Since UConn captured both the men's and women's national titles this past April, President Obama didn't have to invite both champions to the White House separately this summer.
Instead he brought hosted both squads together Monday afternoon, a fact he made light of in his speech congratulating the two teams on their respective accomplishments.
"As President, one of my goals has been to eliminate waste and cut out duplicative programs to make things a little more efficient," Obama quipped. "This might be carrying things a little too far."
Only once prior to this spring has the same school captured the men's and women's basketball national championships, and that was also UConn back in 2004. The UConn women have won nine titles, the most of any program in the nation. The UConn men have captured four championships in the past 16 years, twice as many as any other program during that span.
"Makes me think, what’s up with you guys? Why aren’t you sharing?" Obama joked. "It is just a remarkable thing what these two programs have accomplished."
The two UConn teams won their championships in impressive but completely different fashion, the women completing an unbeaten 40-0 season and the men coming from off the radar to become the first No. 7 seed to cut down the nets.
The UConn women rolled to the national title game and clobbered fellow unbeaten Notre Dame, turning a highly anticipated matchup into a rout. The men barely escaped St. Joseph's in the round of 64, then upset second-seeded Villanova, third-seeded Iowa State, fourth-seeded Michigan State, top-seeded Florida and eighth-seeded Kentucky to win the most improbable of the program's national titles.
"I have to confess, I did not pick the men to win in my bracket," Obama said. "Of course, neither did anybody else unless you went to UConn. Look at these guys, they’re all raising their hand. Come on now, tell the truth."
When the UConn women visited the White House last offseason, Obama promised senior-to-be Stefanie Dolson he'd partake in a dance-off with her if the Huskies won another championship and ensured a return trip. Obama referenced that promise in his speech Monday night.
"Stefanie, I did not forget that you challenged me to a dance-off last year," Obama said. It is going to happen. It is going to happen. ... I also appreciate that you told the world about it after the title game. I have daughters in junior high and high school, and for their sake, I will not be dancing too much while the cameras are around."
Later in the ceremony, Dolson lost her balance and fell off one of the risers. She handled the gaffe with grace, but hopefully she displayed better balance in the dance-off.
For more UConn news, visit UConnReport.com.
- - - - - - -