Does the Cardinal look like an Angry Bird? He looks like an Angry Bird, right?
#1 Nobody Likes Repeat Champs… Except the Champs
An outsider’s fascination with repeat championships is parabolic. The first is fine. The second and third start to wear thin, while anything more starts to be more impressive than annoying. For example, look at the current NBA champs, the two-time winning Miami Heat. Is anybody other than me and half of Miami rooting for them? Meanwhile, consider the Bulls of the 90s. Once people started realizing that MJ and Co. had something historic in the works, Jazz fans were all alone in their underdog clubhouse.
Bottom line: dynasties are exciting, but repeat champs are boring. College basketball doesn’t want boring.
#2 Moral High Ground
This is a position we’re not used to (“That’s what.” -She). Fair or otherwise, we get the reputation as a group of cheaters. Did you know that? If you didn’t, I’m sorry to ruin your week. But this year, hardly anyone can disparage the character of the players on our roster. While there’s some question of a pouty attitude on the court, the recent GPA and so-far-irreproachable behavior from the Wildcats is in stark contrast to the suspensions that have riddled Louisville’s team. But that, combined with the waning zeal from critics of the One-and-Done system now that Coach K and Bill Self are on board, gives Cal’s team a spot on hallowed high ground.
#3 UK is the Underdog
Yet another position we’re not terribly used to. Almost everybody that doesn’t have a vested interest roots for the underdog. It’s science. It’s also why Butler was America’s darling two years in a row against Duke and UConn. That, and Brad Stevens is just adorable. But the Cats go into Saturday with +Points, and a lower ranking.
#4 Other Potential #1 Seeds Want Louisville to Lose
This game will not have as many “neutral parties” watching as you’d think. Fans of Duke, Ohio State, Arizona, and other top ten teams have to be looking for a Louisville loss here as the non-conference season wraps up. The large quantities of fans that would otherwise be neutral (Michigan State, Syracuse, Oklahoma State) are going to watch the game in the same way that old tigers watch a possibly sick antelope. Tigers don’t even eat antelope, which sort of muddles the metaphor, but the point is they’re looking for weakness in a team that hasn’t beaten a single good team. Neither have we, but you get the point.