It’s easy to say that the USF women’s basketball team's 26-point loss Monday in the AAC tournament final was due to its inability to hang with the No. 1 Huskies, or that the Bulls are simply a lower tier team.
But in reality, USF suffered the same fate as teams across the nation.
No team is on UConn’s level. Not No. 2 Notre Dame, which lost to the Huskies by 10, not No. 3 South Carolina, which lost by 12, and probably not even some of the men’s teams.
They’re in a class all their own, where no team can touch them.
It’s time we all come to terms with it and alter our expectations accordingly.
Is it fair to expect teams to compete with a dynasty that has won 69 straight games, outscoring opponents by nearly 40 points per game? Or against a senior class that doesn’t know what it feels like to end the season without the gratifying feeling of cutting down the nets?
Much like the near unstoppable Golden State Warriors in the NBA that some are peddling as possibly the best team in history, there have been times this season when things have looked grim for the Huskies, who draw a similar designation.
But once those few seconds tick off, they get right back on track, usually surging out to a 20-plus-point lead.
Take a late-season matchup with Tulane on Feb. 27 for example. The Huskies trailed 13-2 in the opening quarter — the largest deficit of their current win streak — with their reigning Associated Press Player of the Year Breanna Stewart hitting just two of 12 shots.
The score was 13-8 by the end of the opening quarter.
UConn finished the game outscoring the Green Wave 72-27 in a 40-point victory.
USF has had its fair share of opportunities to knock off the perennial powerhouse. In two of their three meetings this season, the Bulls led after the first quarter, including Monday’s conference final. In the other game, USF trailed by two, but all ended in double-digit losses.
The Huskies simply can’t be stopped.
And this isn’t even the first time UConn has been this dominant. Only one program not named UConn — 1971-74 UCLA Bruins — had a longer winning streak in Division I basketball.
The only other two times a team has topped 65 consecutive wins was during UConn’s title runs in 2001 to 2003, when it won 70 games before losing to Villanova in the Big East finals.
The other, more recent instance was essentially right before the current streak began. UConn won 90 consecutive games from 2008 to 2010, bringing home two titles.
From 2008 to now, UConn has won a Division-I-best five national titles, finishing undefeated three times and boasting a record of 191-5 in those title seasons.
The stats speak for themselves.
There will be 63 teams, including USF, looking to bring the Huskies streak to a screeching halt.
Sixty-three teams will try, and, let’s face it, 63 teams will fail.