WATFO: UCONN WOMEN’s WIN STREAK

I’d have to say that this UConn women’s basketball winning streak is one of the most blown out of proportion things in the world.

First, there is no doubt, UConn is very good.

Over the 87-game streak the Huskies have won their games by an AVERAGE margin of 33.3 points. That’s a lot. Based on looking at KenPom’s predictions for Men’s college basketball, that puts them around 99.5 percent of winning each game.

To be that good over a three year stretch is a big accomplishment.

However, when you are that good, winning a lot of games is what you’re supposed to do. Here’s a breakdown of the Huskies win distribution over 88 games given a 99.5% chance to win each one:

There is about a 65% chance that a team of UConn’s caliber would win 88-straight.

To compare that to the completely different men’s side of college basketball, let’s take this year’s Duke team. Here are the point spreads and winning percentages for Duke so far based on Vegas lines:

Date

Opponent

Line

Implied odds

Dec. 11

St. Louis

-24

98.06%

Dec. 8

Bradley

-29

98.77%

Dec. 4

Butler

-14

91.44%

Dec. 1

Michigan St.

-10

81.68%

Nov. 27

Oregon

-19

95.12%

Nov. 23

Kansas St.

-6

68.36%

Nov. 22

Marquette

-12

85.10%

Nov. 19

Colgate

NL

99.99%

Nov. 16

Miami (OH)

-28

98.69%

Nov. 14

Princeton

-24

96.83%

That’s an average of 91.08% to win each game.

I set up a quick sim using the above game percentages and here is the win distribution for Duke so far:

At slightly around 38% over 50,000 simulations of going 10-0, Duke’s start to the season is actually more improbable than a dominant UConn team winning 88 in a row.

Obviously, women’s and men’s basketball are completely different games. And, you definitely have to give UConn credit for building a dominant team year after year. However, once the dominant team was together, the actual achievement of winning 88 games in a row wasn’t all that improbable.

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