One of the terms that invariably will get discussed after a favored team loses to an underdog is “Good Loss”. It’s a term we have heard fans and the media use occasionally to put the loss in perspective to the entirety of the season. “Hopefully, the team will use this loss as motivation to (insert whatever improvement the team needs here)”
Another term we have heard is “Bad Win” if a heavily favored team beats an underdog by a smaller margin than expected. It’s a term used to describe the possibility that the favored team is overrated or the favored team didn’t perform to it’s capabilities.
I think we can all agree that momentum, a positive attitude, or confidence are all very important in sports.
Here’s a semi-equation I would like for you to ponder: (w=W)(l=L)
Mark Story in the Herald-Leader and several calls to the Sunday Morning Call-in show on 630 AM said the UK loss to UT on Saturday could fit into the good loss category. This loss should point out to the Cats that starting slow, not playing good defense, rushing shots and falling behind early is not going to work in the post-season. These are all points that Coach Calipari has pointed out throughout the season.
You might ask a lot of fans in Texas about a good loss. After starting the season 17-0 the Texas Longhorns lost to Kansas 71-62. Did this put Texas back on track to the #1 ranking and a #1 seed in the post season? No, Texas has gone 5-7 after that 17-0 start. The exact opposite happened.
The Denver Broncos started the 2009 NFL season 6-0 before losing to Baltimore 30-7. Did this put the Broncos back on track to a successful season and a post season berth in the play-offs? No, the Broncos went 2-8 the rest of the season and missed the play-offs.
When is it easier to make a four-foot putt to win? After you have made four-in-a-row or after you have missed four-in-a-row? When is it easier to make a free throw? After you have swished the last one or after you bricked the last one?
Momentum and confidence is important in any individual. It is also important in a team. Winning can lead to a team attitude that we, as a group, are going to make the sacrifices necessary to win. Sometimes losing leads to a team attitude that we, as a group, are going to find a way to lose.
Before the hate mail comes pouring in, I am not saying that the UK Cats are going to start losing every other game the rest of the year. I am saying that the term “Good Loss” is an oxymoron, and a bad one at that. The same holds true for “Bad Win”.
The semi-equation (w=W)(l=L) stands for win equals Winning and loss equals Losing. Put more simply, a win can lead to more winning and a loss can lead to more losing.
As a player or a coach, losing a game you were supposed to win hurts just as bad as a game you were supposed to lose. As a player or a coach, winning a game you were supposed to lose or win is “All Good”!
The NCAA Basketball season is coming to a close and “The Greatest Show On Earth” is about to begin. This isn’t the NBA or MLB where you can lose late season games and then play teams the best 4 out of 7. It is “One and Done”. The momentum you carry into the post season is important. Losing games in the late season because of mistakes your coach has fussed about throughout the season is “All Bad”.
So here’s the bottom line: there is nothing “Good” about Losing and there is nothing “Bad” about Winning. Ask any coach or player.