Hello, friends. So, what’s new? Been busy? Seems we have a little more time on our hands these days. Not sure what to do with it. Finally paint that banister that needs painting? A little landscaping? Walk around the house crying hopelessly as we watch NCAA Tourney footage on four channels? Oh well. Only seven months until October. I’m sure it’ll fly by.
Friends, we are in the thick of the juiciest part of the NCAA Tournament: the almighty Sweet Sixteen. This weekend is always a lot of fun because there are enough games on to make things interesting, and enough middle-of-the-roaders left to keep our hearts hopeful for the ever-present Cinderella Team. Many wlll say that we University of Kentuckians have no right to make fun of any team in the tournament because of what happened to us, and they’re probably right. But I think we’ve all accepted this past season by now, haven’t we? And we can’t just let this shooting gallery go by without taking a couple of potshots from the sidelines. That’s just not what we do here. So today we’ll look at Getting to Know the Sweet Sixteen, sound good? Sure, we’ll be called sour grapers for doing it, jealous wannabes who can’t handle the fact that our team wasn’t in the tourney. But who better to make fun of the lame than the blind, right? Right. Damn the torpedoes, full steam ahead.
Popular Tradition: The student section at Oregon basketball games calls itself “The Pit Crew” — a holdover name from the team’s former McArthur Court’s unique multi-tiered archictecture.
What You Should Know About Them: Head Coach Dana Altman was originally a letdown to Ducks fans, who were hoping for Tom Izzo, Mike Anderson or Jamie Dixon to replace the departing Ernie Kent in 2010.
Popular Tradition: You won’t have to listen that closely to the MSU band to realize that a staple go-to tune for them is the famous theme from the cartoon Dudley Do Right.
What You Should Know About Them: Point guard Korie Lucious, who was dismissed by Tom Izzo in 2011, led the Iowa State Cyclones earlier in this NCAA Tourney.
Popular Tradition: All of the “Cameron Crazies” — Duke’s excitable student section — are required to meet specific criteria spelled out in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders, published by the American Psychiatric Association.
What You Should Know About Them: After Duke’s win against Creighton, Coach K singled out the Bluejays’ Doug McDermott as one of the “best offensive players I’ve seen in the last decade.” Elsewhere, a slighted Jason Williams muffled his sobs in his sleeves over a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios.
Popular Tradition: Wichita State’s famous dance moves following their win over Gonzaga are a direct result of coach Gregg Marshall’s insistence that the team watch the 2008 drama Step Up 2: The Streets during every film session this season.
What You Should Know About Them: The twisted grin of the Shockers’ anthropomorphic mascot “WuShock” is the last thing you’ll see before he murders you during your camping trip in rural Kansas.
Popular Tradition: Thursday’s are 2-for-1 couch dances at Foxy Lady Gentleman’s Club with the purchase of a soft-sided cooler or t-shirt.
What You Should Know About Them: In this round of the tournament, the Cards will refer to Lucas Oil Stadium as Luke-Hancock Oil Stadium.
Popular Tradition: Not making the NCAA Tournament.
What You Should Know About Them: La Salle university is named after its founder: actor Eriq La Salle, who is best known as Dr. Peter Benton on the medical drama ER.
Popular Tradition: Sweating.
What You Should Know About Them: Arizona is widely known as a “safety school” for prospective college students who cannot get into a college or university in a part of the country where it is not one-hundred and eleven degrees all the time.
Popular Tradition: One group shouts “O-H” while another group shouts “I-O!” Before you ask; no, I can assure you it is not annoying at all to be in a bar with these fans.
What You Should Know About Them: Ohio State’s fight song is “Almost Paradise,” by Ann Wilson and Mike Reno, from the film Footloose.
Popular Tradition: When an opposing player fouls out, Kansas fans will “wave the wheat” by putting their arms in the air to mimic wind crossing over Kansas’ wheat fields. It’s a pleasant distraction that helps them forget that the game will eventually be over and they’ll have to go back to living in Kansas.
What You Should Know About Them: Head coach Bill Self once accidentally put his wig on backward and had to play it off as if he grew a beard for a whole day at the office.
Popular Tradition: Michigan’s fan section is known as the “Maize Rage,” which coincidentally and tastelessly is also the name of a corn-spread epidemic which claimed the lives of many, many Michigan students in the fall of 2003.
What You Should Know About Them: Any reference by any telecaster to Michigan basketball is legally required by law to mention the “Fab Five.”
Popular Tradition: Albert and Alberta, the male and female mascots of the University of Florida
What You Should Know About Them: Albert and Alberta were privately granted a legal separation by a Florida judge over a year ago yet keep up appearances for the sake of the fans.
Florida Gulf Coast University
Popular Tradition: A three-and-a-half hour oral reading of Jimmy Buffet’s book Tales from Margaritaville precedes every Eagles home game.
What You Should Know About Them: That despite the fun time they’re giving everyone, the truth is that you probably will care as much about Florida Gulf Coast University this time next year as you care about Norfolk State right now.
Popular Tradition: Mouth kissing
What You Should Know About Them: It doesn’t matter whether head coach Tom Crean’s Hoosiers make the elite or not, they’re going to pretend that they did.
Popular Tradition: Syracuse fans often jingle their car keys to create a distraction while opposing fans are shooting free throws. This is especially effective when Syracuse plays teams whose rosters include babies.
What You Should Know About Them: Let’s be honest. Of all the major basketball programs in the United States, Syracuse is probably the most boring. They wear orange. Really, that’s it. Do you know how hard I had to dig to find the “jingling car keys” thing? This program’s as boring as Jim Boeheim looks.
Popular Tradition: Marquette’s nameless mascot the Golden Eagle, who was too good to talk to me during the 2010 CBS College Basketball Road Trip Blog when we visited Marquette. I mean, come on. Seriously. It’s a freakin’ eagle costume. You’re not US Secretary of Energy Stephen Chu.
What You Should Know About Them: If Buzz Williams was not the head coach of Marquette, he’d be playing the hilarious “slovenly roommate character” in any number of current romantic comedy movies.
Popular Tradition: The ibis, the official bird mascot of the University of Miami is meant to represent leadership, knowledge and courage. This choice, in turn, has ruined the reputation of the ibis.
What You Should Know About Them: Very few people had ever heard of the city of Miami, much less the university thereof, before Will Smith won a VMA Award for Best Male Video after writing a song about it in 1998.