I remember how the UCLA men's dominance ended
by Kayo (2018-10-04 11:42:42)

In reply to: It's Not a Situation They're Used To....  posted by dillon77

It was more than the loss to Notre Dame ending the 88-game winning streak. That could have been considered an anomaly... ND scoring the last 12 points to win by one point; but UCLA lost again in February that year, to both Oregon State and Oregon on the same road trip and to NC State in the national semi-finals.

UCLA won the championship again in 1975, but the Bruins lost three times during the regular season including at Notre Dame to make the previous loss seem a little less fluky. Then John Wooden retired.

Gene Bartow made the Final Four in his first season as Wooden's replacement. Larry Brown took a nine loss team to the national championship game in 1980. UCLA didn't see the Final Four again until the 1995 championship season. Then came a Final Four drought until 2007.

All it took was a couple of teams to pierce the veil of invincibility. That didn't make UCLA a bad program, but it became a lot more like other good programs than its formerly dominant self.

As long as Geno Auriemma is the coach, UConn will be a formidable opponent just like Tennessee was with Pat Summit once its veil of invincibility was pierced; but I don't think we're going to see 50-game winning streaks anymore. There are too many good programs that are no longer defeated when they walk on the court to play the Huskies.

I also think playing in the AAC is starting to catch up to UConn. Auriemma wisely schedules as many top teams as possible in his non-conference schedule; but once the conference season starts, UConn has to play a lot of weak teams in nearly empty arenas. UConn averaged 9,558 tickets sold per game. The rest of the conference averaged 1,343 tickets sold per game. Five teams averaged less than 1,000 per game. Given the AAC's geographical footprint, that's a lot of 1,000+ mile trips for crap games in front of opponents' friends and families. Not very exciting.