NCAA Tournament: Life After Love
Kevin Noonan | Monday, March 24, 2014
Did your favorite non-Notre Dame team get knocked out of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament by one of Notre Dame’s traditional football rivals, a stupid school with a stupid mascot, which just may have rejected you outright when you applied as a senior in high school as well?
Did the college basketball team of your youth, whose apparel makes up 60 percent of your available wardrobe on any given day, lull you into a false sense of security about the tournament by avoiding a second round matchup with an underrated team from the meth capital of the United States, not to mention setting itself up for a tee-ball of a sweet sixteen matchup against an 11-seed overplaying its potential, only to rip your heart out and stomp on it with missed jump shot after missed jump shot on their way to a loss against a west coast Ivy League wannabe?
Me too. Let’s be friends. We can talk about Kansas Jayhawks basketball.
With Notre Dame missing the tournament, as well as taking a breather and passing on any potential post-season play, we were all forced to put our fandom eggs in different baskets for this year’s field of 64 if we wanted to invest in more than just our brackets. Some of us grew up in families in which we learned to appreciate Scott Pollard’s facial hair for what it was and to develop a deep hatred for Mike Bibby and Arizona, and so people like me were able to fall back on their hometown teams for rooting interest in the tournament.
But now, with the first rounds over and most brackets decimated by losses by teams like Kansas, Duke and Syracuse, we have to find new ways to stay invested in the tournament. If your other favorite team took a surprise slap to the face and caught the early flight back home out of the tournament, here are some suggestions for other ways to keep yourself interested in the tournament.
1. Root against whomever your friends are rooting for.
This is a time-tested strategy. Take the first few minutes of any tournament game and listen closely to whom your friends are rooting for, how hard and for what reasons. Or better yet, scope out their social media profiles and take a look at their online bracket to get an idea of where their interests lie. Once you know who they have their heart set on, run as fast as you can in the opposite direction. The harder they cheer for their team of choice, the more fun it will be to rub it in their face when their team loses.
2. Root against Notre Dame’s rivals.
We don’t get as into basketball season here as we do football, but hatred knows no season and hatred knows no bounds, so feel free to let the fiery, irrational rage you feel during football games rise up within you and take complete control of your thoughts and actions, as is the Notre Dame way. As previously mentioned, Stanford remains alive through some combination of witchcraft and political blackmailing, and they’re joined by both Michigan and Michigan State. If we could’ve thrown USC in there, we’d be one misguided penalty for targeting on one of our defensive linemen away from a full-blown riot of intercollegiate hatred. And isn’t that what sports are all about?
3. Root for the underdogs. Unless they’re coached by Calipari. Or Pitino. Or Izzo.
For some fans, one of the most exciting aspects of the NCAA tournament is the wild card factor of underdog teams rising up, hitting big shots and knocking off a top-seeded team. The spectacle of the unexpected is on full display, the equalizing factor of the deep three-point shot never more important. But for other fans, fans who, say, have watched Bradley, Bucknell, Northern Iowa, VCU and now Stanford pull off memorable upsets against Kansas over the last ten years, the concept of the underdog gets a little worn. For me, I just love to see guys like John Calipari, coach at the University of Kentucky, Rick Pitino, Louisville’s coach, and Tom Izzo, Michigan State’s coach, get knocked off their perches. There’s no real reason. Maybe it’s the collective use of hair oil. Whatever it is, I love to root against them.
4. Root for Arizona.
Have you ever read “The Secret?” Pretty cool book, you should check it out. Anyway, I have an outside shot at winning my bracket pool if Arizona wins the national championship, so I could really use all your positive energy and thinking and wishing or whatever voodoo that book is about to make it happen. Thanks guys, I appreciate it.