SCOOP: UConn and Tennessee have reportedly held preliminary talks that could see the two schools renew their rivalry in women’s basketball as early as the 2013-14 season.
SIGNIFICANCE: UConn-Tennessee was the marquee event in women’s basketball and was rivaled arguably by only Duke-North Carolina as the biggest rivalry in all of college basketball. The two schools have not met in women’s basketball since Jan. 6, 2007.
STORY: According to John Altavilla of the Hartford Courant, UConn and Tennessee want to get back to business together on the basketball court.
After what will soon be six seasons without facing each other, the women’s basketball teams could be set to meet once again on a yearly basis starting with the 2013-14 season.
Source indicates a “very preliminary” discussion has taken place with Tennessee about a new relationship, perhaps in 2013-14. #UConnwomen
— John Altavilla (@jaltavilla) December 29, 2012
Prior to the cancellation of the annual game between the two teams, UConn-Tennessee was the greatest rivalry in women’s basketball and among the greatest rivalry in sports in general.
The rivalry was astounding. The two teams played 22 times, seven times in tournament play, including four times for the national championship. Every time the two teams have met, they have each been ranked within the top 15 in the Associated Press rankings.
UConn leads the all-time series by a narrow margin of 13-9, winning all four fights for the championship.
Since the series ended, UConn has been the more successful team. The Huskies have made the Final Four each year since the rivalry ended, winning the national championship twice while setting the NCAA record for consecutive wins with 90. Without Tennessee, UConn has seen rivalries with Baylor, Notre Dame, Stanford, Louisville and Duke blossom while maintaining their place among the nation’s elite.
Tennessee won the championship in 2008, its second straight and eighth overall, but has not even reached the Final Four since. The Lady Vols have remained on the national stage, regularly in the Top 25 and competing for the SEC title, but Kentucky has overtaken them as the dominant force in the conference.