The UConn women basketball team is all the rage after surpassing what was thought to be one of the most remarkable and unbreakable sporting achievements in modern sports. The long standing winning streak of 88 straight victories posted by the legendary John Wooden’s UCLA Bruins.
The Huskies easily tied the mark and with the nation watching, took down the record to become the most dominating college basketball team ever.
Coach Geno Auriemma received a congratulatory call from the President of the United States, putting another notch in their achievement, while they continue to dismantle the opposition.
What would be the best thing for the team?
An invite to play in the NIT tournament. Here’s why
It’s clear that they are head and shoulders above the rest of the schools.
Related article: Top 5 All-Time Women’s College Basketball Teams
The lower echelon of men’s college basketball teams who didn’t make the NCAA tournament presents their next best true challenge.
Increase the profile of the woman athlete
Women athletes have come a long way from the days of being banned from running a marathon, to having high profile stars that are matched in some instances only by the top male athletes. UConn in the NIT would further elevate the status of the woman athlete and not through a gimmick, but by their results on the court.
Legitimize their achievement
Some say it’s apples and oranges, the UConn team couldn’t (to borrow a phrase from Larry Holmes) carry the jockstrap of the UCLA team, perhaps that’s true, and they wouldn’t want to, but probably could shoot just as well as some of the NIT teams. This would be the best way to bridge the gender gap and give them their true credit.
A boost in NIT popularity
The NIT is the cousin of the red headed stepchild; often teams reject their bids for they see it as an insult. If the UConn women were invited, the NIT’s popularity for the rounds that they play would rival the NCAA tournament, and if they win a few rounds, it would be the hardest ticket in town.
A win, win situation
They wouldn’t be expected to win a game, the invite and playing in the tournament would be historical moments in sports. The NIT, television rating, college basketball and sports would benefit whether they win or lose.
NBA Commissioner David Stern predicts that women will someday play in the NBA. This is not going to happen over night. The UConn women provide the perfect springboard to the day when a lady point guard leads an NBA team.
Women college basketball uses a smaller ball; many of the players can’t touch the net, but the UConn women are basically an all-star team, and not only deserve the bid, but would win a few rounds and surprise all the naysayers who question their ability.
The NIT, I dare you to make this happen.