If a Final Four happens and nobody in Kentucky watches, does it really count? Unfortunately, it does, but since Kentucky’s loss to North Carolina in the Elite Eight on Sunday, I’ve been debating whether or not to watch this weekend’s games. By now, I’m over the loss, but there’s still some mild resentment and, yes, jealousy that Kentucky’s not a part of it all, especially given the fact that had the Cats beaten North Carolina, they probably would have won the whole damn thing. Focusing on that too long will definitely make you not want to watch, but as hardcore basketball fans, will you be able to resist the temptation to switch the channel to CBS on Saturday night? This is something I’m grappling with, so I broke down the scenarios.
Option 1: Go all in on South Carolina
The fact that South Carolina is in the Final Four and Kentucky isn’t is absurd, but if you’re looking for the easiest way to digest Saturday’s games, getting on the South Carolina bandwagon is it. Not only is there the whole “SEC brotherhood” thing (although, really, do other SEC teams cheer for Kentucky when they get to the Final Four? I doubt it.), the Gamecocks are a great story. Frank Martin is charmingly intense, possibly insane; Sindarius Thornwell is great and has a name from a bad Harry Potter fanfic; and well, who the heck expected them to get this far? Probably only Gamecock Jesus, the hippie superfan that is so beloved in Columbia that his fellow fans raised over $7,500 to send him to Phoenix to cheer on the team.
Plus, if South Carolina somehow does win it all, we can brag that the Cats beat them by 16 back in January.
Option 2: A.B.C. (Anyone But [North] Carolina)
Honestly, this is the option I’m most likely going with. Sure, South Carolina’s story is charming, and “SEC SEC SEC,” but the only thing I care about is North Carolina not getting another title. Not only did the Tar Heels beat us, I don’t want them getting them getting their sixth national championship, which would bring them one step closer to Kentucky’s eight. Of course, this being Carolina, most Tar Heel fans would probably call it their seventh title because they count the Helms championship, which makes me want them to lose even more. We’re already destined to see the Luke Maye shot for years to come, but if the Tar Heels win it all, it will be shoved in our faces even more. And there’s the whole irony of them winning a title while being under NCAA investigation, but I doubt that will ever be mentioned on the CBS broadcast this weekend.
So, I’m going with Option 2, which could, in some cases, also be Option 1A. For a reason I can’t really express, I’d rather Gonzaga or Oregon win it all than South Carolina, but that’s probably because I want to be able to write this season off as a fluke and not listen to Gamecock fans remind us every year how they won it all that one time. I fully accept you judging me for that.
Option 3: Cheer for North Carolina
Nobody’s really going to do this, right?
Option 4: Don’t watch at all
I did a Twitter poll earlier today asking Kentucky fans if they will watch the Final Four, and the results are pretty resounding: 70% No, 30% Yes.
I have a feeling that by Saturday, I’ll have convinced myself I’m okay with watching at least the first game, South Carolina/Gonzaga, only to panic when the CBS fanfare comes on. But, pretending the Final Four doesn’t exist is probably a much more painless option. Think of all the other ways you can spend your Saturday night: checking out the new restaurant in town, seeing “Beauty & the Beast” or some other movie, reconnecting with friends and family you haven’t seen because of basketball, binging something on Netflix (I hear “13 Reasons Why” is supposed to be good), playing with your dog, laundry, drinking good beer, drinking bad beer, cleaning the gunk around the inside of your washing machine, clipping your toenails, clipping your dogs’ nails…
Okay, fine. The games are probably going to be the most entertaining thing on TV Saturday night. But, just know, you’ve got options. Which will you choose?