one of their players was on an unusual streak, nor did they play either team when it was playing unusually well. So what we can conclude is that this flawed UConn team has a lot to do to get to the point where it can come up with answers for Griner and Sims, or play consistently enough to handle the buzzsaw that is ND defense. It can be done, but the question is whether this particular group of women is ready to do it.
 

arty155

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After watching both the Baylor and ND games, it looks to me as though we are fully capable of beating either team - on their home court no less - and to me these are the two best teams in the land. Therefore, yes, we can win the NC this year on a neutral floor...
.

- Right on target,.. as usual, Mike.
 
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It is a fatal problem only if we don't learn and grow. This is not a powerhouse team with 3 AA players that blows away all the opposition. But it is good enough to win the championship. I think they are capable of improving. If there is a fatal flaw, it is the inability to close out games. I ascribe it to youth and inexperience. Whether it is more than that, time will tell.
I agree. By NC time we will know if it is youth and inexperience or a lack of talent.
 
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We need to get everybody involved in the offense (including more scoring balance) and get Kiah involved with more minutes.... Heather included, with defensive presence vs. the better pivots in the country
 

alexrgct

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In reality, I think the 2003 season, although there was only one loss, was a good model for this season. No, we don't have Diana Taurasi, but I think we have more talent on balance. If Bria is a poor woman's DT, KML could be a rich woman's Annie, we have size in the post that the 2003 team didn't have, there was no defender like Kelly, etc. However, what we don't have right now is a Maria Conlon-type player who can play efficient, turnover-free ball on the brightest stage...not yet anyway.

In 2003, UConn went undefeated throught the regular season but was not dominant in doing so- seven point win over Hawaii, OT win over Tennessee, five pointer over Rutgers, same MOV over Seton Hall. Then the loss against Villanova in the BET happened, and Geno had to take an obviously beatable/vulnerable team that had just been defeated and get them through the NCAA gauntlet. So no, there were not a ton of Ls on the record, but that team was not remotely a juggernaut.
 
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I believe we can win this year, no matter how many losses we have..... Baylor can be beaten.... though they are the prohibitive favorite.... look who took them down last year... Texas Tech..... Griner has played average for spells at a time.... ND is good, Stanford and Tenn are pretty good as well..... but we have as good a chance as any other team for the NC
 

UConnCat

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In reality, I think the 2003 season, although there was only one loss, was a good model for this season. No, we don't have Diana Taurasi, but I think we have more talent on balance. If Bria is a poor woman's DT, KML could be a rich woman's Annie, we have size in the post that the 2003 team didn't have, there was no defender like Kelly, etc. However, what we don't have right now is a Maria Conlon-type player who can play efficient, turnover-free ball on the brightest stage...not yet anyway.

In 2003, UConn went undefeated throught the regular season but was not dominant in doing so- seven point win over Hawaii, OT win over Tennessee, five pointer over Rutgers, same MOV over Seton Hall. Then the loss against Villanova in the BET happened, and Geno had to take an obviously beatable/vulnerable team that had just been defeated and get them through the NCAA gauntlet. So no, there were not a ton of Ls on the record, but that team was not remotely a juggernaut.

Agree. Also, Geno said that the NC in '03 doesn't happen without that loss to Villanova. The loss to BC in the BET in '04 also got the team's attention as CD often spoke of the team's focus in practice after that loss. So, we'll see how this team responds to the loss in South Bend which, given the opponent and what transpired in the game, should have a greater impact than the loss in Waco.

BTW, I'm one who never underestimated the contributions of Maria Conlon in '03 and '04, but I'm appreciating her even more now.
 
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In reality, I think the 2003 season, although there was only one loss, was a good model for this season. No, we don't have Diana Taurasi, but I think we have more talent on balance. If Bria is a poor woman's DT, KML could be a rich woman's Annie, we have size in the post that the 2003 team didn't have, there was no defender like Kelly, etc. However, what we don't have right now is a Maria Conlon-type player who can play efficient, turnover-free ball on the brightest stage...not yet anyway.

In 2003, UConn went undefeated throught the regular season but was not dominant in doing so- seven point win over Hawaii, OT win over Tennessee, five pointer over Rutgers, same MOV over Seton Hall. Then the loss against Villanova in the BET happened, and Geno had to take an obviously beatable/vulnerable team that had just been defeated and get them through the NCAA gauntlet. So no, there were not a ton of Ls on the record, but that team was not remotely a juggernaut.


1. UConn had Jessica Moore and Wilnett Crockett; Two eventual pros
2. UConn had the Big East Defensive Player of the Year; another perennial pro.
 

Vowelguy

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In 2003, UConn went undefeated throught the regular season but was not dominant in doing .... . So no, there were not a ton of Ls on the record, but that team was not remotely a juggernaut.

I'll just say that my point wasn't whether UConn teams need to be juggernauts or not. It was more subtle than that.
The 03 team supports my point -- they built confidence over the season and came to believe they were unbeatable. And they had a killer instinct, led by DT.

The team has failed to close out 2 games now. If you dont have a killer instinct, can you learn it in a few months?
 

alexrgct

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1. UConn had Jessica Moore and Wilnett Crockett; Two eventual pros
2. UConn had the Big East Defensive Player of the Year; another perennial pro.
Tiffany Hayes, KML, Bria, Kelly, probably Stef, possibly the other freshmen all have pro potential or better.

We also have the BE DPOY this year.
 

alexrgct

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I'll just say that my point wasn't whether UConn teams need to be juggernauts or not. It was more subtle than that.
The 03 team supports my point -- they built confidence over the season and came to believe they were unbeatable. And they had a killer instinct, led by DT.

The team has failed to close out 2 games now. If you dont have a killer instinct, can you learn it in a few months?
Those were the last two such games they will play in a hostile environment against top competition.

Can they learn to close out good teams over next two months? Ask Gary Blair or Brenda Frese. Doesn't always happen, but certainly can.
 

Vowelguy

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What do you think?

Dont know; hence my question.
I'd say less than 50-50 though.
... But a win over ND in the rematch would help a lot.
 

doggydaddy

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Yes, but you missed the point my question -- whether there was something about UConn such that regular season losses indicate fatal problems.

No.
 
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