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What Geno Needs

Geno Auriemma, now there's a piece of work. He's an amazing coach, no
question. He's done a brilliant job at UConn and is a lead pipe cinch for
the Hall of Fame. It's just really unfortunate that he has to be such a
wanker at times. Take the aftermath of UConn's massive choke in the Duke
game. Geno's response?

."You know, Duke's the most talented team in the country and we kicked
their [butt] for 30 minutes. So we showed everyone in the country we're
good enough to do that. And then we showed them that in the last 10 minutes,
we're also capable of playing as badly as anybody can play."

Well, sort of, anyway. A more honest quote would have been this:

"You know, Duke's the most talented team in the country, and we kicked
their ass for 30 minutes. So we showed everyone in the country that we're
good enough to do that. Unfortunately, games last 40 minutes not 30, and
and in the last 10 minutes, Duke showed why they're also a really good team and
picked us apart. Pretty clearly, they exposed some significant weaknesses,
and we had better address them, because everyone else is going to try to do the
same thing to us now."

But that's not really Auriemma's style. He is a yapper, an irritant,
and in fairness, he has produced some real pearls. But he's giving Duke
fans a much clearer insight into why people can't stand Steve Spurrier, who rubs
an awful lot of people the wrong way. On the other hand, though, Spurrier
usually shuts up when he loses. Auriemma just keeps talking.

Right now, oddsmakers would probably bet on a rematch, so Auriemma may get
his chance for revenge. But the other thing worth noting is this: in
two games, almost exactly the same thing has happened, UConn has dominated the
first half and lost ground in the second. What happens if Duke doesn't let
that happen in the rubber match?

One thing you can probably count on is that Auriemma will react in a similar
way. It's really too bad, because he's such a great coach. His
pettiness is really unfortunate.

It trickles down to his team, too. Diana Taurasi said "We pretty
much dominated the game and then, in the last 5 minutes, just threw it
away. It just sucks that it had to work out that way — to play a really
good game and then just give it to them, that’s all it was. We gave it

She was right the first time - they threw it away. Over and over they threw
it away, because they couldn't handle pressure defense. Another way of
saying this is that Duke found a major weakness and took control of the
game. We don't really expect her to say that, because not many people at
UConn manage to deal with this sort of situation well, largely because Auriemma
encourages an atmosphere which is not particularly conducive to good
sportsmanship: basically, arrogance is cultivated. So after last year's
loss in Cameron, where if we remember correctly, Taurasi pretty much gloated,
well, they can say what they want to. The fact is, though, that Duke has
been nipping at their heels and it's clearly getting on their nerves. Now
Duke has learned they can beat UConn, too. It doesn't mean they'll do it
consistently or that Duke is destined to win the NCAA Tournament. But it's good
that they are annoyed, and fine with us if they think Duke had nothing to do
with the win, that UConn blew it and Duke is the equivalent of the guy who found
Bill Gates' lost wallet. Time for a Porsche! Thanks Bill!

In a strange way it reminds us of an old friend named Tom who told a bizarre
but amazing story about a guy who hit him while he was in line for something in
his high school auditorium. Our pal said something and the guy hit him
again. He said something else and the guy did it again. After a few
punches, the entire auditorium was coming down hard on the bully, who couldn't
let a challenge go without hitting Tom. Tom soon realized he had the guy
in a terrible situation and kept taunting him. He took his punches and
kept the guy, who desperately wanted this to stop, hitting him. The room
had become a mob and the mob was really sick of the bully. This happened
across a stage, and when they got to the other side of the stage, Tom said,
"I let him go."

You'd have to know Tom to know how hilarious this was, but it reminds us a
bit of UConn. Now there's someone else who can stand up to them. All
the verbal games Auriemma plays are basically useless now. What he needs
to learn - and we mean absolutely no disrespect - is how to lose.