A double-double for UConn?
Phase 1 of the plan starts with tonight's tipoff at 9:10, ET in Arlington, Texas. That's when Connecticut will officially start looking to do what only Connecticut has done before -- win the men’s and women’s NCAA basketball tournaments in the same season. The cast of characters for 2014 – Kevin Ollie, Shabazz Napier, Breanna Stewart, Stefanie Dolson – are at the top of our minds and on the tips of our tongues, so let’s rewind to 2004, when UConn pulled off the only basketball double in NCAA history.
The Connecticut men, led by coach Jim Calhoun, Emeka Okafor and Ben Gordon in 2004, were the preseason No. 1 and entered the tournament as a No. 2 seed. The Huskies rolled into the Final Four in San Antonio with a pair of 17-point wins, a 16-point win and a 20-point win. In the semifinals, Connecticut (33-6) beat Duke 79-78 before topping Georgia Tech 82-73 in the final to win the second national championship in program history.
The Connecticut women, led by coach Geno Auriemma, Diana Taurasi and Jessica Moore, entered the 2004 NCAA tournament as a No. 2 seed after losing to Boston College in the Big East tournament. After a test from UC Santa Barbara in the Sweet 16, Connecticut (31-4) rolled by Minnesota 67-58 in the national semifinals and Tennessee 70-61 in the final in New Orleans to win its third straight national championship. "Right now I don't think there is one single person in Connecticut that isn't unbelievably proud of our two basketball programs," Auriemma said at the time.
Tonight, the Connecticut men (31-8) go for their fourth national championship against Kentucky; on Tuesday the women (39-0) go for their record ninth national title against undefeated Notre Dame.