Vol Villains Round One: Geno Auriemma vs. Kevin Stallings

If you look closely, it appears that Geno won a Wii for going 89-0. Congrats Geno!

Question of the day:  is a secondary villain in men's basketball worth more than the primary villain of the Lady Vols?  You decide.

Geno Auriemma

  • According to Wikipedia - where you know you're getting the best possible information - UConn didn't even have a women's team until 1985, and only got one because a group of students wanting to form a women's soccer team threatened to sue the university.  I make this point to emphasize that Auriemma believes women's basketball was invented in 1985, or eleven years after Pat Summitt took the helm in Knoxville.
  • Began an annual series with the Lady Vols in 1995, winning the first game 77-66 in Storrs, which was incredibly jarring at the time.  UConn went on to win the first three games in the series, including the '95 National Championship Game.
  • After the Lady Vols re-established dominance at the end of the 90s, UConn took momentum back in the last decade.  The teams split a home-and-home series in 2000 but the Huskies won the rubber match in the title game.
  • From 2002-2004, UConn went 6-0 against the Lady Vols including three wins in the Final Four.
  • UConn leads the overall series 13-9, though the Lady Vols won the last three in a row.
  • Pat Summitt discontinued the series in 2007.  The dominant opinion is that Summitt believes Auriemma used a shady assist from nearby ESPN in the recruitment of Maya Moore.  Auriemma's belief is that Summitt hates his guts.  Both are probably true.
  • Her refusal to play UConn opened the door for the Huskies to win 90 straight games without having to go through the Big Orange.  Auriemma commented at the end of the streak that his players came to UConn to face the best teams in the country, and they had done that.
  • I'm not sure anyone enjoys being a villain more than this guy.
  • He is the lone contender to Pat Summitt's throne.
  • Career record vs. Tennessee:  13-9, 5-2 in the NCAA Tournament, 4-0 in the title game.

Kevin Stallings

  • When Kevin O'Neill left Tennessee for Northwestern in 1997, the Vols offered the job to Stallings, who was at Illinois State.  Stallings turned us down, then beat Jerry Green's Vols in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in 1998, then took the Vanderbilt job in 1999, which is an impressive trifecta.
  • For his opening act in Nashville, he swept the season series against Jerry Green's best teams:  Vandy beat #12 Tennessee 76-73 in Knoxville behind a tremendous effort from Dan Langhi, then beat #5 Tennessee 85-72 in Nashville.
  • Won three straight over the Vols at the end of Buzz Peterson's tenure.
  • Not a fan of Bruce Pearl, whom he once called "An idiot (fulmerized)"
  • In January 2007, beat #16 Tennessee 82-81 on a tenth-of-a-second tip-in by Shan Foster, ending a nine game UT win streak.
  • 48 hours after the Vols beat Memphis to become the top team in the nation, Vandy beat them in Memorial by three points.
  • Swept UT's Elite Eight team in impressive fashion.
  • Routinely makes the SEC look bad in March by choking in the NCAA Tournament.
  • Career record vs. Tennessee:  11-14 (3-2 vs. Jerry Green, 4-4 vs. Buzz Peterson, 4-8 vs. Bruce Pearl).  Six of his eleven wins have come against UT teams ranked in the Top 15.
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