By Jeffrey Newholm
The Browns recently went so long without a win fans got free beer when they finally won one. If a UConn fan drank after each regular season win, she’d be hammered 126 game nights in a row since 2014. Back when Michael Cohen was just a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Packer beat writer. (Sorry, buddy!) But that long streak ended in Waco with the Bears’ convincing 68-57 triumph. Although there was thankfully no prison time or wrongful Twitter harassment involved, headlines of MIGHTY FALL brighten news outlets. But what does the upset really mean for the two schools, and how does it change the narrative of the 2019 basketball season?
Mississippi Sate’s remarkable streak-busting upset immediately vaulted the bulldogs to national relevance. Notre Dame’s quieted two decades of tough luck. But the Bears haven’t faced their biggest opponent: their own questioning minds. According to Charlie Creme’s bracketology, the win should catapult the Bears to a 1 seed. But that’s old hat. After a shocking loss to Louisville in the 2013 Sweet 16, Baylor lost four Elite Eights in a row. After a sixth straight regional loss last year, it’s no longer reasonable to give the program the benefit of the doubt. The surprise may usher Baylor through another undefeated Big 12 run, but can their hoopers re-gather their confidence long after the headlines are archived?
After the horrifying loss, Geno jumped the bus driver and jacked 150 miles an hour to an exhausting practice. Well, maybe that’s what he wanted to do. In real life, he’s disappointed in his player’s “oh well” attitude. “I’m sure they were disappointed and upset that we lost; who wouldn’t be?”, the coach lamented. “But the world’s different…something happens; it’s not exactly what you want it to be. There’s no like, ‘Damn! I’ve gotta get this!’ It’s like, ‘Well, I got it half right'”. That’s a very concerning attitude. If the Huskies can’t make the needed corrections that they were able to make last time, a possible American Conference sleepwalk could lead the team to a third straight NCAA doom.
Well this is a first! Three years in a row UConn was pick 1, 2, and 3 to win it all. And the two years before that challengers were few. But UConn is clearly less talented now. After being outscored 52-10 in the paint for a shocking role reversal, it’s easy to pick several schools with stronger women. The wheels are starting to fall off the Husky Lamborghini. Until and unless the team can shoot over ubiquitous zones, the UConn invitational may require some additional March sponsors.