Backdoor Cuts is a college basketball discussion between RTC correspondents Dave Zeitlin, Steve Moore and Mike Walsh. This week the disgruntled fans each pick a new team to root for — and start a friendly competition in the process.
DAVE ZEITLIN: So I know what I want for Chanukah (or, as you guys like to call it, Weird Christmas). I’ve decided I want a new college basketball team to root for.
Now, don’t get me wrong, Penn will always be my No. 1 team and I know better days lie ahead. But let’s be honest: the only thing my Quakers are competing for this year is whether or not they can become the worst team in Division I (if they aren’t already). Combine this with the fact that my favorite baseball team is the Mets (don’t say anything, Steve), my favorite football team (the Giants) just gave up approximately 3,500 points in one game (seriously, Steve, be quiet) and neither of my fantasy football teams made the playoffs…and I forget where that sentence was going because I just started crying. Please, Fake Santa of Chanukah, give me a winning team to root for this holiday season. Just one.
Here’s my own criteria for picking a new team: I want the school to be relatively close — as in, driving distance from my home in Philadelphia (sorry, most of the country). Obviously, the team can’t be any kind of rival of Penn’s (as much as I like Fran Dunphy at Temple). It can’t be a perennial favorite to win a national championship (that’s no fun) but it also can’t be a team that has no shot of winning it all (rooting for one-mid major is enough). And even though I’ve followed this conference most of my life, it can’t be any team from the Big East. (Before going to Penn, I was a big Syracuse fan; I’d feel like an abusive boyfriend going back to them now, but I’d feel like even more of a jerk rooting for one of their rivals.)
So where that does that leave me? Based on my complex formula, I think I have to go with a middle-of-the-pack ACC school. And after careful consideration, I realize there’s only one that makes sense. And the winner is…drumroll please…I don’t hear a drumroll…seriously, give me a drumroll…fine, I guess when you’re writing by yourself and there are no drummers nearby, you’re just not going to get one…Maryland!
I’ll explain more about why I chose the Terps later. But, first, I want to hear who you guys would pick, considering you both root for teams that aren’t making the Big Dance. We can even make this a competition throughout the season. A Chanukah/Christmas competition. Or something.
STEVE MOORE: You may have gotten one of your Weird Christmas wishes when your boy Glen Miller got fired today. Maybe Penn can adopt the Princeton offense (too soon?).