Because we now live in a socialist society under President Bernie Sanders, everyone is equal. This also applies to basketball programs. It’s true that all 351 teams in Division I college basketball have the same number of fans and now that only 16 teams remain, over 95% of the country won’t have their school win. I’m here to tell that majority which team’s corner to get in for the final two weeks.
Root for the Jayhawks if: you like the old guy at the rec who schools the youngbloods, Gregorian chants, favorites
- Perry Ellis’ old looks have been the subject of much hilarity on the
internet for years now. I remember two years ago thinking, “who’s the fossil playing for Kansas?” and then looking it up to realize he was 19. Dude just turned 22 this year. Despite his geriatric appearance, Ellis plays a solid all-around game. He plays tough defense, rebounds well, and even shoots better than you’d think for a grandfather.
- The Rock Chalk Jayhawk chant has always sounded to me like monks in a church.
- Kansas is the number one overall seed. If you’re boring and like rooting for the favorite, they’re the team for you.
Root for the Terrapins if: you like “Crabcakes and football!”, really talented teams, cool names
- Still the most underrated line from Wedding Crashers.
- Honestly, Maryland has been a disappointment this season. Looking at their roster in September, you’d think they’re a shoe-in for a one seed. There are like eight guys who could start and thrive at almost any program in the country on this team. Plus, they’re huuuuuuge. I have done no research on this, but I suspect Maryland, Purdue, and UC Irvine are the tallest programs in the country.
- Diamond Stone, Melo Trimble, Damonte Dodd, Varun Ram… cool things are happening there.
Root for the Hurricanes if: you can tell the difference between a duck and an ibis, you like football schools, staying above .500
This is easier in real life than with mascots.
- When you go to HurricaneSports.com, the official home of University of Miami Athletics, you have to scroll practically to the bottom of the page to find a mention of the basketball team’s SWEET SIXTEEN GAME TOMORROW.
- You might be thinking, “Wow, Casey is so stupid. Miami is 27-7 – way above .500”. Well, you’re correct. But I am referring to their 8-7 record in the NCAA Tournament. I had to dig deep to find more reasons to root for this team…
Root for the Wildcats if: you like blowouts, underrated teams, bucking the trend
- Villanova has the largest margin of victory of the first weekend. They clobbered NC Asheville by 30 and then swept the floor with Iowa by 19.
- I feel like I’m taking crazy pills that Villanova wasn’t really in the running for a 1-seed. Second fewest losses among Power 7 Conference teams and none of them were bad, 10-5 against NCAA Tourney teams, Top-10 in Adjusted Offense and Defense according to KenPom.com, and played the 29th toughest schedule.
- Here’s a great stat from Keith Lipscomb of ESPN.com:
"In the South region, Kansas is the No. 1 seed and Villanova is the No. 2 seed. But banking on either to make a deep tourney run under these circumstances has been far from a sure thing based on recent history. Since 2010, a 1 or 2 seed has lost in the first or second round 14 times. Kansas and Villanova account for six of those instances. No other team has done so more than once in this span."
Root for the Tarheels if: you like fast tempo, you think 1-seeds are underdogs, “impermissible benefits”
- The 30-second shot clock has made college ball faster and more fun. Despite dropping from the 15th- to 48th-fastest adjusted tempo in the country (according to KenPom.com), North Carolina increased their possessions per game by 2.3. They are also the fastest playing team still in the tournament.
- When Bryce Johnson said this:
We're the underdogs half the year. We've got a lot of people saying we're underdogs in a lot of games, and we've proved them wrong in all those regards. So keep calling us the underdogs and we'll just keep proving you wrong.
I checked out how often this team has, in fact, been an underdog. The Tarheels were favored in 34 of 36 games this season. They were 1-point dogs at Louisville on February 1st, and 2.5-point underdogs at Virginia on February 27th. They lost both games. Therefore, not once has North Carolina “proved you wrong” this season.
- North Carolina (although to be honest, they aren’t alone in the Sweet Sixteen in this regard) was wrapped up in an “impermissible benefits” scandal earlier this season.
Root for the Hoosiers if: you are still unsatisfied after beating Kentucky, a little bit of this and a little bit of that, Creanface
- So I went to IU and I decided before the Kentucky game in the second round that as long as the Hoosiers beat the Wildcats, I would not care about their performance the rest of the tournament. Obviously, I’ll still root for them, but as far as I’m concerned, this season’s officially a success.
- Few teams are as versatile as the Hoosiers. IU has had six different players lead the team in scoring. They shoot the three better than almost anyone, Thomas Bryant can bang down low, Troy Williams on the baseline is basically a gimme dunk at this point. They’re fun to watch.
Root for the Fighting Irish if: you like 6-seeds, “consistency”, and women’s basketball
- The last time a 6-seed reached the Final Four, a Clinton was about to receive the Democratic nomination (the more things change, the more they stay the same).
- Mike Brey was quoted before the Crossroads Classic against IU saying “We’re the most consistent program in this state and it’s not even close.” The Irish then lost a 16 point-second half lead the next day…
- The team to watch in South Bend is the women’s team. According to FiveThirtyEight, the Notre Dame women’s basketball team is one of four teams with any chance at all of beating UConn, at 9% championship probability.
Root for the Badgers if: you like watching 7-footers baseball slide, buzzer beaters, or if you’ll always miss the “Death. Taxes. Bo Ryan.” tweets from Twitters most repetitive basketball reporter.
Later today, I’ll tell you who to root for in the West and Midwest regions.