ESPN men's basketball analyst and former Duke player Jay Bilas is one of the best in the business. He's smart, insightful, funny and knows the game as well as anyone on the planet. So when he weighs in on the UConn women's team and coach Geno Auriemma it's worth your attention.
“With any coach, you look at their success within the sport they work, which presents its own particular universe to compare them," Bilas told the Hartford Courant's John Altavilla. "Geno has been as successful a coach in his game as there has ever been in any team sport.
“You look at the great winners of all-time in college sports, where do you look: Coach Wooden, Anson Dorrance (22 national championships in women’s soccer at North Carolina), Dan Gable (16 wrestling titles at Iowa). Geno is on the that list."
First of all, kudos to Bilas for not only going outside basketball but dropping a soccer and wrestling reference, both of which would be considered obscure by most fans.
“The reason the UConn program has been so sustainable is Geno," Bilas continued. "He started the program, built it up while Tennessee was still the nation’s dominate program. It makes no sense [for his critics] to think that he did this without any competition. And he has maintained it while the game has been growing. UConn women’s basketball did not begin to become prominent in the pre-Title IV era. It started during the largest growth spurt in the game’s history.
“To go head-to-head and to defeat one of the greatest program’s in this history of the sport [Tennessee] and not only match it, but eventually best it, is particularly impact-full.”
On Tuesday, the Blue Devils will get their chance to beat the nation's top team.