In all likelihood, Geno Auriemma and the UConn Huskies will be crowned as national champions for the fourth straight year Tuesday night. Odds are, no one in women's college basketball is going to beat the Huskies in 2016.
And it's not often a team's head coach is forced to defend his program for winning, but that's just what Auriemma was tasked with doing on the heels of the Huskies' fourth consecutive national title and ninth straight Final Four appearance.
As the Huskies aim to hold onto the women's throne against the #4 seeded Syracuse Orange in tonight's National Championship game, it's hard to ignore the question: Did South Carolina just ruin its best chance to compete for a Women's Basketball National Championship?
While the Sweet 16 loss to the surging Orange still stings for many who've followed Dawn Staley grow a southeastern powerhouse under the foundation of departing seniors Tiffany Mitchell, Sarah Imovbiah, Khadijah Sessions, Tina Roy and Asia Dozier, it begs the question.
They way things have fallen into place since the Gamecocks' loss, it appears a victory over the Orange would've been the toughest test in the way of a re-match with the Huskies. (The Gamecocks would've faced #7 seed Tennessee, a team they beat twice during the regular season, in the Elite 8 and #7 Washington Huskies in the Final Four).
Sure, Auriemma is 10-0 in national title games and his team is 115-1 the past three seasons, but all Mitchell and Co. ever wanted was a chance.
Sure, the future looks bright for Staley's program returning two All-Americans in 2017 with A'ja Wilson and Alaina Coates, but nothing would've tasted finer than a sip from the chalice that's been so tightly clung to the Huskies' claws.