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FRIDAY REWIND: UConn's streak ends tastelessly

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The streaking, a friend informed me, was over at 70. My mind was ambivalent but my eyes were thrilled. Based on perceived rates of metabolism deceleration, I've always believed that streaking should be over and out at age 35. No, the friend corrected. The streaking ended at 70 games. Well, that was a completely different story. Despite having turned my back on women's basketball, I knew the Connecticut Huskies were tougher to defeat than morning breath and hadn't lost in several unfulfilled U.N. resolutions. But I didn't expect to hear of any measurable challenge to their supremacy until Zambonis rolled in hell. I'm sure the women from Villanova used such dismissals as a rallying point for their 52-48 victory over UConn in the championship game of the Big East Tournament. Gone is the Huskies' 70-game winning streak, replaced by the lead role in today's episode of The Friday Rewind. In the afterglow of this defeat, Huskies coach Geno Auriemma made several highlight-show appearances with his prickly reactions to questions from Amanda Alnutt. Alnutt, reporting for the school's student newspaper, asked Geno what he would do to prevent such a setback in the NCAA Tournament. Based on her question, it's obvious that Amanda wants to make sure the Huskies don't leave her stranded on the road to the Final Four. Auriemma just didn't understand. "You ask a lot of questions that really piss me off," Geno said. "You're too young to ask those questions. Older guys can ask me questions that piss me off. You're too young." As an older guy, here's a question for Geno: "Are you kidding me?!" OK, so I borrowed that question from Dick Vitale. It also should be noted that Geno conducted himself with reasonable integrity during most of the post-loss inquisition. He even offered heaps of credit to Villanova. For the record, the Wildcats won despite missing 11 of 16 three-point attempts, continuing the school's difficulties with long distance. 'Nova's edge probably had more to do with its deliberation tactics. These included instructing its point guard to loiter in the backcourt with the ball. This was permissible because there is no 10-second rule in women's basketball. Talk about a revelation. I'd always heard "no 10-second rule in women's basketball" and believed it allowed me to change the channel only two or three seconds after encountering the broadcast of a women's game. Admittedly, the women deserve credit for not making a mockery of basketball's fundamentals. But if I wanted to watch players who shoot accurately and dunk rarely, I'd tape every Dallas Mavericks game. Anyway, the Huskies' Big East trip qualifies as the most stunning women's basketball news since Lisa Leslie spiced up a WNBA commercial with the following perspective: "Yeah, I'm glamorous. So what?" So what, indeed. In closing, we all still believe Connecticut will perform sensationally in the tournament. According to really smart sports psychologists, a rare loss often serves as a wake-up call. But the only wake-up call I believe in occurs after a guy watches a triple-overtime game, slouches toward the bedroom and discovers that the wife has stapled his pillow to the door.

Men's college basketball

  • The University of Georgia suspended head coach Jim Harrick for allegedly stockpiling weapons of academic destruction. Harrick is suspended with pay, enabling him to purchase squares in the athletic department's NCAA Tournament office pool.
  • For underachieving as the coach at Texas Tech, Bob Knight has refused to accept his base salary of $250,000. In related news, Knight recently demanded a pay raise from Indiana after a great effort on ESPN Classic. A Texas Tech campus security report credits Knight with fatally kicking a university-owned, flat-screen television. Fortunately for Bob, Tech's tolerance is way above zero. After surveying the damage, an athletic department official even asked Knight if he wanted to start a tab.
  • According to a study commissioned by the NCAA, most of the difference-makers in this year's edition of March Madness are not on scholarship. They're on retainer.
  • NBA

  • For recognizing a real traveler when they see one, the Harlem Globetrotters conducted a ceremonial jersey exchange with Philadelphia 76ers coach Larry Brown.
  • The New York Knicks will collect $5.4 million from a disability insurance policy based on an injury to Antonio McDyess, but will be unable to collect on Travis Knight.
  • After scoring 79 points in victories over the Timberwolves and 76ers, L.A. Lakers center Shaquille O'Neal erupted for 13 in a loss to the Bulls. Shaq took responsibility for the loss in Chicago, admitting he "really couldn't get into it."
  • Based on his recent fitness upgrade, we'll assume what he failed to get into was the game and not his uniform.

    Golf

  • The ACLU filed suit against the city of Augusta on behalf of National Council of Women's Organization go-to gal Martha Burk. Burk had requested a permit to protest outside the gate to Augusta National Golf Course during The Masters. She was turned down, but was granted protest space about 2,000 yards away. According to insiders, the city didn't want any "No Blood For Bogeys" signs anywhere near Augusta National. The expected legal grappling will be referred to as Gategate.
  • Major league baseball

  • In a resumption of last year's spring-training bitterness, L.A. Dodger relief pitcher Guillermo Mota drilled New York Mets catcher Mike Piazza. Piazza charged the mound and attempted to make a collect call on Mota. Mota survived by backpedaling faster than Trent Lott. Mota's maneuver didn't impress his teammates, but his backpedaling did command an offer sheet from the Washington Redskins.
  • Philadelphia Phillies reliever Jose Mesa is on record threatening former Cleveland Indians shortstop Omar Vizquel. Said Mesa: "If I face him, I'll hit him. And if he charges me, I'll kill him." Based on his damning testimony, it's obvious that Jose doesn't even need a set-up man. For the record, Mesa is mad at Vizquel over comments recorded in the shortstop's book Omar! My Life On and Off the Field. Mesa may have been exaggerating, but if not, he'll have great material for his own book, Jose! My Life In and Out of Prison.
  • New York Yankees left-hander David "Boomer" Wells was fined $100,000 by the Yankees for image-tarnishing material in his new book. The loot reportedly will be given to a favorite Yankee charity, possibly the Major League Baseball owners' fund. In related news, this book — Perfect I'm Not! Boomer on Beer, Brawls, Backaches and Baseball — received a favorable notice from a New York reviewer. But this rave was retracted the following day when the reviewer admitted he was "half-drunk" while reading Boomer's book.
  • NFL

  • Super Bowl MVP Dexter Jackson has signed to play safety for the Arizona Cardinals. Dexter, who was snubbed in the annual "I'm going to Disney World!" sweepstakes, must have decided the Arizona franchise represents his last shot at an amusement park.
  • According to the New York Times, the league has dumped eight of its game officials. The NFL was hoping the officials would resign, because firing them would result in a serious salary-cap hit.
  • Randy Hill can be reached at his e-mail address, rhill@foxsports.com.

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