Posted by: rubezing | March 1, 2010

Good Loss vs. Bad Win

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.

What do you think Coach Rupp would say if asked "Do you think this was a good loss tonight?"

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.



  1. Well said!

    Think the US felt good about their loss against Canada on the ice yesterday? Doubt it…

    I’ve never really bought into the “good loss/bad win” cliches because I don’t think it takes you to win or lose a game to learn something different about your team.

    You can learn something about your team by watching the game, not the scoreboard.

  2. Oh, and I hope you’ve got your runnin’ shoes on when you ask The Barron if he thinks there’s such a thing as a good loss…

  3. Right On! Rubezing! I never understood how losing could be a good thing. I know, I know, we tell ourselves excuses to make the medicine taste better going down, but it still does not change the fact, it is still bad tasting medicine.

    Kentucky had a false sense of security going into the game Saturday. Even DeMarcus Cousins remarked, “Every time we were down I was always thinking we were going to win, I just knew we had to make plays down the stretch.” But it never happened.

    Maybe, Walls sees the big picture, his comment after the Saturday’s game, “Just imagine two weeks from now, if we lost this game, our season’s over with.”

    Hopefully, Kentucky received a big dose of reality from Saturday’s lose. We will see what happens Wednesday, when UK plays Georgia, another game on the road.

    GO BIG BLUE!!!!

  4. In Big Blue land, no one likes for the Cats to loose. Even though your attitude is you don’t think you are not going to lose, it still happens due to their are more players on a basketball team that can contribute to a loss. The loss to Tn. at Tn. is no disgrace to the theory of a good loss. Tn. beat then #1 Kansas at home. Coach Pearl had a overnight pep rally for the students to get them ready for this game. I am more concerned the way they lost the game vs. a good/bad loss situatiuon. This Ky team has to come and play two halves from this point on. If this loss points that out, then I guess it moves it to a good side. But what I saw was the lack of making outside shots (2 for 22) from 3 point land and this is very difficult to correct it this late in the season. Ky has the tallest team in America. Not hitting the outside shot makes them easier to defend on the inside, thus packing in zones and daring Ky to beat them from the outside. The question is: Can Ky correct it in time for a run for another NCAA Championship? It could be bad for this team if they don’t. It will be good for this team if they start making those outside shots because without them going down…It is going to be difficult to get that 8th NCAA Championship!

  5. This reminds me of the “sweet lemons” and “sour grapes” concepts in psychology. . .

    I kinda like the plain ol’ call it like ya see it.

  6. Sorry, Barney, I’m with Nate, Sheron and Jesa on this one!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: