March Madness 2019: One important thought about every school

March Madness 2019: One important thought about every school –


  1. Duke. It is okay to root for otherwise malignant Duke because everyone loves watching Zion Williamson romp over and through lesser humans. I’m not fully okay with this either, but I’m also not okay with seeing less of something that startling on a basketball court against people who will be working at rental car offices in three years.
  2. Virginia. Don’t. No one has to watch Virginia basketball, not even Virginia students. It’s not required in any way by anyone, and don’t let anyone tell you it is.
  3. North Carolina. Luke Maye is peak state of North Carolina college basketball player because grown men three times his age inexplicably love him or hate him, and also because he will not play in the NBA for longer than 10 minutes. Will probably play Duke in the final, and no one in college basketball can ever complain about college football’s shallow pool of contenders again.
  4. Gonzaga. I’m struggling to find anything to say about Gonzaga that makes it cool or hard or even remotely metal. But! Adam Morrison is probably Gonzaga’s greatest player. Morrison played in professional basketball only briefly, but did manage to play for two of the hardest franchises in sport: Beskitas, Istanbul’s resident anarchist club, and Red Star Belgrade, which is named RED STAR BELGRADE.” They also have a Japanese player, Rui Hachimara! These are the only interesting things about Gonzaga. They seem fine.
  5. Tennessee. Ooh, my favorite: The football school struggling with the confusion of having a good men’s basketball team. They want to be artists, but are suddenly good at accounting! Tennessee is having a quarter-life crisis in front of the whole country and will either go deep into the tourney or apply to law school.
  6. Michigan State. No? No.
  7. Kentucky. Run by a man who nakedly wants to put amateur athletics out of business. God, with a pistol to my head, could not get me to say a single negative word about John Calipari.
  8. Michigan. If you want to pull for a smart school while still keeping state school cred, though just barely.
  9. Houston. Houston wears red, teams that wear red as a primary color never win championships in American sports, otherwise fine. (Don’t say Alabama unless you want a thousand random strangers with “HUSBAND FATHER FOLLOWER OF CHRIST” in their bio emailing and @-ing you yelling about how “It’s not red it’s Crimson Roll Tide, who lets you publish this “journalism.”)
  10. Texas Tech. For those who wish in their hearts there really was a team from the Moon: Lubbock will have to do.
  11. LSU. Coach is on tape making a “strong-ass offer” to a recruit in cash in a federal investigation of college basketball. Pull for them to win the entire thing, and pull hard.
  12. Purdue. They got Drew Brees and Neil Armstrong, everything past that is greed, including success in the NCAA tourney.
  13. Kansas. I like everyone I know from Kansas, but also feel like their basketball team deserves no support from anyone outside Kansas, either. Calling their arena “Allen Fieldhouse” is sort of precious, isn’t it? Like it should have a sliding barn door and shiplap on it. I just Fixer Upper’d Kansas basketball, and I’m sorry for that.
  14. Florida State. There is no reason to root for Florida State at all.
  15. Kansas State. The farm version of Kansas, which just seems excessive considering the base level of farm-ness is “Kansas” here.
  16. Virginia Tech. Somewhere between hilljack Virginia and the New Jersey expats who go there, there is the soul of Virginia Tech, a person who can do calculus but also field dress a possum if necessary. This is free, Virginia Tech brochure writers. Take it at no cost and be blessed. (Virginia Tech: “Smart people, but also possums.”)
  17. Marquette. An easy way to tell if someone went to Marquette: They know where Marquette is, and what it is, and will tell you without being asked either.
  18. Auburn. Bruce Pearl is Sexy Discount John Calipari. This is meant to be a compliment.
  19. Wisconsin. Still stuck on the idea that Minnesota and Wisconsin are brothers. One is the hard-partying but lovable dude who dies at 55 from what the doctor calls “everything”, and the other is Minnesota, who dies at 88 wealthy and well-respected, but later is discovered to be a serial killer. Don’t watch either’s basketball team unless forced.
  20. Mississippi State. The Kansas State of Mississippi, if such a thing is possible. The most trucks I have ever seen on a campus, and that includes anywhere in Texas, to the point where “are trucks enrolled as students in Starkville” is a legitimate question to ask.
  21. Villanova. “A good basketball school” which also equals “no one outside Philly can find it on a map”. This isn’t an insult, it’s just a reminder that March Madness keeps lovable, weird-ass college basketball alive by giving Villanova and Kansas State literally the only thing they will ever have in common in the form of the tourney.
  22. Maryland. One of America’s most baffling places both in accent and in identity. Proof: They rally around a.) a perfectly fine but unspectacular seafood seasoning blend and b.) rioting. That’s a helluva Venn Diagram right there.
  23. Buffalo. Rooting for Buffalo in anything: A sentimental charity and a fool’s investment are the same thing.
  24. Iowa State. Mascot is a bird with teeth. Pass.
  25. Louisville. Another bird with teeth. Again, pass.
  26. Nevada. Decades of watching Reno: 911 have made me incapable of pulling for anyone against Nevada. They’re so Western they came up with a football offense and named it the Pistol! YEEHAWW AND ARROOOOOOOOOO, brother.
  27. Cincinnati. Cincinnati is America’s most lukewarm place, and their pro team just cut Vontaze Burfict. A Noble Gas of a city and by extension, a college.
  28. Wofford. The Terriers are one of a thousand strange, tiny private schools in the Carolinas. I could tell you anything about any of them and it would seem believable, because no one knows them all. Mars Hill is actually a bingo hall that operates tax-free as a college, Davidson only uses a North Carolina mailing address for accounting purposes and is actually located in Ohio, and Wofford was founded by a wealthy salamander with a terrible temper named Admiral Johnston. None of these things are falsifiable.
  29. VCU. Virginia Commonwealth University, which is kind of repetitive because Virginia is by definition a commonwealth. It’s calling it Virginia State State University. VSSU is the new brand, get with it before we copyright it and make this expensive for you, VCU.
  30. Syracuse. As always, enrage Syracuse grads by asking if Syracuse is part of the SUNY system. They love that.
  31. Ole Miss. The nihilist’s choice because the chances of any wins or losses being on the NCAA’s books in three years once the investigations clear is 50/50 at best.
  32. Utah State. Like most top-tier schools, is located within easy driving distance of a ski resort and several places named after bears and beavers. In a just world, they would win everything.
  33. Washington. The University of Michigan’s twin brother who moved to the West Coast and started smoking weed. Like Michigan, is smart and will not win anything.
  34. UCF. Huge state-funded skate park with excellent athletics.
  35. Baylor. Baylor in all things is never necessary, but usually present.
  36. Oklahoma. Has Blake Griffin ever hung out with The Flaming Lips? Please say this has happened more than once.
  37. Iowa. As in all things, Iowa is respectable, unspectacular, and will get mad if anyone points out these things at the same time.
  38. Seton Hall. Villanova, but over there on the other side of the river. Dick Vitale and Bob Ley went here, in case you doubted the place’s range. See: It makes two completely opposite kinds of older white men who work for ESPN.
  39. Minnesota. One time I went fishing with a guide in Northern Minnesota and peed off the side of the canoe in full view of five people and yelled “It’s raining, assholes!” I don’t think either calling the fish a bad word or the public nudity was necessary, but it was the most relaxed and honest I’ve ever seen someone from Minnesota be. They’re fine.
  40. Florida. Barely squeaked into the tournament, something most Florida fans will realize only after finding out they crashed out of the first round two months from now. Football school life is great.
  41. Ohio State. The biggest donor to Ohio State athletics is the founder of Abercrombie and Fitch. Sometimes the universe is 100% in tune with itself.
  42. Belmont. A charming and atom-sized private school in Nashville specializing mostly in cranking out country music producers responsible for bro-country like Jason Aldean. Therefore: Probably guilty of war crimes under international law.
  43. Saint Mary’s (Calif.). Mahershala Ali played guard for them, which I just work into the bio of Juan, the character he plays in Moonlight. He could have made the league! Now it’s all so much sadder, y’all.
  44. Arizona State. Root for Arizona State in all things or suffer the Sun Devils Curse and find your children out of school, your wife under indictment by the feds, and your bad t-shirts no longer on sale at Target.
  45. Murray State. Legit the first school I had to look up here. It’s in Kentucky! We all learned something today.
  46. Oregon. Why didn’t you go to Oregon? Did you ever think about that? It’s beautiful, not too hard, and located close to all kinds of accessible outdoor recreation spots, and it has a Duck for a mascot. Because this is a Pac-12 team, they even transcend the need to be competitive at sports anymore, because…well, what are you really competing against, man?
  47. New Mexico State. The school’s reputation rests mostly on running that rocket-powered sled they annihilated stuff with on Mythbusters. That’s enough in our minds.
  48. Liberty. They hired Hugh Freeze and are run by a televangelist’s son. Next!
  49. UC Irvine. An Orange County edition of the California system so I assume it’s like going to school inside a really nice chain restaurant. The Carrabbas of the UC system, I’d guess.
  50. Vermont. I went to Vermont for the first time this past summer and it’s so nice it has to be hiding something. DON’T TRUST THESE ORGANIC FARMERS AND THEIR SMILING FACES! LIES AND A SORTA BORING PRINCETON OFFENSE ARE WAITING IN THE WINGS!
  51. Saint Louis. Their wiki says they have a campus in Madrid and goodness do we want to see the faces of the Spanish exchange students when they get off the plane, see St. Louis, and are then offered pizza made from ketchup and weird cheese on crackers.
  52. Northeastern. Pulling for them because if there is one thing Boston needs it is a successful sports team at last.
  53. Yale. No!
  54. Old Dominion. Beat Virginia Tech in football in the past year already, seems like they’re full on success already.
  55. Georgia State. The best university in Georgia based on graduates and output, and by that I mean “Ludacris, and I don’t need anyone else to make this argument.”
  56. Northern Kentucky. Kentucky has far too many directional schools for Kentucky. Consolidate a few and we’ll come back to this.
  57. Montana. They have an Aussie on the roster, 6’10” Ben Carter. His pedigree of “Australian living in Montana” means he’s pretty much already a licensed bounty hunter in 48 of our 50 states.
  58. Colgate. No one knows what Colgate is, but as far as we know they don’t try to ban reporters for not supporting their “brand.”
  59. Bradley. No one knows what Bradley is, and this still didn’t stop them from thinking they had enough of a “brand” to ban certain reporters from press conferences.
  60. Abilene Christian. A school, and also a really specific lifestyle brand and men’s blue jean?
  61. Gardner-Webb. See: “One of a thousand small NC private schools we could tell you lies about that no one could or would refute all day.”
  62. Iona. See: “Colgate, but closer to New York?”
  63. Fairleigh Dickinson. The writers are running out of material at this point, this is just Iona but relocated to New Jersey.
  64. North Dakota State. THE MIGHTY BISON. There are only 500 people in Fargo but all of them will kill you for disrespecting this team. Therefore, we respect them immensely, and you should too.

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