UConn's Front-end Loaded SOS Dilemma

UConnCat

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Nice points and I agree. However, you'll never get through to these people, they'll just continue to look for excuses for whatever happens.
I'm not sure if it's excuse-making or rather that there always has to be some explanation or greater meaning attached to UConn losing a basketball game. It's been going on for years. It's never enough to say the other team was a better team or a better team that night.

UConnWBB has been to 21 Final Fours beginning in 1991. In some of those years the team's conference was not very good and they still managed to win championships. In other years the conference was very tough and the team lost in the semi-finals.
 
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to me the biggest concern was shown in that Arz game PHYSICALITY. UConn could not play that style. Paige was bullied and thrown around by Arizona's players. In these final four games and finals the refs are trying to not call ticky tacky fouls similar to the NHL playoffs where stuff that would get called in a regular season game gets away with in a playoff game. The task will be can they play against teams that play physical and suffocating defense like South Carolina.
 

Plebe

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Here we go again.

When UConn first joined the AAC the mantra was: the team won't be prepared for the NCAA tournament playing in such an easy conference.

After UConn won four straight National Championships (3 while in the AAC) the mantra became: it's unfair that UConn has a chance to rest during it's conference season (even though the AAC travel was brutal and UConn played ranked non-conference teams in Jan and Feb).

Then, after UConn failed to win a championship since 2016 we were back to hearing that the conference schedule isn't tough enough to prepare for the rigors of the Final Four.

But wait, last season we began to hear from fans of other teams that UConn's conference schedule allows it to "rest and recover" before the tournament and that is so, so unfair.

Now we're back to the conference schedule isn't tough enough.

Like I always say, It's tough to keep up.
I was looking for the "100 likes" button for this post, but apparently it hasn't been added yet.

These narratives reflect IMO a psychological urge to pin the blame for past or future losses on external factors outside of UConn's control. I suppose deep down this is a comfort to some, as it implies we were/are the primarily a victim of circumstance, rather than having the agency to take full credit/blame for our wins/losses.

Last year, UConn traveled to Arkansas and lost. Predictably, up sprang a panicked thread: "Has playing in the [whatever conference] caught up to UConn?" In other words: "Surely it can't be our team's fault for losing! It's the crappy conference we're stuck in!" As if UConn, in a dreamed-up scenario where they were an SEC team and this game had been an SEC contest vs. Arkansas, would have surely won instead.

The OP brought up the 2012-13 season. Well, believe it or not, the team that played the toughest SOS that season wasn't UConn or any other Big East team. It was Baylor, who played 5 top-10 opponents in the nonconference plus a then-very respectable Big 12 slate. But that tough schedule didn't immunize Baylor against a stunning Sweet 16 loss to a 5 seed.

Another team that didn't seem to benefit from their tough schedule that season was Notre Dame, who not only played the same "tough" Big East conference as UConn but ran the table in it. But guess what, that didn't immunize Notre Dame against a poor performance in the national semifinals, against a team they'd already beaten 3 times.
 

CocoHusky

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IMO, AZ was the best defensive team UConn faced all season, ahead of both SC & Baylor. Despite a height disadvantage, AZ was also an excellent rebounding team. With that said, I think UConn had more talent that would have proved superior in a best of 3, 5 or 7 series. Unfortunately, in the Big Dance it's win or go home.
That opinion severely lacks any statistical foundation and defies belief. UCONN faced 4 teams that were statistically superior to Arizona defensively (SC, Baylor, TN, and Syracuse). Arizona was not a good rebounding team on the season ranking outside the top 150 in rebounding margin among all DI WCCB teams. Arizona also ranks 9th in a 12 team Pac 12 in rebounding margin. Specific to that FF game Arizona won the rebound margin by +2 over UCONN.
 

oldude

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Guys, I respect the pushback I'm getting for the mere suggestion that UConn's conference schedule has an impact on their preparation for the NCAA Tournament. It was never meant to be an excuse, but simply an outline of the reality that UConn faces. I suspect I would be hard pressed to find a BY'er that wouldn't love to see UConn in a P5 conference. Part of that has to do with the money, but another part of that is the desire for WBB to upgrade their schedule and perhaps promote the continued success of the program in a PG (post Geno) environment. I would hate to see UConn become the answer to a trivia question 33 years from now like Louisiana Tech. I'll be 99 then, so I probably won't even remember what I had for breakfast.
 

UConnCat

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Last year, UConn traveled to Arkansas and lost. Predictably, up sprang a panicked thread: "Has playing in the [whatever conference] caught up to UConn?" In other words: "Surely it can't be our team's fault for losing! It's the crappy conference we're stuck in!" As if UConn, in a dreamed-up scenario where they were an SEC team and this game had been an SEC contest vs. Arkansas, would have surely won instead.
It was actually better than that. After the Arkansas loss a Tenn fan spent the evening researching UConn's losses in close games since 2012 to support his theory that UConn loses more close games than it wins because it doesn't play many close enough close games. I'm exhausted just thinking about that post.

If only UConn played in a tougher conference they'd never lose a game! Sign me up!
 

Vowelguy

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The frontloaded schedule strength could prove advantageous to UConn. A loss in the first 1/2 of the season does not affect ones seeding as much as a loss in the second half typically does.
There is no evidence of that.
Pollsters vote that way, but the committee takes the entirety of your schedule into account.
 

oldude

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That opinion severely lacks any statistical foundation and defies belief. UCONN faced 4 teams that were statistically superior to Arizona defensively (SC, Baylor, TN, and Syracuse). Arizona was not a good rebounding team on the season ranking outside the top 150 in rebounding margin among all DI WCCB teams. Arizona also ranks 9th in a 12 team Pac 12 in rebounding margin. Specific to that FF game Arizona won the rebound margin by +2 over UCONN.
I accept your point on rebounding. But when it comes to defense, you are actually reinforcing my point on the benefits of a strong conference. AZ lost 5 games during the PAc-12 season. However, of the FF teams, AZ was the only team to hold all of its opponents under 60 pts in every game. Across 6 tournament games AZ held their opponents to an average of 52.5 ppg, second only to SC's 52 ppg across only 5 games. In the FF, AZ held UConn to 22 pts under their season average and then held Stanford to 24 pts under their season average. Clearly, the Wildcats were a much better defensive team at the end of the season during the NCAA Championship.
 
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I think we have to assess Christyn & Liv a little differently. During the second half of the season, once Geno tasked her with being the defensive stopper, Christyn played at an AA level. When she focused on defense, her offense was great, because she stopped worrying about it.

Liv is a different issue. Liv is a solid defender, rebounder and passer who can run the court and give you some points. She is not a “go to” scorer in the low blocks like Tuck or Pheesa. Frankly, low post scorers in WBB are going the way of the dinosaurs, just like in MBB.
What a dissertation to start the thread, really amazing. I want to hit on just a few points in no particular order and perhaps from a number of points above. One thing for certain our freshman will be thrown right into the elite WCBB fray. It may take longer with so many tough opponents right out of the gate. We may play SC in the first tourney, come home and prepare for a monster of pre-conference games. I am eager to see how Geno meshes the new with the old.
You hit the nail on the head when you called Liv solid in a number of skills, yes she is and most games she delivers a solid effort. IMO Liv has another level she can obtain, just like CW had. CW took the next step, I hope Liv finds that level and becomes a bad A in her attitude, we saw a few spurts last season, hope she flips that switch. She will never become that low post scorer you mentioned, it's just not her game yet. I differ in the thought that low post scorers are becoming dinos, they seem to be coming back to WCBB.. just look at SC, Stanford and a few of the low post players coming into WCBB in the next couple of years. I think we see where in men's, women's, college and pros when any team has a chance for that dominate big they move heaven and hell to try and get that monster big. Just think back a few short months ago when the hew and cry on the BY was to get that big transferring out of Syracuse.
 

Plebe

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Clearly, the Wildcats were a much better defensive team at the end of the season during the NCAA Championship.
They were a better team, period, on both sides of the ball. Arizona found its timely mojo in the 2nd and 3rd weekends of the NCAAT in a way that other teams simply did not.

Arizona, frankly, hadn't looked good all season long. On paper they figured to be a top-10 team (ranked #7 AP preseason) but they struggled to jell all season, skating by largely on their defense and looking often disjointed and lackluster on offense, right on through the Pac-12 tournament, where they were beaten soundly by UCLA in the semifinals.

So if being in the Pac-12 gave AZ an advantage in the NCAAT, why didn't it also help the team that dismantled AZ in the P12 tournament? After its run to the Pac-12 final, UCLA dropped a clunker in round 2 to Texas.
 
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1/17 Oregon
1/27 South Carolina
2/6 Tennessee

There is a general perception that P5 conferences are filled with great programs. The fact is that there are usually not more than 4 teams in any conference that are top 15 and that it's usually 2. The conference games in Jan & Feb include only 2 or 3 games that replicate the final four. The rest are no better than games against good mid-majors. The fact that Colorado can beat Stanford is due to Stanford playing a crappy game, not because Colorado is any good.
How many games will Maryland play in-conference that rise to the level of the 3 above games? Who exactly is NCSt going to face in the ACC as good as S Car? The only conference that can brag is the PAC12 and even for them it has been a recent development. Stanford has dominated the PAC12 for decades.

Sure, the BE needs to get better. It irks me that a lot of BE teams have no problem fielding an elite men's program. It's simply a matter of will.
 
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They were a better team, period, on both sides of the ball. Arizona found its timely mojo in the 2nd and 3rd weekends of the NCAAT in a way that other teams simply did not.

Arizona, frankly, hadn't looked good all season long. On paper they figured to be a top-10 team (ranked #7 AP preseason) but they struggled to jell all season, skating by largely on their defense and looking often disjointed and lackluster on offense, right on through the Pac-12 tournament, where they were beaten soundly by UCLA in the semifinals.

So if being in the Pac-12 gave AZ an advantage in the NCAAT, why didn't it also help the team that dismantled AZ in the P12 tournament? After its run to the Pac-12 final, UCLA dropped a clunker in round 2 to Texas.
YES, exactly a run by AZ came at just the right time, were the tourney a week or two later it may have been someone else on a run conference play aside. Some teams make a big splash for one game, we found out this past season when we played Ark. some teams like AZ sustain that run for consecutive games and more. Was AZ that team, one so much better when we played them, or were they the team that others beat. We can analyze the tar out of the outcome UCONN vs AZ, in the end teams have runs, they get hot at the right time, they did we didn't, end of story end of season. :(
 
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1/17 Oregon
1/27 South Carolina
2/6 Tennessee

There is a general perception that P5 conferences are filled with great programs. The fact is that there are usually not more than 4 teams in any conference that are top 15 and that it's usually 2. The conference games in Jan & Feb include only 2 or 3 games that replicate the final four. The rest are no better than games against good mid-majors. The fact that Colorado can beat Stanford is due to Stanford playing a crappy game, not because Colorado is any good.
How many games will Maryland play in-conference that rise to the level of the 3 above games? Who exactly is NCSt going to face in the ACC as good as S Car? The only conference that can brag is the PAC12 and even for them it has been a recent development. Stanford has dominated the PAC12 for decades.

Sure, the BE needs to get better. It irks me that a lot of BE teams have no problem fielding an elite men's program. It's simply a matter of will.
NC St playing Louisville 3 times is not a challenge? Maryland playing Iowa or Indiana 3 times are not a challenge ? I think you're selling short some of these programs
 

oldude

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They were a better team, period, on both sides of the ball. Arizona found its timely mojo in the 2nd and 3rd weekends of the NCAAT in a way that other teams simply did not.

Arizona, frankly, hadn't looked good all season long. On paper they figured to be a top-10 team (ranked #7 AP preseason) but they struggled to jell all season, skating by largely on their defense and looking often disjointed and lackluster on offense, right on through the Pac-12 tournament, where they were beaten soundly by UCLA in the semifinals.

So if being in the Pac-12 gave AZ an advantage in the NCAAT, why didn't it also help the team that dismantled AZ in the P12 tournament? After its run to the Pac-12 final, UCLA dropped a clunker in round 2 to Texas.
Different matchups. Different games. In the case of UCLA, I would suggest that the Bruins got “Vic Schaeferred” when they were held to 14 pts in the first half. Not to be outdone, Vic’s team pulled off a defensive masterpiece against the high-octane MD Terps in the biggest upset of the tournament.

Beyond that, last season was not in any way “normal”. AZ shut down practices for awhile due to a positive Covid case with a tier 1 member of the basketball team. The team faced numerous postponements and cancellations, as did many programs. Stanford’s loss to lowly CO occurred when they couldn’t even practice in Palo Alto.

Teams reacted differently to the challenges of playing basketball during a pandemic. To AZ’s credit, they figured it out in the end.
 

msf22b

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Sometimes analysis is too complicated
Leylah served poorly and had little chance

Liv, with a big height advantage was expected to dominate but was both ineffective and passive...
When that anticipated plus on the inside dissipated, the team was disadvantaged and lost.

Why do you think Geno accepted the transfer of an experienced big?
 
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. . . In 2012-13, the OBE sent 8 teams to the Big Dance. Three OBE teams made the FF. . . .
Speaking of the strength of the Old Big East, I recall that in 2011 the OBE sent nine teams
to the tournament, and after the first round all nine teams were still alive.

For a conference to go 9 - 0 in the first round of the NCAA tournament is a record that
will last for a very long time, if not forever.
 
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NC St playing Louisville 3 times is not a challenge? Maryland playing Iowa or Indiana 3 times are not a challenge ? I think you're selling short some of these programs

Louisville is a great program. That's one. NCSt & Louisville are 2 elite programs. That's hardly a conference. My point is that some seem to think that the P-5 is loaded with elite programs. They aren't. There are maybe a dozen elite programs in D1. The P5 has about 65 teams and the vast majority would pose no great threat to UConn if they met in February.

I Remember that when Notre Dame left the "weak" BE and joined the ACC. They were undefeated (in-conference) in their first 2 years (2015 & 2016). And despite the "gauntlet" of an ACC schedule to prepare them they didn't win the title in either of those years.
 
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The frontloaded schedule strength could prove advantageous to UConn. A loss in the first 1/2 of the season does not affect ones seeding as much as a loss in the second half typically does.
Very true. However, we ain't losing this year. Not once.
 
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