It’s still early, but 2019 has not gotten off to a great start for UConn athletics. The first action of the year came from men’s basketball, who put together arguably one of worst performances of the past few years by blowing a 13-point lead before falling to USF 76-68 on the road on Jan. 2. Almost exactly 24 hours later, the UConn women’s basketball team suffered their first regular season loss in 126 games with a 68-57 loss to Baylor.
So far, the only bright spot from 2019 from UConn is the football team hiring a defensive backs coach. Not great!
Having the men’s and women’s teams lose games on back-to-back days definitely isn’t the worst thing the world. For programs not named UConn, this is a normal thing that happens routinely. But when the men’s team plays so terribly (under a much-hyped new head coach) and the women’s team loses for the first time in the regular season in five calendar years, things are a little different. This was a lot worse than a lot losses that come to mind right off the bat.
So, I posed the question on Twitter:
Is this the worst 24 hour span in the history of UConn athletics?— Dan Madigan (@dmad1433) January 4, 2019
Thanks to some loyal friends of The UConn Blog, we have some legitimate challengers to the throne of worst 24-hour span for UConn athletics. Let’s see who comes out on top!
From @UConnPuneet: March 25-26, 1994
Men’s basketball loses in Sweet Sixteen in overtime to Florida, 69-60
Women’s basketball loses in Elite Eight to North Carolina, 81-69
Overtime NCAA tournament losses are brutal, especially at that time in the men’s program, where the Huskies were close to making their third-ever Elite Eight. On the women’s side, this season marked the first deep tournament run for the Huskies led by Rebecca Lobo. UConn cruised to the Elite Eight before running into Marion Jones and the Tar Heels, who would go on to win the NCAA title. The Huskies were legitimate championship contenders that year. This one is definitely a frontrunner.
From @NoEscalators: Feb. 18, 2012
Men’s basketball loses to Marquette, 79-65
Women’s basketball loses to St. Johns, 56-55
BONUS: Men’s hockey loses to Bentley, 6-1
The men’s basketball loss here isn’t anything crazy — Jae Crowder and the Golden Eagles pounded the Huskies at the XL Center. The women’s loss, though, is arguably the most inexplicable loss in program history. The Huskies couldn’t beat an unranked St. John’s team at Gampel on senior night, snapping UConn’s 99-game home winning streak and marking the program’s first home loss to an unranked opponent in 19 years. #IceBus wasn’t a thing in 2012, but losing to Bentley is never a good look for a major Division I school.
From 2019: Jan. 2-3, 2019
Men’s basketball loses to USF, 76-68.
Women’s basketball loses to No. 8 Baylor, 68-57.
The men’s loss to USF marked the first time the Bulls have beaten the Huskies as members of the American. Not to mention, for the second game in a row, this UConn team completely crumbled in the second half and showcased some truly poor effort, all while blowing a 13-point lead. The loss itself isn’t the worst thing in the world, but the way that it happened made this loss sting a little bit more.
As for the women, they never really were in control against Baylor, who led basically wire-to-wire and cruised to an 11-point win on the road. The Lady Bears’ win marked the first double-digit loss for the Huskies since Feb. 27, 2012 and the first loss in regulation in 209 games. For a program that loses so infrequently, seeing such a decisive loss was an even rarer occurrence and frankly hard to fathom.
The Honorable Mentions
From @HurleyMania: March 26-28, 2006
Men’s basketball loses in Elite 8 to George Mason, 86-84
Women’s basketball loses in Elite 8 to Duke in OT in Bridgeport, 63-61
This isn’t a 24-hour span so it’s out of the running here, but this definitely sucks a lot. We don’t need to rehash the George Mason loss, but there’s a real argument that 2005-06 team is one of the three or four best squads in program history. For a school with four rings, that’s saying something.
For the women’s loss, losing to Duke is always a downer. Bonus points here for the women losing in Bridgeport. Bridgeport is awful. In the grand scheme of things, this is probably the winner, but at least it wasn’t in the span of a day.
From @TimFontenault: Dec. 1-4 2012
Dec. 1 - Football loses to Cincinnati, 34-17
Dec. 1 - Men’s hockey loses to Canisius, 3-1
Dec. 2 - Men’s soccer loses to Creighton 1-0 in NCAA quarterfinals
Dec. 4 - Men’s basketball loses to NC State at Madison Square Garden, 69-65
This is a quality candidate, but not a 24-hour window. The real bummers here are football (believe it or not), who needed to beat the Bearcats to be eligible for a bowl game, and men’s soccer, who surrendered a goal with 90 seconds left to lose in the NCAA quarterfinals. At least they didn’t lose on penalty kicks!
From @BackInStorrs: Dec. 27 2010 - Jan. 1 2011
Dec. 27 - Men’s basketball loses Big East opener to Pittsburgh, 78-63
Dec. 30 - Women’s basketball loses on the road to Stanford 71-59, snapping 90-game win streak
Jan. 1 - Football blown out by Oklahoma at the Fiesta Bowl, 48-20
In my opinion, this is the least awful out of all the submissions we received. The men’s basketball loss is hard to really be bummed about in hindsight, as Kemba Walker would go on to lead this squad to a national title. The women’s loss to rival Stanford is the biggest downer here, snapping an incredible 90-game win streak that would go on to be the second longest in program history. As for football, I’m not entirely sure anyone was surprised with the end result. Wouldn’t we all kill to get blown out in a major bowl game now?
Which span do you think was the worst for UConn fans? Let us know in the comments! If there are any we missed, tweet at us or post down below.