Deep Into Sports: Huskies Vs. Vols Apr09

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Deep Into Sports: Huskies Vs. Vols


a blogumn by Nate Barlow

Earlier this week on, Gary Porpora wrote the first piece of a multi-part article on who’s the greatest golfer of all time, Jack Nicklaus or Tiger Woods.  With so much of the media anointing Tiger the king, Gary says, “Not so fast!” and he’s breaking down the numbers to prove the point.

So, with “who’s the greatest” on my mind and with both the men’s and women’s college basketball championships having just been decided, I figured I’d raise the question: which is the greatest NCAA women’s basketball team of all time?

In men’s basketball, one school stands out: UCLA.  Love them or hate them, the Bruins’ dominance during the ’60s and ’70s was so thorough that three decades later, no other school is even remotely close to their eleven titles, ten of which came during the twelve season stretch of 1964-1975.  Although UCLA has only added one to their tally since (in 1995), it doesn’t matter–the Bruins are still easily the best.

connecticut_huskies1 VS ladyvolslogo

But in women’s basketball, it’s another story altogether.  Two teams have owned the sport, the Tennessee Lady Volunteers and this year’s national champion, the 39-0 Connecticut Huskies.

Tennessee was the original titan of the sport.  The Lady Vols reached their first Final Four in 1982 and won their first national championship in 1987.  Tennessee’s eight titles (one capping off an undefeated season) are unmatched.

Enter the Huskies.  They reached their first Final Four in 1991 and won their first national championship in 1995.  They only have six titles to Tennessee’s eight, but have amassed an astounding three undefeated seasons in the time. 

As a point of reference, no other school has more than two national championships.

So, on the one hand, Tennessee has been on top longer and has won more titles; on the other, Connecticut has more perfect seasons (3 vs. 1) and their run of four championships in five years (2000 & 2002-2004) is unparalleled in the sport.  Both schools have streaks of three straight national titles.

Perhaps most impressive of all: from 1995-2009, the only years that neither the Lady Volunteers nor the Huskies won the championship were 1999, 2001, 2005 and 2006.  Between the two, that’s 11 titles in 15 years.

I thus ask the question: which team is the greatest of all time?


Keep up with the 2009 baseball season at Nate’s regular blog, Deep Into Sports