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Practically Idealistic blog
The title for this blog originated with use of the term “practical idealist” in this 1996 opinion piece, which asked: “To what kind of work should a practical idealist aspire?” A century and a half earlier, Emerson, in his 1841 essay Circles, wrote: “There are degrees in idealism.  We learn first to play with it academically. . . .  Then we see in the heyday of youth and poetry that it may be true, that it is true in gleams and fragments.  Then, its countenance waxes stern and grand, and we see that it must be true.  It now shows itself ethical and practical.”  John Dewey and Mahatma Gandhi embraced practical idealism in the 20th century, as did UN Secretary General U Thant.  Al Gore invoked it in a 1998 speech. In the context of this blog, the term is meant to convey idealism tempered but not overwhelmed by realism: a search for the ideal on a path guided by common sense.
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Saturday, April 8, 2023

Reflecting on College and Community

The Yale Alumni Association invited responses to 12 questions and recently published my reflections.

4:56 pm edt 

Tuesday, April 4, 2023

UConn Wins Fifth Men's Basketball Title since 1999

In April 2011 and April 2014, this blog included observations on UConn's third and fourth men's basketball titles.

Last night, the Huskies earned their fifth title, all since 1999. (The UConn women have won 11 titles since 1995, though none since 2016; in both 2004 and 2014, the UConn men and women prevailed the same year, something no other school has achieved.)

With no NCAA tournament played in 2020 amid the pandemic, there have been 24 tournaments since 1999; if one goes back to 1998 to extend to the last 25 men's tournaments (and to add Kentucky's 1998 title), here are the schools that have won national championships during the last quarter century:

UConn 5 (1999, 2004, 2011, 2014, 2023)

Duke 3 (2001, 2010, 2015)

North Carolina 3 (2005, 2009, 2017)

Florida 2 (2006, 2007)

Kansas 2 (2008, 2022)

Kentucky 2 (1998, 2012)

Villanova 2 (2016, 2018)

Baylor 1 (2021)

Maryland 1 (2002)

Michigan State 1 (2000)

Syracuse 1 (2003)

Virginia 1 (2019)

(Louisville's 2013 title was vacated due to NCAA violations.) 

So, UConn during the past 25 years has won five times as many titles as all of the teams in the Big Ten and Pac 12 combined (Michigan State's 2000 title was the Big Ten's last win, while UCLA's 1995 win and Arizona's in 1997 occurred earlier.  Though now in the Big Ten, Maryland was in the ACC in 2002.)

In April 2014, I noted, "According to ESPN, even before UConn began play in 2014, 'among teams that have played at least three Final Four games, UConn [with a 6-1 record] has the all-time best winning percentage.'”

Then, following the two wins in the 2014 Final Four, the Huskies' record was 8-1 in final fours.

Now, having defeated Miami by 13 in the semi-final and San Diego State by 17 in last night's final, the UConn men are 10-1 in their six final fours (the only loss came in the 2009 semi-final vs. Michigan State in a game played in Detroit).

This year's six NCAA tournament wins all came by double figures. With the exception of the 13-point win over Miami, all of the wins were by 15 points or more.

Indeed, though UConn lost 7 regular season games in the Big East conference and one in its conference tournament, the Huskies were 17-0 overall in games outside that conference, winning every game by double figures.

So as the university's academic reputation continues rightly to grow, basketball excellence on the men's as well as women's side remains.  Go Huskies!

8:44 pm edt 

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