This has happened before. Lots of times. UConn goes through chunks of its schedule not playing anyone of note, and so the results of the Huskies’ games just kind of blend in with all the other blowout results across the country.
Then the Huskies play a team that really is supposed to test them … but it doesn’t happen. They pound them, too. It happened that way last season when both UConn and North Carolina entered a game in Chapel Hill, N.C., unbeaten … and then the Huskies won by 30.
It’s not really that anyone forgets that UConn is so talented. It’s just that unless you are a big fan of the program, you probably don’t make it a point to watch a lot of the Huskies’ games that everyone knows will be utterly lacking in suspense.
Segments of Huskies Nation wants to dissect every possession of every game and try to find things for their team to supposedly worry about. But not even all the UConn faithful can keep their attention fixed on games where there’s a greater chance of Harry Houdini raising himself from the dead at center court than of the Huskies’ opponent winning.
As a result, how powerful the Huskies are can be obscured just because they so rarely play teams that bring out the best in them. And even when they are are at their best against a vastly overmatched foe, it’s not appreciated the same way.
Sometimes when UConn turns it on against a team we all know really is also talented, as was the case in the second half of Wednesday’s 80-68 (not that close) victory over Stanford, I remember the feeling a couple of decades ago of watching a really, really good girls’ high school team beat a team I thought was really good.
There was a realization in me, as that long-ago game went on, that the players on the superior team really could do pretty much whatever they wanted. Afterward, I found myself thinking, “So I was wrong all this time about what ‘good’ actually is?”
I didn’t think exactly the same thing Wednesday, because the situation (Stanford playing its third top-10 opponent in eight days) and the location (Hartford) had something to do with why the teams looked so far apart in the second half.
But the Huskies still showed that, just like last season, when it comes to figuring out what’s “really” good, look at them first as the standard.
That said, for anyone wondering whether their dominance and win streak dating back to the start of last season is too demoralizing for other teams, I’d say it shouldn’t be. At least not for teams, like Stanford, who do have their own collection of talent.
If anything, the Huskies’ winning streak should inspire, not intimidate, the foes who at least have a chance to compete with them. The message those opponents should get is, “If the Huskies can play that hard and efficiently, why can’t we?”