UConn women’s basketball’s rivalry with Notre Dame may be over, but there’s still plenty of bad blood between Geno Auriemma and former Fighting Irish coach Muffet McGraw.
In late December, McGraw appeared on the “Off the Looking Glass Podcast” with Kate Fagan and Jessica Smetana, where the former coach stated that the Huskies had a “outsized influence” on women’s college basketball.
“UConn has done great things, and they’ve won way more than anybody else, except Tennessee. What they’ve done has been amazing,” McGraw said. “I think people measure their team by them. When we joined the Big East, we were like, ‘We want to get to where they are. That’s what we want to be. We’re trying to emulate them.’ But I think it goes over the top with ESPN. That is Connecticut’s network. Notre Dame has NBC. Connecticut has ESPN. That is absolutely complete bias there.”
“Notre Dame has NBC, Connecticut has ESPN, and that is absolutely complete bias there.” - @MuffetMcGraw weighs in on @katefagan3 & @jessica_smetana’s UConn theory on this week’s episode of #OTLG— Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz (@LeBatardShow) December 22, 2021
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During a radio appearance on 97.9 ESPN on Monday night, Auriemma fired a volley back at McGraw.
“I guess Muffet is bored. I guess she didn’t have a whole lot to talk about and usually when she was coaching, when she did talk, nobody listened anyway,” he said.
“I don’t think the bias has anything to do with where ESPN is located (in Bristol, Connecticut) or where UConn is located,” the coach added later. “I think the bias has something to do — if there is any — with the 11 national championships, which is a lot more than two (which is how many Notre Dame has). I remember that on Sesame Street. 11 is a lot more than two.”
Although ESPN owned the broadcast rights to the old Big East and AAC for years which resulted in plenty of UConn’ games being shown on the network over the years, Fox Sports currently owns those rights. If Fox Sports declines any of the Huskies’ contests, they typically go to SNY, who is set to broadcast 18 games this season.
ESPN only airs the Huskies are when they play on the road against the ACC and SEC or during special events, like the Basketball Hall of Fame Women’s Showcase vs. Louisville or the NCAA Tournament.
Meanwhile, NBC has broadcast every home game for Notre Dame football dating back to 1991.
“Notre Dame has their own network, our network is SNY,” Auriemma said. “So I don’t know why anybody would think that ESPN is our network. SNY is the network that broadcasts [most of] our games.”
“If people didn’t want to watch us on television, I’m sure they wouldn’t put us on,” he continued. “If we didn’t generate the ratings, I’m sure people wouldn’t have us on. So the combination of the fact that we win a lot — I do want to thank the people at ESPN for helping us win those 111 in a row. I mean, if it wasn’t for them, there’s no way that we could have done it. So hopefully there’s some people over there that can take some credit for that. I don’t know what we would have done without them.”
The coach didn’t stop there, though. Auriemma also took umbrage to McGraw’s statement that UConn had won more than everyone else but Tennessee. The coach called scoreboard — again.
“She did say we won more than anybody except Tennessee. Which, again, I think she missed Sesame Street growing up. 11 is more than eight,” he said, referencing the national championship totals of UConn and Tennessee, respectively.