Wednesday, December 22, 2010

89 Games

Congratulations to the UConn Huskies women's team on their 89th win, eclipsing the Wooden/Walton UCLA teams from the early 70s. I'll admit, I was rooting against them. Not, as Geno would suggest, because of some hatred for women's athletics but because as a Stanford fan the UConn Huskies are the Lakers/Yankees/Patriots of the sport.

Some people have made a big deal about comparing the records of UCLA and UConn and their 88 and 89 game win streaks respectively. UConn's streak is great, but it's true though Women's basketball has less competitive balance right now than Men's basketball. How does it compare to the UCLA teams, and even streaks in other sports? I can answer that.

I'm going back the the Random Chance in Sports stuff here, and examining how often the better team wins in women's basketball. The chances then of the best team winning 89 straight are .844^89. In men's basketball (by the same method) the best team wins 80.8% of the time, and in the early 70s they won 80.1% of the time (those numbers are close enough to be the same thanks to errors). To have the same unlikelyhood as UCLA's streak, the UConn women would have to win 115 straight games. Here's a look at how other sports compare (UConn column is what it would take to match the Huskies, UCLA is to match the Bruins):

Uconn UCLA Longest
WCBB 89 115 89
MCBB 71 92 88
CFB 90 116 47
NBA 56 72 33
NFL 65 84 21
MLB 29 38 21
NHL 29 38 17

So the Huskies haven't yet matched what the UCLA men did, but their streak is far better than any other sports win streak. Maya Moore and company have played some incredible basketball, but Wooden's teams were amazing (7 straights NCAA championships!!). Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go make myself lunch in the kitchen.

1 comment:

  1. This is a really great post! They should feature this stuff on ESPN lol