After 65 wins, the question started off as a hypothetical one. Could they do it?
After 70 wins the question was a C&C Music Factory, "hmmmm." Could they do it?
On March 9th, after winning a record 71 games in a row, basketball fans wanted an answer.
Now that the University of Connecticut women's basketball team has added more national championship hardware to its trophy case—its seventh in school history—and won 78 games in a row, fans are demanding to know if this group of athletes could compete, and even beat, a division one men's basketball team.
Yes, Whatifsports.com can accommodate that request.
For the first time, we have added a women's team to our college basketball simulation engine . We've compiled all the statistics that comprise the Lady Huskies 2009-10 unblemished season. Whatifsports.com has also taken into account, during these simulations, the physical make-up of the women; being that on average they are smaller than the men they will be facing.
Oh My, Maya!
|Maya Moore 2009-10 Stats|
The purpose of this article is to not only give Joe/Joan Basketballfan the answer he/she has been craving over the last few months, but to also spark discussion and debate as to "what if" these games really did come to fruition. Could the Uconn women hang with the big boys on the court?
It's not uncommon for coaching staffs to ship in all-male practice squads to toughen up their women for the games that really count. Whatifsports.com is just taking that practice to the next level.
The hypothetical man versus woman matchup is nothing new in sports. Billie Jean King proved her critics wrong when she upset Bobby Riggs in tennis. With that said, it's absurd to start the UConn discussion with if they could beat a nationally ranked high school team, division three or two team. If they are as good as advertised, Geno Auriemma's squad should at least be able to hang with a division one men's basketball team.
The Toledo Rockets out of the Mid-American Conference had a season to forget in 2009-10. The men could only eek out four wins the entire season as they counted on a roster consisting of mainly freshman. The Rockets averaged 55.2 points per game while surrendering over 66.
This is where our hypothetical "Battle of the Sexes" hits the courts for the first time. Using our college basketball simulation engine , we had the UConn women play the UT men 1,001 times. The computers generated a winning percentage and points per game average for both teams.
Toledo Men vs UConn Women - 1001 Simulations
|@ Connecticut Huskies||28.9||53.6|
The Toledo Rockets can hold their heads up high knowing their winning percentage in these 1,001 simulations was five times better than their efforts during the 2009-10 regular season. The Lady Huskies, on the other hand, may want to start thinking about an exhibition game for charity against an all-male college basketball team. UConn shocked the computers when they managed to win nearly 29 percent of the games against the Rockets.
Had Maya Moore not had an off night from the floor (1-11), available by clicking the example box score link in the table above, the Huskies might have added another win to their total. As a team, UConn shot under 30 percent from the floor and under 25 percent from beyond the arc, but they did convert some free throws and created more turnovers than the Rockets.
To appeal to the cynics who think this example is complete hogwash, we simulated the Lady Huskies against the National Champion Duke Blue Devils.
Coach K's team won 100-percent of the time.
Then against the National Runners-up Butler, the Bulldogs won 98 percent of the time.
Granted, some would think UConn's two percent chance of winning is far-fetched, but I think most would agree that so were Butler's chances of reaching Indianapolis.