Chris Johnson is an RTC Columnist. He can be reached @ChrisDJohnsonn.
College basketball fan bases are a personal and intensely provincial point of debate. Fans of teams around the country take their passionate school fandoms more seriously than they ever should, and when one university’s supporting group dare make a definitive statement elevating its own team-endorsing fervor over others, tension is inevitable. Shouting matches and recriminations are a natural evolution of the conflict. Fans care about their college basketball teams, but more than that they care about their college basketball teams more than you care about your college basketball teams. You can imagine how these kinds of debates play out amongst college hoops’ insanely obsessive followers, the Dukes and North Carolinas and Kansases of the world. The antagonistic bite on the court – that intangibly rousing feeling you get while watching Duke-UNC or Syracuse-Georgetown (ugh) or Kansas-Missouri (double ugh) – cuts just as deep as the fan base bitterness. Naturally, these arguments cross over into the unnavigable ether of comment sections and message boards and Reddit. The result is almost always a solution no one feels satisfied with. Nobody wins.
A new analytical authority tried to bring order to the psychological fan base warfare by ranking college basketball’s fanbases on a system that is…..completely unpsychological. Indeed, Emory Sports Marketing Analytics came out with its list of “Best Fan Bases” Wednesday and (drum roll, please) the Louisville Cardinals claimed the top spot. The logical next question – in what solar system is Louisville the “best fan base” in the country, and Kentucky, you know, not? – will not make members of the #BBN particularly happy; it took little time for this specific bit of information, the disparity in the rankings, to ruffle the feathers of internet-dwelling Wildcats fans. UK came in at seventh, behind the likes of Arkansas and Texas.