I have never previewed a women’s NCAA basketball game before. Then again, there’s never quite been a team like the top-ranked UConn Huskies as they go for an incredible 100th straight win Monday night when they host No. 6 South Carolina.
No team in major American sports history has won 100 games in a row as the Connecticut Huskies women are attempting Monday against No. 6 South Carolina (game is on ESPN2). The record for the college men is 88 consecutive wins by John Wooden's UCLA Bruins. They started that streak with a 74-61 victory vs. UC Santa Barbara on Jan. 30, 1971, and it ended on Jan. 19, 1974 in a 71-70 loss at No. 2 Notre Dame in one of the most memorable college basketball games ever. UCLA's previous loss had been on Jan. 23, 1971, to those same Irish in South Bend. No men's team has come remotely close to approaching that mark, and it's never going to be broken on the highest level of college basketball. Only UNLV's streak of 45 in a row from 1989-91 is slightly more than halfway to the record.
Coach Geno Auriemma's Huskies last lost, perhaps ironically, against the nation's No. 6 team, at Stanford, on Monday, Nov. 17, 2014, 88-86 in overtime. The streak then began with a 96-60 home rout of Creighton on Nov. 23, 2014. UConn hit No. 99 on Saturday with an 83-41 destruction of SMU. It was the Huskies' 97th double-digit win in the streak, which is just remarkable. The biggest win was by 65 against No. 20 South Florida on Jan. 10, 102-37. Beating a ranked team by 65! It was Connecticut's 56th victory in the streak by at least 40 points.
On 5Dimes NCAA basketball odds, UConn is -530 to win yet another national title and the field is +350. That's amazing.
South Carolina is 21-2 on the season, losing 74-63 at unranked Duke on Dec. 4 and 76-74 at home to unranked Tennessee on Jan. 30. The Gamecocks are 6-0 against ranked teams, though. Monday night marks the third year in a row the Gamecocks have faced UConn. USC lost 87-62 in Storrs on Feb. 9, 2015, when the Gamecocks were No. 1 and the Huskies No. 2. Last season at home, South Carolina lost 66-54 to the top-ranked Huskies. That was victory No. 60 in the winning streak.
UConn allows 54.3 points per game to rank 11th in the nation, and the Gamecocks' 55.8 points allowed ranks 14th. The Huskies shoot an NCAA-best 52.3 percent from the field with South Carolina coming in 14th at 46.6 percent. USC has won its past seven road games vs. ranked teams.
Not many sportsbooks have women's lines available but 5Dimes is one of them and the Huskies opened as 14.5-point favorites in NCAA betting.