Two win streaks, equally great

Mark the date Dec. 21, 2010 as the moment when ownership of Division I college basketball's longest win streak passed from UCLA's men of the early 1970s to Connecticut's women of the millennium.

Or maybe it didn't pass. It depends on who you ask, which is silly enough.

On one end there's John Wooden's Bruins. Pyramid of Success, Bill Walton, 88 straight wins from 1971 to 1974, two undefeated seasons and national titles contained within.

And on the other end is Geno Auriemma's Huskies, who tied the UCLA mark by flattening a ranked opponent (Ohio State) and broke it by flattening another (Florida State) just 48 hours later. This streak has also included two NCAA titles achieved through perfection.

Most folks had just accepted the milestones and went back to their NFL obsession - at least until Auriemma addressed the media in the wake of win no.88 against the Buckeyes.

In essence, the self-proclaimed "wise guy from Philadelphia" looked at the assembled horde and felt bemused. He said that the only reason UConn's streak was getting so much attention was because they were breaking a men's record - which, in his mind, delights some folks and drives others crazy.

Naturally, the words drove people crazy. Pro and con, before and after win no. 89 was achieved two nights later, fans and critics took their aim at Auriemma, the Huskies, women's basketball and sometimes all three at once. Some just told Geno to shut up.

That's the problem with folks that tell uncomfortable truths. We tell our coaches and athletes to be more honest and forthright and not trot out those same clich s every time - and when they do speak out, we tell them to be quiet. A bit of hypocrisy there, don't you think?

Intentionally or not, Auriemma's comments kept us from doing what we were supposed to do in this case - namely, appreciate and applaud both the UCLA and UConn marks.

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