Backdoor Cuts is a weekly college basketball discussion between RTC correspondents Dave Zeitlin, Steve Moore and Mike Walsh that occasionally touches on relevant subjects. This week the guys debate the teams they will choose to hate during the NCAA Tournament this year.
DAVE ZEITLIN: We’ve written a lot of words throughout this college basketball season, and let’s be honest: most of them haven’t been very good. But there was at least one column I hold a particular affinity for — our mid-December piece where we all picked different teams to support. Our reasoning was simple enough. Knowing full well our mid-major alma maters weren’t going anywhere this year (although Steve’s Boston U. team made a cute little tournament run), we each decided to throw our allegiances behind a likable team with a more realistic chance of going dancing. After not-so-careful consideration, I chose Maryland, Mike chose Ohio State and Steve chose Temple.
Which brings us to today. As the greatest sporting event in the world is set to tip off, we don’t even need to worry about brackets or silly office pools. Those are for idiots who only root for teams like Penn and St. Joe’s. We’ve got our squads, all of whom are playing great basketball at the right time. And even though I really like Ohio State and Temple (especially the Buckeyes’ Evan Turner and his love for Lady Gaga) I’m up for a friendly wager that involves Maryland crab cakes, Philly cheesesteaks and whatever people eat in Ohio. Let’s do this thing, Terps.
Evan Turner Thinking About Basketball or Gaga?
But I also say we expand on this idea. In addition to our new teams to root for, I say we all pick new teams to root AGAINST. And it can’t be Duke. Hating Duke is kind of like Madonna: It’s old and it’s been done way too much. But since it obviously shouldn’t be one of the little guys (how can we hate on our own people?), that narrows the choices. I’ll save Kentucky for Steve, since he likes Calipari about as much as those little buggers you get around your eyes when you wake up. And I have a feeling Mike will pick Oklahoma State because he just can’t get over 2004 (sorry, Mike, had to do it again). So after eliminating those schools, as well as the University of Phoenix Online, I’m deciding to go with … Kansas. Why? Well, what better team to root against than the team everyone will pick to win it all? Also, I’ve actually picked the Jayhawks many years, but they’ve usually let me down. Finally, my oldest friend is a dieahard Kansas fan and he doesn’t even know what “Rock Chalk Jayhawk” means while screaming it over and over again. I mean, come on! Are you allowed to just put any two nouns in front of your team nickname and have it be a saying? Next year at the Palestra, I’m going to start a “Textbook Ruler Quakers” chant and hope it catches on. But I digress. Um, which teams are you guys choosing?
Ok, so team to love? Team to hate? What else should we root for in our forget-office-pools-because-we-devised-our-own-system-and-no-one-else-can-play bracket?
MIKE WALSH: What are we, mayors? The food thing is just as old and played out as hating Duke and Madonna. What do you guys say we raise the stakes? Maybe the losers have to write their next column naked … we’re talking fourth base here (as if people didn’t think our infatuation with college hoops wasn’t weird enough). Or better yet, maybe the losers have to shave their dogs. Or maybe the losers have to get their wife or fiance pregna … on second though, food works. Yeah, food is fine.
Then what should I get when I win? While I’ve never actually been to Ohio, I hear they fancy themselves quite the chili connoisseurs. So when my Buckeyes are still hitting the hardwood long after Maryland and Temple have hung up their hightops, you guys can get me a big ‘ol bowl of Cincinnati-style chili. Just put it in an envelope and send it my way, I’m sure it will travel just fine.
Read the rest of this entry »