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Geno's Huskies vs. Wooden's Bruins: Who is More Dominant?

As we all know, Geno Auriemma’s UCONN women take the court tonight in an attempt to win their 100th consecutive game, something that has never been accomplished in College Basketball history by any Men’s or Women’s team. In fact, UCONN holds the record for longest win streak prior to this at 90 games, followed by John Wooden’s UCLA Bruins at 88 wins. Does this streak solidify Geno’s Huskies as the most dominant College Basketball team in history, or do Wooden’s Bruins still hold the spot as the greatest ever?

First let’s break down exactly what UCONN has accomplished under the leadership of Geno. Aside from being on the brink of 100 straight wins, they are the 4-time defending National Champions, winners of six of the last eight championships, and 10 of the last 17 coming into this season. On their current streak of four consecutive titles, and including this season, they boast a record of 174-5. Going back four more years to include two more championships, they have gone 321-12 en-route to six titles in eight years. To take it a step further and include the last 17 seasons in which UCONN has won 10 titles, they have a record of 621-40, including five undefeated seasons, which is absolutely mind boggling. In those 17 seasons, aside from 10 titles, they also have four additional final four appearances, and have not been knocked out before the sweet 16 even once. How does this stack up to Wooden’s Bruins?

John Wooden retired in 1975 after winning 10 titles in 12 seasons with UCLA. The team went on to continue to play at a high level for the next few seasons, but did not manage any more championships. In the 12 year stretch, UCLA started by winning back to back championships in the 1963-64 and the 1964-65 season. In 1965-1966, they went 18-8 and missed the tournament all together. They followed by winning 7 straight titles and 8 of 9 from 1966-67 to 1974-75. In the 9 years where they won eight titles, UCLA boasted a record of 259-12, and over the full 12 year stretch they went 335-22. Over the stretch of 7 consecutive titles, the Bruins sported a record of 205-5, with three perfect 30-0 seasons.

At UCONN, Geno has coached some of the biggest names in women’s basketball. The 17 plus years of incredible success started with one championship in 1999-2000 and led to the recruitment of Diana Taurasi, who went on to lead UCONN to three titles in four seasons from 2001-2004. After Taurasi graduated, there was a bit of a low for a few years where UCONN went four straight seasons without a championship. After a few years of “rebuilding”, UCONN landed Maya Moore and went on to win two titles with two final four exits in her four years. After one more final four exit in 2012, UCONN landed Breanna Stewart to lead UCONN to four consecutive championships, a streak they are trying to continue this season.

Wooden had similar star studded UCLA rosters back in the day, with his run of seven consecutive titles starting with three in a row led by the one and only Lew Alcindor, aka Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. After two more titles with less star power on the roster, Wooden went on to win two more titles in three seasons with Bill Walton. After Walton went to the NBA, Wooden went on to win one more title before hanging it up for good.

With all that said, which is/was more dominant? It is really hard to say. With UCONN still at the height of its powers, they very well may take the crown from UCLA. In the meantime, it is hard to say 10 titles in 17 years has been more dominant than 10 titles in 12 years. UCONN has a chance to match the 10 in 12 years if they win it all again this year, plus three more years after this. That in and of itself shows just how special Wouden’s Bruins were. Yes, the game may be a bit more competitive today, but 10 titles in 12 years is no small feat regardless of competition. It’s just hard to shy away from the seven straight and 205-5 record. As of right now, UCLA still has to get the nod, but they better hold on tight because UCONN is coming up on them fast.

What do you think? Who was more dominant? If you think UCLA, how many more titles does UCONN have to win in how many more years to pass them? Comment and let us know! Stay tuned for more current sports stories. Don't forget to follow us on social media. You can find us on Facebook, Instagram @beyondthemetrics, and Twitter @byondthemetrics

KD's Return Proves Why He Left

Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Kevin Durant made his long-awaited return to Oklahoma City last night and as expected he was showered with boos and cupcake chants. Durant got the last laugh as he and the Warriors came away with a 130-114 win to improve to 3-0 on the season against Russell Westbrook and the Thunder. Russell was sensational as usual, but his performance may have proven to be exactly why KD bolted to join the splash brothers in Golden State.

In the game last night, Durant was his usual hyper efficient self, pouring in 34 points on 21 shots, and he chipped in with 9 rebounds and 3 assists. Westbrook has his typical eye popping stat line, with 47 points, 11 rebounds, and 8 assists, to go along with 11 turnovers. It is precisely these types of games that makes Russell so great yet so frustrating to players like Durant.

It is no secret that Durant had long dreamed of playing on a team with a ton of ball movement that leads to high percentage shots, and over the years grew frustrated with the Thunder’s isolation style of offense. This is what made him such a seamless fit on a team full of superstars in Golden State. Russell is a one man wrecking ball that will always put up huge numbers, but may hinder team success through over aggression at times.

Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

In Golden State, the team truly doesn’t care who is taking the shots, so long as they are getting good shots as a team. This was never more evident than the other night when Draymond Green registered a triple double with only scoring 4 points. Night in and night out, Golden State racks up huge assist numbers, feeding the hot hand regardless of who that may be, such as when Klay Thompson put up 60 points in just 3 quarters with only 11 dribbles in the game. That would be impossible without exceptional ball movement to get Klay the open shots.

Golden State is leading the league in assists this season, averaging 31.1 per game, while the next closest team is Houston at 25.5 per game. Oklahoma City, even with Westbrook averaging over 10 assists per game himself, rank tied for 22nd in the league at 21.1 per game. To go along with Westbrook’s 10.2 assists per game, he is also averaging a mind boggling 5.5 turnovers per game.

This is not to say a team can’t win with Westbrook at the helm, it just makes it imperative that he has a big game. Take for example all the triple doubles Westbrook has put up this year: in his 26 triple doubles, the team is 20-6, and in all other games the team is 11-18. This is partially because Westbrook doesn’t have the quality of teammates Durant has in Golden State, and partially because his other teammates just don’t have a chance to produce with how much he dominates the ball. In Golden State, the ball moves to find the hot hand, and the team very well may win even if Durant or Curry is mostly silent. Even with Durant in OKC, team success was largely reliant on Westbrook being effective.

Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

As it turned out, there was just too many nights where Russ may have put up monster numbers, but may have also hindered team success with something like 11 turnovers. With KD moving to Golden State, he got the ball movement and unselfish offense he always dreamed of, and the team is almost unstoppable because of the unselfishness. Meanwhile in OKC, Westbrook is putting up historic numbers but is stuck in the middle of the pack, and are primed for an early postseason exit. 

KD may have made the choice to play better team basketball and elevate his chances at winning a championship, but did he make the right decision? Could he have won it all with Westbrook? How should he have been received in OKC last night for his return? Comment and let us know! Stay tuned for more current sports stories. Don't forget to follow us on social media. You can find us on Facebook, Instagram @beyondthemetrics, and Twitter @byondthemetrics

NFL 2016 Year in Review

Dan Powers-USA TODAY Sports

What a year it was in 2016 in the NFL. There was no shortage of controversies, high profile stories, records broken, or surprises. With that said, let’s recap all the biggest stories from the NFL this past season.

Deflategate: The season started and ended being all about deflategate. Tom Brady finally had to serve a 4-game suspension for his role in deflategate, and all the Patriots did was start 3-1 with two different quarterbacks and make us question just how important Brady is to this team. That was before Brady came back with a vengeance leading the Patriots to an 11-1 record going into the playoffs before completing the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history en-route to number five. It’s finally settled- deflated balls or not, Tom Brady is the greatest of all time.

Romo Injured Again: Tony Romo once proved to be the most fragile quarterback in the league and went down with a preseason injury, instantly changing the Cowboys from contender to bottom feeder. What happened next was the most surprising part, with 4th round rookie Dak Prescott taking the reins and leading the Cowboys to the #1 seed in the NFC. Still, all season long the question was whether or not Romo should start when he is healthy. This is settled as well, it’s Dak’s team from now on, and Romo will either be the most expensive backup in the league, or out of town next year. The future is bright in Dallas behind the duo of Dak and Zeke Elliott.

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Thursday Night Football Debate: It is obvious watching Thursday Night Football games that the teams simply can’t perform to the same level they do on Sunday’s. They don’t have the same time to recover or heal, and it leads to mostly boring games. Will there be an attempt at fixing Thursday night games next season through a change in scheduling? Richard Sherman called Thursday nights a poopfest at one point this season, and the worst part is, he may have had a point.

Rams move to LA: The Rams were generating all kinds of buzz this offseason. They were a young team with some promising talent and were thought to possibly just be a quarterback away from competing for a wild card berth. They made the splash move to trade up to #1 in the draft for Jared Goff to get the fan base excited while moving to LA. What a flop. The Rams stunk, Goff didn’t even start until late in the year when they were already out of it, and he stunk. Star running back Todd Gurley stunk. Jeff Fisher got fired. Now the question is if the new coaching staff can turn this team around. They still have some talent on both sides of the ball. Bringing in Wade Phillips to coach the defense may be the best under the radar move in the entire NFL so far this offseason. Look for at least a little bit of a rebound in 2017. Maybe 7-9 next year?

Collapse of Contenders: Going into the season, who were some of the playoff favorites in each conference? Carolina and Arizona were a shoo in right? Minnesota and Washington were up and coming in the NFC. Denver surely would be making noise in the playoffs in the AFC. What happened? Was it a Super Bowl hangover for Carolina or did they just stink? Did Arizona just get too old? Denver wasn’t able to find an answer at quarterback. Minnesota was derailed by injuries (more on that next). Washington took a step backwards this season. When it was all said and done, many of the expected favorites didn’t perform, and some surprise teams surfaced.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Another 5-0 Collapse: The Minnesota Vikings season was ruined before it even started with Teddy Bridgewater going down less than 2 weeks before the season started. It forced a desperate trade for Sam Bradford who became the starter by week two. Then Adrian Peterson went down week two, and the Vikings didn’t stand a chance. All they did was roar to a 5-0 start and were one of the top favorites to compete for the Super Bowl heading into their bye week. Then they fell flat on their face coming out of the bye week, finishing 8-8, and missing the playoffs. The injuries continued to pile up and they just couldn’t sustain the success. Reports have Bridgewater missing all of 2017 as well now, so at least they have Bradford under contract for another year. They boast one of the best defenses in the league with a few solid pieces on offense. If they can stay healthy, they should bounce back in 2017, but the offensive line is still a major question mark.

Run the Table: What is it with Aaron Rodgers and his little comments made to the media jump starting historic runs for Green Bay? R-E-L-A-X, we could run the table, if Rodgers says it, Green Bay does it. This year they stumble to a 4-6 start and the story is that Green Bay stinks and won’t make the playoffs. Then Rodgers says they can run the table, and they win the next 6 games to win the division plus their first two playoff games to get to the NFC championship. Quietly, while Green Bay ran the table after the famous prediction, Pittsburgh also ran the table in the same fashion in the AFC after starting 4-5 before getting knocked off in the AFC championship.

Rebirth of the Raiders: The Raiders finished the 2015 season with a lot of promise, a lot of young talent, and a lot of cap space. They hit on some big free agents, but what they accomplished in 2016 was still surprising. Derek Carr became a legitimate MVP candidate, and through 15 games they were 12-3 and in position for a 1st round playoff bye before Carr broke his leg and the season was lost. It was probably a year early to seriously compete with the Patriots, but this team could have made some noise in January had Carr not gotten hurt. Watch out for Oakland (Or will it be Las Vegas) in 2017, because this team is really, really good.

Chip Kelly One and Done: It seemed like a little bit of an odd match with Chip Kelly in San Francisco, but if anyone could help revive Colin Kaepernick’s career, it would be Chip. Well, that project fell flat and Chip was fired after a pathetic 2-14 season where the only team they beat was the Rams twice. It may have been Chip’s last chance as a head coach in the NFL. Enter Kyle Shanahan from the Falcons, and let’s be honest, he has his work cut out for him. San Fran just flat out stinks right now, and he doesn’t have much to work with to start. If Kyle can turn this thing around, there will be no questioning his coaching ability.

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

National Anthem Protests: Speaking of Colin Kaepernick, he became infamous this season for his kneeling protests during the national anthem in order to protest inequality. He was joined by several other players throughout the league, and there was not a more controversial topic to debate in the league this season. We’re not going to take a side here and open a can of worms. Everybody has their opinion on whether they agree or disagree with Kaepernick, and they are entitled to that opinion. We won’t tell anyone they are right or wrong for their beliefs.

Super Bowl LI: Once again the Pats came out on top in the Super Bowl, and it was a historic game to say the least. Not only did the Patriots come roaring back from down 25 to win, they won in overtime, which marks the first time a Super Bowl has ever gone to overtime. Brady was magnificent en-route to his 5th title, and him and Belicheck are without a doubt the best coach and quarterback of all time after this win. Atlanta is young and supremely talented, and they should be here to stay for a few years. The key now is to avoid the Super Bowl hangover.

That’s a wrap for the 2016 season. What did you think of the season as a whole? Did we miss anything? Comment and let us know! Stay tuned for more current sports stories. Don't forget to follow us on social media. You can find us on Facebook, Instagram @beyondthemetrics, and Twitter @byondthemetrics

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