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What The NCAA’s Longest Win Streak Looks Like

The No. 1-ranked Connecticut Huskies beat the 6th-ranked South Carolina Gamecocks 66-55 on Monday night for their NCAA-record 100th consecutive win. They last lost on Nov. 17, 2014, when they fell to the No. 6 Stanford Cardinal, 88-86 in overtime. That loss snapped a 47-game winning streak itself, meaning that, between March 13, 2013, and today, the Huskies have won four NCAA Championships and lost one game.

Yes, once more for emphasis: Between March 13, 2013, and today, the Huskies have four times as many national championships as they have losses.

This is Connecticut’s third record-breaking streak this millennium. First, between 2001 and 2003, they won 70 games in a row – the longest winning streak in NCAA women’s basketball history, and in 2008-10, they won 90 games to break UCLA’s 88-game record set in 1970-74. Here’s what being the mother of all powerhouses looks like:

morris-uconn-chart1

Though they’ve managed to keep the streak that was built on the back of Breanna Stewart’s remarkable career going, the Huskies haven’t dominated as much as they’re used to. This is unsurprising, considering they lost Stewart and their two other best players to the WNBA draft after last season (those players went 1st, 2nd and 3rd overall). Indeed, they’re probably having one of their worst statistical seasons in several years. Unfortunately for the rest of basketball, the Huskies’ off years are the stuff most schools’ dreams are made of:

morris-uconn-chart2

The streak is likely to survive into the NCAA tournament. The Huskies have one game scheduled against a ranked opponent: Feb. 27 against 22nd-ranked University of South Florida Bulls – whom the Huskies beat in January 102-37 (no joke). But once they get to the tournament, they have a better chance than most years of losing, particularly to the Maryland Terrapins, whom they only beat by 6 points in December, or the Baylor Lady Bears, who despite also losing to the Huskies in November have been putting up Huskies numbers themselves this season.

Leading by only 2 points with under 6 minutes left in the third quarter against the Gamecocks, the Huskies looked beatable — yet they won again. Such has been the story of the season so far. We’ll see if they can keep it up through March Madness.

Benjamin Morris researches and writes about sports and other topics for FiveThirtyEight.

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