The Loyola Fan-Guide to Madness: Why You Should Hate Everyone Else in the Tournament (part 1)

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LOYOLA MADE THE TOURNEY! OH YEAH! SUCK IT HATERS! ONLY GOD CAN JUDGE ME! Okay, sorry, I needed to get that out of my system, I’m just really excited. When I transferred from the giant vacuum of fun known as Pitt and headed to North Baltimore, I assumed that I was relinquishing my only chance at having an alma mater that would compete in any sport on a national scale. But here we are just a few years later, Loyola is in the tourney, Pitt didn’t even make the NIT and the Greyhounds are playing their first round game in…Pittsburgh. Scrumptious.

Now, everyone knows that the best part of sports is the irrational, ignorant hatred of other teams that it spawns. There’s nothing quite as satisfying in life as judging a team, city or country by its worst characteristics and stereotypes. College sports especially offer a prime outlet for this obtuse, slanderous vilification for two reasons. One, it’s engrained in the culture- student sections often prey on the failures and misdeeds of their opponents. Even Duke’s fans (who themselves are viewed with a level of hatred typically reserved for violent criminals) notoriously pass out cheat sheets highlighting specific sensitive areas to exploit- academic shortcomings, girlfriend’s names and off-campus arrests.  Two, schools offer an incomparable array of targets for indignation, anything from the awful city or state they play in, to their insufferable famous alumni to their creepy team mascot. The possibilities are endless.

But in prior years, I’ve never had a true rooting interest in any meaningful collegiate event; I was a man without a country. But improbably, Loyola has given me a flag, a flag that I shall joyfully use to impale any and all who dare challenge the majestic Greyhound. Typically, I would reserve my deplorable denigration for the teams that Loyola was, uh, actually playing, but seeing as this is only Loyola’s second trip to the tournament in program history, I may never get this opportunity again. So fuck it, here’s a reason to hate all 63 other teams in the tournament:

Kentucky– Ugh. Unless you’re from Kentucky (which I’m guessing you’re not if you’re reading this blog…or reading anything at all) there is literally nothing to like about UK.  As a state, Kentucky is Tennessee after it’s been shot with a tranquilizer. As a program, UK represents everything that’s wrong with college basketball- every year they bring in the top recruits through questionable means, beat the piss out of a bunch of SEC teams, then the kids go pro and John Calipari fellates himself before adding another crop of suspiciously-signed recruits and starting the process over again. Eventually Calipari will get caught, just like he was at UMass and Memphis, and the program will vacate scholarships and wins but it won’t matter to Coach Cal, since he’ll be whoring himself out to a new program by then. Oh and Calipari once called a journalist a “fucking Mexican idiot”. Calipari is a fitting choice for UK’s head coach since the position has a glorious tradition of both racism and rule-breaking. Their all-time winningest coach, Adolph Rupp, refused to have black players on his team until 1970, 40 years after his coaching debut at UK, and he would commonly drop racial slurs in front of everyone from players to fans to journalists.  Remember that movie Glory Road, where the all-black team from Texas Western beat the all-white team and their smug, asshole coach? Yup, that smug, asshole coach was Rupp. His team was also found guilty of a point shaving scandal and for giving improper benefits to players (sound familiar?) and Rupp’s Wildcats received the first ever “death penalty” from the NCAA in 1951. Needless to say, the University of Kentucky has distanced themselves from Rupp and his suspect moral legacy in recent years…what’s that? They named their arena after him? That’s not the tolerant, not-racist Kentucky that I know. Oh and I’d be remiss if I didn’t call your attention to Anthony Davis’s insane unibrow.

Western Kentucky– Just take everything I said about Kentucky, then take away all the wins and you have Western Kentucky.  Their mascot is also the Hilltoppers. How stereotypically rural of them.

Iowa State– My beef with Iowa State is that they’re the Cyclones, which seems alarmingly insensitive.  You can only name your team after a natural disaster if that disaster doesn’t tragically kill dozens of your fans every year.  Who the fuck thought Cyclones was a good name? I hope his car was destroyed by a flying cow the next day.

UConn– If you like John Calipari’s arrogance and moral ambiguity, but just wish his players got arrested more often, then Jim Calhoun is your man.

Wichita State– The Shockers is an incredibly unfortunate name for a team. “Shockers” was a pre-WWII designation meant to refer to people who picked wheat (I don’t know, it’s a Kansas thing). Who would think that such an innocent name would morph into a wildly graphic sexual term, all thanks to the advent of the internet? Rick Santorum. Rick Santorum would have seen that cuming. In the kingdom of creepy mascots, Wichita rules all. Their mascot’s name is WuShock (pictured at right), which sounds like a horrible basketball sneaker, and he is the creepiest thing on college campuses since Sandusky got put on house arrest. It speaks volumes about the psyche of the weirdos at Wichita that they managed to turn something as benign as a piece of wheat into a malevolent, bowl-cutted freak who apparently takes recreational dumps in pumpkin patches.

VCU– Last year, VCU shocked America by going on an unprecedented run from the play-in game all the way to the Final Four; consequently, anyone who watches college basketball before the month of March should hate them. You did your research, you watched hours and hours of basketball, you studied the conference tournaments and used these findings to meticulously pick each game in your seemingly-perfect bracket. Then something called a VCU starts killing off top seeds and next thing you know you’re at the bottom of your office pool looking up at Peggy from H.R. and her juggernaut bracket. Fuck Peggy and fuck VCU.

Indiana– Part of me wants to root for Indiana to succeed simply because these people have little else to live for. Their lord and savior Peyton Manning went from legend to borderline-invertebrate overnight, Notre Dame finally realized this year that their head coach is an awful person, and they just hosted the Super Bowl and the Final Four so they won’t see another relevant sporting event played in their state for at least 5 years.  If Parks and Rec gets cancelled we might have to put an entire state on suicide watch for the first time in history. Unfortunately, head coach Tom Crean looks like a giant, evil Muppet and this picture exists, so I wish nothing but the worst for them.

New Mexico State– Fact, New Mexico State has SIX Canadians on it. I don’t trust that many Canadians in one place, especially if there’s no ice to be found for 1,800 miles. They’re up to something. They also have two guys from France and one from South Africa. Uh, sorry but this isn’t the U.N., guys. This is basketball, AMERICAN basketball, being played by AMERICAN athletes for AMERICAN fans. It’s not called New CANADA State University, it’s New MEXIC…shit never mind.

UNLV– Is there a less intimidating mascot than the Runnin’ Rebels? I mean the name insinuates that they’re defiant revolutionaries who are known for…retreating? How is that supposed to frighten opponents? If you root for UNLV you are a coward.

Colorado– Famous alumni include Rick Reilly, writer of countless awful puns and plagiarized articles; Jim Gray, the man partially responsible for The Decision; and “rap group” 3OH!3, producers of such hits as “Musical Genocide”, “Even We Don’t Know Why We’re Relevant” and “I Can Actually Feel This Song Giving Me A Brain Tumor”. I hope this whole school gets hit with an avalanche.

Baylor– Getting to the Final Four would undoubtedly be the greatest moment in Baylor basketball history. It would supplant the current greatest moment, which is fucking-anything-besides-the-time-a-player-murdered-his-teammate-and-the-coach-tried-to-avoid-NCAA-violations-by-falsely-saying-the-victim-was-a-drug-dealer-next-question-moving-on.

South Dakota State– What if long ago someone just made up South Dakota and it wasn’t actually a real place. How many people would actually notice? Besides people who supposedly “bordered” the state, I don’t think anyone would.  South Dakota is far and away the most obscure state in the union and it really isn’t close. Pop quiz- when’s the last time something in South Dakota made national news? Follow-up question, name anything that happened in South Dakota in the last 100 years. I’m officially starting this conspiracy theory- South Dakota does not exist. It’s fictional, like an incredibly boring version of Atlantis or Camelot or Mount Olympus. Prove me wrong.  I’m pretty sure that CNN could report tomorrow morning that South Dakota was never a real place and you would say, “that’s weird, did I already miss the Top 10 on SportsCenter?” and NEVER think about it again.

Notre Dame– I pray that Notre Dame loses in the first round, just so that they won’t be playing on St. Patrick’s Day; otherwise, we’ll be subjected to 10,000 “Luck of the Irish!” references by uncreative writers and announcers and I will gouge my eyes out by dusk. Also, there’s no better proof that God does not exist than Touchdown Jesus watching Notre Dame go 4-7 and fire their coach every three years.

Xavier– Remember when Xavier got in that fight with Cincinnati earlier this year? Going into that game, Xavier was undefeated and ranked #8 in the country. Cincy, meanwhile, had lost to basketball juggernauts like Presbyterian and Marshall. Well, Xavier won the game but lost the fight, then lost 5 of their next 6 games and went 13-12 over the rest of the season while Cincinnati beat four top-25 teams over their next 11 games and made it to the Big East final. I don’t know what all that means, but if I’m Notre Dame, I’d have the Cincy guys sitting courtside, flexing and shadow-boxing all game.

Duke– The reasons for hating Duke are vast and well-known, and yet they’re still probably the most popular team in the country. How is this possible? Who the hell jumps on their bandwagon at this point, after they’ve been outed as a bastion of unbearable arrogance? From this point forward, if you’re a Duke fan you must show cause as to why you root for them. Dad went there? No problem. Christian Laettner gave you a high five when you were six years old? That works. Coach K brainwashed you with his Illuminati mind-control tactics? Fair enough. But otherwise, you are a legitimately bad person. Even Duke lacrosse is more likeable than Duke basketball.

Lehigh– Duke vs. Lehigh? NERD BATTLE!  Lehigh is actually one of the best engineering schools in the country, their mascot is the Mountain Hawk and they surprisingly have the oldest continuous rivalry in college football with Lafay-GahhhI’mGonnaDieOfBoredomNoOneGivesAShitThey’reGonnaGetCrushed.

Michigan State– I’m 100% sure that the Spartans are either paying players in gold bullion under the table or Tom Izzo is the single most charismatic human being on earth, cause there is no other logical reason why a five-star recruit would choose to go to school in northern Michigan. That place is a wasteland, yet Michigan State’s success has somehow been inversely proportional to that of the American auto industry. I don’t buy it. They’re up to something.

Long Island University-Brooklyn– I can’t think of a school that would have a higher rate of STDs than this. Their mascot should be a cold sore.

Memphis– If this was a tournament to see what city could most-effectively destroy their rich musical history, Memphis would be a prohibitive favorite. At this point I would consider erasing any and all memories of Elvis if it meant that 36 Mafia and Yo Gotti never existed.

Saint Louis– Memphis vs. St. Louis is a marquee matchup in the battle of the “blackest cities in the whitest states”. I must say that my beef with St. Louis has been somewhat quelled now that Tony LaRussa finally drunk-drove off into the sunset and Pujols took his talents to South Central.  But it’s still not enough for me to get past the Cardinals being the weakest World Series winner in years. St. Louis’ fans are pretentious blowhards and they’d be crying in their foreign-owned Budweiser right now if Nelson Cruz could squeeze a pop fly. I hope Memphis wins this game by 100 and Nelly and Sam Bradford get kidnapped.

New Mexico– Oh great another team from this horrible state. If you like the racism, desolation and rich tradition of Native American genocide in Arizona, but hate its canyons and relevance then New Mexico is your Shangri-la.  If aliens truly did land at Area 51 then congratulations- humans are officially the superior race in the universe. They could have gone anywhere in the galaxy and they chose New Mexico? People in Texas don’t even go to New Mexico. I’m gonna go watch the speech from Independence Day and talk shit about aliens for the rest of the day.

Long Beach State– What happens when unstoppable swag meets unmovable gullyness? These jerseys. AMAZING. Okay Long Beach State is the only other team you’re allowed to root for besides Loyola. I hope their away jerseys say Rack City.

Louisville– When he’s not coaching Louisville or banging whores in restaurant bathrooms, Rick Pitino serves as the head coach for the Puerto Rican national team, which is apparently something that exists (unlike South Dakota). Puerto Rico will be squaring off with Team USA in the Olympics this summer, ipso facto, Rick Pitino is a traitor and rooting for Louisville is the same as rooting against America. Everytime Rick Pitino wins, so do the terrorists. Do you want Al Qaeda to make it to the Final Four? No, you don’t.

Davidson– Pop quiz hot shot- what state is Davidson in? Follow up question- name one person ever, besides Stephen Curry, who went to Davidson. If you got one of those two questions wrong- which you did- you can’t root for them. Rules are rules.

Murray State– If you didn’t get the Davidson questions right then you’re definitely not passing the Murray State exam.  Murray State sounds like one of those fake schools that they make up to avoid licensing issues in basketball movies. If they hadn’t been ranked earlier this year, I would have thought that that’s where Jesus Shuttlesworth committed to play his college ball.

Colorado State– Enough with the state of Colorado, it’s been far too relevant lately. I hope Peyton Manning signs with the Broncos and converts to Islam just to push Tebow and his flock over the edge.

Marquette– I don’t trust Buzz Williams, Marquette’s head coach. Can’t get a read on him. Depending on the day, he looks anywhere from 27 to 59 years old and somewhere between 170 and 260 pounds. He changes his appearance like a chameleon. So far this year he’s gone for 20s gangster, Lance Armstrong in Big Head mode, Robert Quarles from Justified, Ironic Prom Hipster, police detective on The Wire, and Tom Cable. You can’t root for what someone who approaches every game like Jennifer Garner in Alias.

BYU– Under BYU’s code of conduct, students aren’t allowed to drink, smoke, have premarital sex or have caffeine, so it’s not really that impressive that they’ve managed to win a bunch of games since they have a competitive advantage over, oh, every other college in the country. Then again, you can’t win an athletic competition with 95% white guys unless it’s played on ice, so I don’t like their chances to make a run. At least they’ve got Romney.

Florida– No program in the country churns out more insufferable professional athletes than the Gators-Tim Tebow, Joakim Noah, Mike Miller, Cris Collinsworth, Emmitt Smith, Rex Grossman…The University of Florida is a factory of douchiness.

Virginia– UVA fans once heckled Juan Dixon by chanting “crack baby” at him after his parents died of AIDS. Yeah I feel like we can just stop there, that’s all you really need to know.

Missouri– The Missouri-Kansas rivalry is one of the best in college basketball, but apparently the board of trustees at Mizzou decided that the Big 12 wasn’t hick enough for them anymore so they left for the SEC, and now Mizzou and Kansas won’t play each other.  Enjoy going 2-9 in football for the next century, assholes. I hope everyone on the board gets gonorrhea, which is quite possible seeing as they’ll be traveling to Mississippi and Louisiana a lot more often now.

Norfolk State– The city of Norfolk is essentially a naval base with an Applebees. The only reason that 90% of its residents live there is because they’ll be court marshaled if they don’t. If Norfolk State was your first choice of colleges than you probably shouldn’t have gone to college.

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