It's going to be really hard to turn on a television or radio this coming weekend and not hear about the teams bearing down on the Final Four. I don't need to tell any of you that Xavier will not be in the games that start on Thursday for the Sweet 16. The second weekend has started to feel like something of a birthright for the Musketeers, but this year they will be as much spectators as all of the rest of us.
That leaves the Musketeer loving fan in a bit of a dilemma should he or she be sufficiently recovered to attempt to watch basketball. In the absence of cheering for someone, cheering against someone can be just as fulfilling. Of course Dayton and UC were eliminated long ago, but here's a reason to cheer against each team that is left.
Relentless mediocre excellence. Long before Villanova mastered the art of the early tournament exit, the Jayhawks were becoming masters in failing to live up to expectations. No one wants to see them advance one more round before they inevitably realize they are in the tournament and collapse. A tip of the cap to Perry Ellis though, for the 14th Sweet 16 appearance of his career.
Maryland is a Big Ten team now. For chasing the dirty football dollars with their generally pathetic team, they should earn your scorn. Maryland in the same conference as Nebraska just defies all logical explanation. The Terps also scheduled Bowie St, a non-D1 team this year. That's not so bad in and of itself, but they did it in February. Way to get yourselves battle ready, guys.
Does this city need any more good stuff to happen to them? Twice they buy a World Series and then unceremoniously dump all the players. Not content with that, they then steal LeBron from Cleveland and start winning NBA Finals. I'm sorry, Hurricanes, but no one wants to watch Miami celebrate anything again.
Not a tough one. How about hurting Ed, intentional or not? How about beating Xavier the first roughly 40 times the team met in the Big East? Ryan Arcidiacono? Being the one team that the Musketeers have to beat to win anything? Seriously, you shouldn't need a ton of help if you want to cheer against Nova.
Those jerseys and their home court. Seriously, this is supposed to basketball, not some avant garde fashion show. Also, Oregon, could you quit whining about not getting respect? You're a freaking one seed. How much more respect would you have liked? Maybe a bye would have been appropriately respectful. Of course, they played the winner of UC-St Joe's, so that's awfully close.
Boat shoes, Grayson Allen tripping people without punishment, getting every call since basketball began, arrogance, a massively overrated home court, a constant stream of whiny suburbanites, Coach K, all of the calls, crying every time they don't get their deserved win by 20, incessant fluffing from the media, all of the fairweather fans, the ultimate in silver spooners, collars popped on polos, and, of course, they get every call, all the time.
#3 Texas A&M:
They ended the UNI run, and they did it in particularly brutal fashion. Being from Cleveland, I haven't really forgiven them for enabling the whole Johnny Manziel experience, either. They also play in the SEC, home to everything reprehensible in this country.
These guys are easy to hate if you prefer your basketball methodical and half-court. If you think that just running and gunning three pointers is killing the flow of college basketball, it is probably pretty easy to tune in and be disgusted by what the Sooners do. I think Ryan Spangler and I were freshman the same year.
They try to present themselves as an alternative to Duke, but they aren't. The Tar Heels aren't scrappy underdogs representing the rest of us against the preppy elite, they are just a very mildly scaled down version of Duke themselves. They aren't half of the greatest rivalry in basketball, because real rivalries are built on fights and hate, not "mutual admiration." Also, they cheat at pretty much everything.
#6 Notre Dame:
Hey, yet another school with a greatly over inflated opinion of themselves! Mike Brey's burn offense is not an offense, it's a bunch of guys apparently so lacking in basketball nuance that they can't do anything but pass in a circle for 20 seconds. Add in the self-awarded crown of School that All Catholics Must Cheer For and you get an incredibly annoying combination of entitlement and bad basketball.
*sounds of loud weeping*
Bland. The Cavaliers are like waffles. If they were Belgian they would be interesting, but they aren't. They're incredibly efficient, but in much the way that auto factories are. It's just not at all fun to watch. Basketball is supposed to be entertaining, Tony Bennett and the Hoos make it seem like a biology lecture.
#4 Iowa St:
Steve Prohm spent a year trying to convince the world that Murray State was a real team in a real conference and merited consideration. Then, he went out and won a ton of games with them the next year and still didn't get in the real tournament. He whined, he cried, he loudly lamented the plight of the low-major (which he mistakenly called a mid-major), and then he left. Steve Prohm is just another money chaser with no principles.
I am sick of these guys. While the media slobbers over the Bulldogs and their incredible rise (!) they've completely ignored Xavier's far more impressive ascent up the ranks of college basketball powers. I have no clue why someone decided that Gonzaga was a story worth hammering into our heads, but I am completely sick of it. They're a big fish in a small pond that has made a couple of tournament runs. Neat. They aren't America's darling.
Jim Boeheim is Mick Cronin only capable of winning games. He, and every 45 year old knee brace wearing has been at the YMCA, thinks the 2-3 is a real defense. He whines about everything, his team never does anything wrong, he's a basketball genius barely able to deign to share with the rest of us, the refs are always persecuting his poor kids, the NCAA is against him, and on, and on, and on. He also cheated, got caught, and then whined about that. Here's a thought, Jim, maybe people wouldn't hate you IF YOU WEREN'T SUCH A HUGE, WHINING WANK ABOUT EVERYTHING! JUST SHUT UP AND GO AWAY! I despise Syracuse, I hope they lose and then somehow land in the NIT and lose there too.