UConn's Front-end Loaded SOS Dilemma

Plebe

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Teams reacted differently to the challenges of playing basketball during a pandemic. To AZ’s credit, they figured it out in the end.
And there you have it. That's pretty much the extent of it. Whatever their specific adversities and challenges, each team either figures it out and peaks at the right time, or they don't.

Battle-tested is a huge factor - both mentally & physically. Some on here refuse to admit it, saying things like "UConn wasnt good enough". I dont agree. Especially when the talent margin is slim among the top teams. When you get punched in the mouth, you have to respond. And, much of that confidence comes through prior game experiences, not X's/O's, practices, and game planning. Teams that go through these "tests" in Feb./Mar. are much better prepared for a Title run.
This narrative is just so facile.

The road to the Final Four and championship trophy is always littered with teams that took plenty of "mouth punches" throughout February and March and have little to show for it other than a bloody mouth.
 

UcMiami

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There have been a few NCAA championships Uconn won where they won because their opponent needed to play their A+ game to even compete from the E8 on and otherwise everyone else was playing for second place. For the rest ... Uconn needed to play their A game to advance from the E8 on. Those last three games in the NCAAs are really hard to win and yet the 'disappointing' Uconn teams that haven't won the championship have for the last 13 have still won the E8 game every year. If they reach the FF this year and next (what we expect) they will have won 15 straight 3X the next closest school.

I don't think winning NCAA tournaments has anything to do with SOS being front loaded, back loaded, or any other quality. Geno and the coaches know what it takes to prep a team to win, and what it takes for a team to win E8, Semi, and championship games. Sometimes Uconn doesn't have the horses, sometimes they don't have the chemistry, and sometimes they lay an egg. And sometimes an opponent takes a game away from them.

Last year's team did well to keep the FF streak alive because Baylor, AZ, SC, and Stanford (and maybe a couple of others) all had the quality of team to beat them and Uconn needed to play at least their A game to win against any of them if they played well.
 
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I think these type of “blame it on the conference” discussions in some part has to do with a lack of respect by some for any program not named UCONN or the comments made that the team is somehow a failure if they don’t win it all with no appreciation for getting to as many consecutive FF’s as UCONN has had. For example, for some thinking UCONN will surely go undefeated and/or surely win a title this year—what happens if they lose during the reg. season? There has to be blame issued from some that think like that. They can’t admit that it was their outlook that was the flaw.

As a result, when UCONN loses any game and/or doesn’t win a championship, there must be someone to blame rather than they admit their outlook of probably not respecting the opponent was the flaw. There would be a denial admitting that they were wrong.

So we know what we’ll hear after the loss, right? Blame. We’ll hear the conference excuse, and/or the we weren’t ready excuse/ don’t have the heart etc excuse, and/or the coach’s philosophy excuse, and/or the game has changed excuse etc. Just keep throwing darts.

Instead, how about just giving respect to the opponent? Just because UCONN players put on the UCONN jersey doesn’t mean it turns them into Wonder Woman. Other teams have a great players and great coaches too. And UCONN is not a professional team thus susceptible to having a clunker too.
 
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The “front loaded” rant is ludicrous to me.
UCONN has to schedule tough games wherever/whenever they can.
Face it, most in conference games are a breeze.
If the schedule has to be stacked up front, that’s the price they pay for having a cakewalk in the BE.
Please also keep in mind that up front tough games early are also tough up front games for their opponents.
It’s just as early in the season for them.
It’s a two way street.
And personally, I’d rather find out who on UCONN is bringing game earlier rather than later.
JMHO
 
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I think it is the nature of many fan bases to "blame the team" after a loss. Not just here. Fans (short for fanatic remember) are not really too good at unbiased analysis and that includes giving the team that won against the team you live and die with credit for playing a great game in that given moment.

You should look at some of the football fan boards out there. Do you think the Oklahoma fans (were nearly upset by Tulane) are talking about what a good game the Green Wave played and how they are a much better team than anyone thought? No, I suspect there was wailing and gnashing of teeth over how Oklahoma played.
 
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I believe it would be impossible for anyone other than UConn to win the NC this year. Why? Christyn and Evina will not allow this team to lose its focus. This is why Christyn came here, this is what Evina came here, this is why they will not leave without a NC. They will not allow this team to lose. These two will be relentless this season, so look out for some very inspiring play for these two. Go Huskies.
As a guest, I will be gentler than I would be with a Gamecock fan making a similar statement on a Gamecock board. I would first accuse them of reading too many Gamecock press clippings, drinking too much garnet koolaid and having no clue about the talent that UConn has - and is bringing in.

It is absolutely not impossible for someone other than UConn to win the NC this year.. Let's look at 2017. UConn thrashed SCar by double digits during the regular season. The Stewie-led Huskies were clearly the better team to me. One could have somewhat reasonably thought it "impossible" for anyone other than UConn to win the NC that year. And yet the Gamecocks won it after UConn fell to Mississippi State whom the Gamecocks would beat for the third time.

I love my team and any reasonable wbb fan would have to admit that there is a certainly a chance for us to win it because we are loaded with talent and most of it has been to the dance. UConn is also loaded with talent and has danced. However, my approach is somewhat like boxing's "To be the champ, you've gotta beat the champ." Until Stanford shows that they are not worthy, they are my number one team. It is not impossible for them to repeat.

And yes, I worry about NC State too.
 
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I think it is the nature of many fan bases to "blame the team" after a loss. Not just here. Fans (short for fanatic remember) are not really too good at unbiased analysis and that includes giving the team that won against the team you live and die with credit for playing a great game in that given moment.

You should look at some of the football fan boards out there. Do you think the Oklahoma fans (were nearly upset by Tulane) are talking about what a good game the Green Wave played and how they are a much better team than anyone thought? No, I suspect there was wailing and gnashing of teeth over how Oklahoma played.

I agree but Oklahoma fans aren't going to blame the schedule or blame their conference not being tough enough when they go against Tulane. And there is a big difference between Tulane vs Oklahoma in reg. season football vs UCONN losing to a FF team. As a result, AZ in the FF deserves a lot more respect than Tulane Football in a reg season game.
 
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As a guest, I will be gentler than I would be with a Gamecock fan making a similar statement on a Gamecock board. I would first accuse them of reading too many Gamecock press clippings and having no clue about the talent that UConn has - and is bringing in.

It is absolutely not impossible for someone other than UConn to win the NC this year.. Let's look at 2017. UConn thrashed SCar by double digits during the regular season. The Stewie-led Huskies were clearly the better team to me. One could have somewhat reasonably thought it "impossible" for anyone other than UConn to win the NC that year. And yet the Gamecocks won it after UConn fell to Mississippi State whom the Gamecocks would beat for the third time.

I love my team and any reasonable wbb fan would have to admit that there is a certainly a chance for us to win it because we are loaded with talent and most of it has been to the dance. UConn is also loaded with talent and has danced. However, my approach is somewhat like boxing's "To be the champ, you've gotta beat the champ." Until Stanford shows that they are not worthy, they are my number one team. It is not impossible for them to repeat.

And yes, I worry about NC State too.

I agree with everything you say love it all specifically when it comes to who can win it all- agree. No way is UCONN assured of a championship. And your team is a beast.

With that said I disagree big time with your boxing quote/analogy tying it to Stanford. This isn't boxing. Boxing is an individual sport. No players leave and come back like in cbb. Boxing and women's college basketball have no similarities other than a champion is awarded at the eventual end.
 
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As a guest, I will be gentler than I would be with a Gamecock fan making a similar statement on a Gamecock board. I would first accuse them of reading too many Gamecock press clippings, drinking too much garnet koolaid and having no clue about the talent that UConn has - and is bringing in.

It is absolutely not impossible for someone other than UConn to win the NC this year.. Let's look at 2017. UConn thrashed SCar by double digits during the regular season. The Stewie-led Huskies were clearly the better team to me. One could have somewhat reasonably thought it "impossible" for anyone other than UConn to win the NC that year. And yet the Gamecocks won it after UConn fell to Mississippi State whom the Gamecocks would beat for the third time.

I love my team and any reasonable wbb fan would have to admit that there is a certainly a chance for us to win it because we are loaded with talent and most of it has been to the dance. UConn is also loaded with talent and has danced. However, my approach is somewhat like boxing's "To be the champ, you've gotta beat the champ." Until Stanford shows that they are not worthy, they are my number one team. It is not impossible for them to repeat.

And yes, I worry about NC State too.
Stewart graduated in 2016 and wasn't part of that team.
 
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As a guest, I will be gentler than I would be with a Gamecock fan making a similar statement on a Gamecock board. I would first accuse them of reading too many Gamecock press clippings, drinking too much garnet koolaid and having no clue about the talent that UConn has - and is bringing in.

It is absolutely not impossible for someone other than UConn to win the NC this year.. Let's look at 2017. UConn thrashed SCar by double digits during the regular season. The Stewie-led Huskies were clearly the better team to me. One could have somewhat reasonably thought it "impossible" for anyone other than UConn to win the NC that year. And yet the Gamecocks won it after UConn fell to Mississippi State whom the Gamecocks would beat for the third time.

I love my team and any reasonable wbb fan would have to admit that there is a certainly a chance for us to win it because we are loaded with talent and most of it has been to the dance. UConn is also loaded with talent and has danced. However, my approach is somewhat like boxing's "To be the champ, you've gotta beat the champ." Until Stanford shows that they are not worthy, they are my number one team. It is not impossible for them to repeat.

And yes, I worry about NC State too.
agreed and to add on, I hate this saying that because Uconn has 3 srs that means they will be motivated to not lose. Umm I guess the srs in other schools are motivated to lose? Because they play for Uconn does not guarantee a title is given. While I can't recall a class that gradauted without a ntl title in Uconn, it doesn't mean it can't happen. I said it before there is no more sr class in Uconn history that I can recall with more pressure to win than this upcoming one
 

CocoHusky

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As a guest, I will be gentler than I would be with a Gamecock fan making a similar statement on a Gamecock board. I would first accuse them of reading too many Gamecock press clippings, drinking too much garnet koolaid and having no clue about the talent that UConn has - and is bringing in.

It is absolutely not impossible for someone other than UConn to win the NC this year.. Let's look at 2017. UConn thrashed SCar by double digits during the regular season. The Stewie-led Huskies were clearly the better team to me. One could have somewhat reasonably thought it "impossible" for anyone other than UConn to win the NC that year. And yet the Gamecocks won it after UConn fell to Mississippi State whom the Gamecocks would beat for the third time.

I love my team and any reasonable wbb fan would have to admit that there is a certainly a chance for us to win it because we are loaded with talent and most of it has been to the dance. UConn is also loaded with talent and has danced. However, my approach is somewhat like boxing's "To be the champ, you've gotta beat the champ." Until Stanford shows that they are not worthy, they are my number one team. It is not impossible for them to repeat.

And yes, I worry about NC State too.
Preach!
 
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As a result, when UCONN loses any game and/or doesn’t win a championship, there must be someone to blame rather than they admit their outlook of probably not respecting the opponent was the flaw. There would be a denial admitting that they were wrong.

So we know what we’ll hear after the loss, right? Blame. We’ll hear the conference excuse, and/or the we weren’t ready excuse/ don’t have the heart etc excuse, and/or the coach’s philosophy excuse, and/or the game has changed excuse etc. Just keep throwing darts.

Instead, how about just giving respect to the opponent? Just because UCONN players put on the UCONN jersey doesn’t mean it turns them into Wonder Woman. Other teams have a great players and great coaches too. And UCONN is not a professional team thus susceptible to having a clunker too.
A head coach being interviewed at halftime, was asked what the team could do better in the second half. The coach thought a few seconds and said " When you make the shots when you need them, you win. When the other guys make the shots when they need them, you lose"
End of interview.
Oh yeah, I think it was Geno.
So, if we want to come away with the NC this coming season, let's make the shots when we need them and keep the other guys from making theirs.
Of course, the Devil is always in the details.
 
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And there you have it. That's pretty much the extent of it. Whatever their specific adversities and challenges, each team either figures it out and peaks at the right time, or they don't.


This narrative is just so facile.

The road to the Final Four and championship trophy is always littered with teams that took plenty of "mouth punches" throughout February and March and have little to show for it other than a bloody mouth.

Great teams are able to win games in different styles when it counts. UConn has been mostly a finesse team the past several years - too one-dimensional. They play their best when they are allowed to play their game, which is a lot of passing to get a good open look. Games when they score in the 70 to 80+ points. Problem is when the opponent forces them to change because of their physicality. AZ was yet another FF game that held UConn well-below their season average. Great teams can win those low scoring, physical games when they have to. UConn was out of their element & it clearly showed. The great UConn teams of the past were able to play & win both a finesse game or a physical, low-scoring game. This team needs to prove that.
 
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from the wbb I try to watch I think the scrappiest and physical conference when it comes to wbb is Big 10. It would have been nice to get a game vs one of those schools Indiana Iowa or Michigan. Wonder why it was not a consideration
 
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This narrative really bothers me, because I don't necessarily believe it. There were many years that Uconn won a NC because they were head and shoulders above the rest of the country. And many times, they won on the back of a hall of fame type player (Taurasi, Moore, Stewart). Recently, we haven't had teams head and shoulders above the competition, and until Paige, haven't had a "generational" talent. It is really hard to win a NC, and when you are fielding teams that are only on par but not above the competition, losses are inevitable. Lately, we just haven't had the talent to win, or the killer instinct to win. To me, it is more due to the personnel composing the team, the increased depth of talent in women's basketball, and frankly some bad luck. We act like the world is ending, but since we last won in 2016, there have been 4 final fours, and we took part in all 4. Two buzzer beater losses, a 4th quarter collapse, and an inexperienced team loss. It's bound to happen. Long are the days of waltzing straight to the trophy. It's natural to search for reasons why, but I don't think the timing of big games is necessarily to blame. To me, it all boils down to the fact that there is finally parity in the game, and what once could be done to look easy, now looks a lot tougher.
 
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from the wbb I try to watch I think the scrappiest and physical conference when it comes to wbb is Big 10. It would have been nice to get a game vs one of those schools Indiana Iowa or Michigan. Wonder why it was not a consideration
Two-way street those schools would have to agree to play. I'm certain though we'll see a home and home with Iowa in 22-23, 23-24.
 
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Great teams are able to win games in different styles when it counts. UConn has been mostly a finesse team the past several years - too one-dimensional. They play their best when they are allowed to play their game, which is a lot of passing to get a good open look. Games when they score in the 70 to 80+ points. Problem is when the opponent forces them to change because of their physicality. AZ was yet another FF game that held UConn well-below their season average. Great teams can win those low scoring, physical games when they have to. UConn was out of their element & it clearly showed. The great UConn teams of the past were able to play & win both a finesse game or a physical, low-scoring game. This team needs to prove that.
It might be possible that either UCONN didn’t have the depth (or Geno didn’t feel they had the dept) to play “ugly” basketball.
Depending almost exclusively on the starting 5 ( I know, I know, several short breaks) and maybe giving meaningful minutes to two others off of the bench doesn’t leave much wiggle room for foul trouble.
Was the end of the bench so inept, or performed so poorly in practice, that they deserved effectively NO minutes?
Apparently yes.
What other reason could there be for winning AAC games by 88-41 or being up by 31-13 at the end of the first quarter and 49-21 at the half?
There may be some reason, but I can’t think of one other than the above.
I often thought of the above mentioned scores as overkill and unrewarding to watch.
Hey, I just a poor country Lawyer (not really) but I’ll tell you what I’d like to see this year.
With UCONN’s depth, I’d like to see a smothering press more often than not.
Crush the confidence and cohesion of the opponent.
Then run the offense, build a lead, then integrate reserves into the offense to give them experience, confidence and meaningful minutes.
Opponents want to bang?
Go big upfront and let them foul out.
Opponents want to run?
Suffocating press won’t let them.
Want to play a war of attrition?
UCONN. Has the depth.
I believe it is prudent to give this still young team a taste of real game pressure before they play in big, important and consequential games before a packed house in a nonpartisan atmosphere.
JMHO
 

UcMiami

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This narrative really bothers me, because I don't necessarily believe it. There were many years that Uconn won a NC because they were head and shoulders above the rest of the country. And many times, they won on the back of a hall of fame type player (Taurasi, Moore, Stewart). Recently, we haven't had teams head and shoulders above the competition, and until Paige, haven't had a "generational" talent. It is really hard to win a NC, and when you are fielding teams that are only on par but not above the competition, losses are inevitable. Lately, we just haven't had the talent to win, or the killer instinct to win. To me, it is more due to the personnel composing the team, the increased depth of talent in women's basketball, and frankly some bad luck. We act like the world is ending, but since we last won in 2016, there have been 4 final fours, and we took part in all 4. Two buzzer beater losses, a 4th quarter collapse, and an inexperienced team loss. It's bound to happen. Long are the days of waltzing straight to the trophy. It's natural to search for reasons why, but I don't think the timing of big games is necessarily to blame. To me, it all boils down to the fact that there is finally parity in the game, and what once could be done to look easy, now looks a lot tougher.
I know there is more talent coming into college ball and therefore more talent playing in wcbb, but I am not sure there is much more 'parity'. There is still an elite set of teams, and a bunch of also rans, just as there was in the 1990s and 2000s and 2010s. There has always been a level of rotation into and out of the 'elite' teams based on coaching and recruiting cycles and there have also been anomalous years where a few elite teams stumbled and upstarts broke into the FF and even won an NC. But the idea that there is a significant sea change in the competitive universe seems to me to be questionable. Look at the conferences:
Pac 12 - Stanford has dominated since the 1990s
SEC - TN since the 1990s followed by SC in the 2010s
ACC - UNC and Duke traded dominance until expansion when ND took over
Big12 - TX followed by OK, followed by Baylor
Big 10 - OSU followed by MD
Uconn - dominated whatever conference they were in regardless of strength of the conference since the 1990s.

There have always been a few conference teams outside the leader who have provided challenges and might have broken through for a year or two but over time they were 'one team leagues'. The difference with Uconn and every other elite team is they almost never lose to inferior teams where the others consistently include clunkers in their seasons. SC and Baylor have recently been the second and third most consistent teams.
 

CocoHusky

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Great teams are able to win games in different styles when it counts. UConn has been mostly a finesse team the past several years - too one-dimensional. They play their best when they are allowed to play their game, which is a lot of passing to get a good open look. Games when they score in the 70 to 80+ points. Problem is when the opponent forces them to change because of their physicality. AZ was yet another FF game that held UConn well-below their season average. Great teams can win those low scoring, physical games when they have to. UConn was out of their element & it clearly showed. The great UConn teams of the past were able to play & win both a finesse game or a physical, low-scoring game. This team needs to prove that.
:eek: That statement is not factually correct and awful misleading. Facts: During the current FF losing streak UCONN lost a game in which it scored 89 which was the season average. Misleading because UCONN has been playing in the American and the BE conferences therefore it is not a reasonable expectation that UCONN (or any team) would hit it's season average in FF games.
 
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I don't buy the original premise. UConn has always played most of the tough games early. Even when the OBE got good, the other teams were no match for UConn.
 
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I know there is more talent coming into college ball and therefore more talent playing in wcbb, but I am not sure there is much more 'parity'. There is still an elite set of teams, and a bunch of also rans, just as there was in the 1990s and 2000s and 2010s. There has always been a level of rotation into and out of the 'elite' teams based on coaching and recruiting cycles and there have also been anomalous years where a few elite teams stumbled and upstarts broke into the FF and even won an NC. But the idea that there is a significant sea change in the competitive universe seems to me to be questionable. Look at the conferences:
Pac 12 - Stanford has dominated since the 1990s
SEC - TN since the 1990s followed by SC in the 2010s
ACC - UNC and Duke traded dominance until expansion when ND took over
Big12 - TX followed by OK, followed by Baylor
Big 10 - OSU followed by MD
Uconn - dominated whatever conference they were in regardless of strength of the conference since the 1990s.

There have always been a few conference teams outside the leader who have provided challenges and might have broken through for a year or two but over time they were 'one team leagues'. The difference with Uconn and every other elite team is they almost never lose to inferior teams where the others consistently include clunkers in their seasons. SC and Baylor have recently been the second and third most consistent teams.
It’s true that the the same teams continue to win their conferences but that doesn’t mean that parity is not creeping in. Parity is not instant. It’s something that evolves. Now, the top teams in the powers conferences don’t have a cake walk to the title. There are teams strong enough to challenge them. As the talent continues increase, the list of teams with a serious shot at cutting down the nets will eventually expand. AZ played in and almost won the NC game last season. Maybe a sign of things to come.
 
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