Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Ranking the NCAA Tournament Field by "Likability…" Again

Grayson Allen is just the latest annoying white dude from Duke that you hate.
By Joe Parello (@HerewegoJoe)

It's a new NCAA Tournament, and that means another ranking of the most/least likable teams in the field!

Just to be nice, I've even included Vanderbilt and Farleigh Dickinson (who?), the two teams bounced from last night's first pair of play-in games. That's how generous I'm being this year.

Now, I'm normally no fan of plagiarism, but I'd like to quote myself from last year so that I don't have to write an entirely new introduction for what is, essentially, the same story, only updated.

It would be like coming up with a new rap song every year for the Madden NFL video game. That's just illogical. Anyways, to quote myself:

"What usually makes a team 'likable?'

Well, we tend to want them to play "the right way." This means buying in on defense, hitting the glass, and being able to shoot the three. You know, all white guy basketball stereotypes...

While we're at it, let's stick with racial stereotypes, because most plucky underdogs and national darlings (Gonzaga, Northern Iowa, Wisconsin, etc) have had overly "white" rosters throughout the years.

So, it helps to have white players, apparently. It's okay white America, you can admit it.

You should also probably have a likable coach, one that carries himself with dignity and seems to exude an integrity not often found in the slimy world of college coaching.

And let's not forget about academics!

That's right, every year we see people get behind the Ivy League champion (Harvard Yale this year), or some prestigious school like Stanford and claim that these teams do it with true 'student athletes.'

These institutions aren't Kentucky or North Carolina, the kids on these teams actually go to class, and obviously never get ANY benefits from being basketball players. They just play for the love of the game!

So, what we've established is that your team needs to play hard, be fundamentally sound, have some scrappy white guys, be coached by a brilliant beacon of integrity, and live up to rigorous academic standards.

Of course, if you have all those things, we just hate you even more and call you Duke.

Without further ado, here are my completely personal and subjective rankings of the 'likability' of the teams in the tournament, ranked from worst to first."

Keep in mind that I'm a Purdue grad...

68. Indiana

I hate you Hoosiers. I hate you so much.

67. Southern

There are directional schools, like Eastern Michigan, and there are even double-directional schools, like Southeast Missouri State. Then there's just… A direction. You forgot the second part of your name, Southern. You're not one of Kanye West's kids.

66. Texas

Much like Ohio State and every school in the SEC not named Kentucky, it angers me when this team is good at basketball, mostly because nobody on campus cares.

65. Wisconsin

64. Iowa

Even if you haven't watched either of these teams this year, you know they're led by goofy, awkwardly effective white dudes. Let's get a little variety into these programs.

This is the mascot from Fairleigh Dickinson awkwardly hitting on some chicks. Seriously, this is a school in the NCAA Tournament.
63. Austin Peay

62. Fairleigh Dickinson

61. Weber State

60. Hampton

59. Iona

I have no idea where any of these schools are located. Now, I could blame myself for remaining ignorant in the era of instantaneous information, but I'm instead going to blame these institutions of higher learning for not being cool enough for me to know anything about them.

I'm embracing my own ignorance, much like the American electorate.

58. Little Rock

57. Stony Brook

I don't like rocks or stones... Or brooks.

56. USC

See Texas above.

55. Saint Joseph's

54. Dayton

53. VCU

Ugh, stop it with the Atlantic 10! I can't stand that this conference is actually sorta good again.

52. Buffalo

51. Green Bay

This is clearly a midseason, 1 pm NFL game on FOX that only people in these two markets will see.

50. Utah

I like them better than BYU.

49. Texas A&M

48. Baylor

47. Texas Tech

Slightly less hateable than Texas.

46.  Michigan

My least favorite team from Michigan in this year's field (unless one of those teams above that I am ignorant to is from Michigan).

D'oh! I hate your team, but I can't hate you!
45. Butler

Stupid Butler and your damn Cinderella runs! Let a fan base that hasn't had success recently (like Purdue) get some of that action! You have like 12 students! That's enough success for the next century for you guys.

44. South Dakota State


43. Yale

Always root against the Ivy League, if only so your future boss can feel failure before he drives you to the brink of insanity later in life.

Oh, and they're former captain was expelled for sexual assault last month, and is now hitting back with some vicious victim blaming.

42. UNC Wilmington

At least the second-best UNC in the field.

41. North Carolina

Probably the best UNC in the field.

40. Oregon State

39. Oregon

Oregon is a nice state, I guess. I went there once and it was kind of pretty, but the people that live there are REALLY about living there. It's like a liberal Texas.

38. Villanova

37. Xavier

36. Providence

35. Seton Hall

Here is your reminder that these jerky Catholic schools burned the real Big East down, and then somehow got to the keep the name! This conference should be renamed the "Small Catholic Schools With Crappy Football Teams" league, but we're just so politically correct in this country.

Go CSUB Roadrunners! Meep Meep!
34. CSU Bakersfield

Another one of these Cal States?

33. Maryland

32. Cal

These two teams have a ton of NBA talent, and probably won't make it past the Sweet 16.

31. Cincinnati

Dang, I've gone this far and not mentioned how much I hate Cincinnati? They should probably be lower, but I don't feel like going back and putting them in. Just know I don't like Cincy.

30. Temple

What conference is this team in?

29. Kansas

A tolerable national power at a school with comically bad football.

28. Arizona

A tolerable national power at a school with comically low admission standards.

27. Northern Iowa

26. Chattanooga

I feel like one of these teams is going to pull off an upset, and then get blown out in the second round. They just seem like those kinds of teams, don't they?

25. UConn

National championship or bust. No seriously, they're either going to get hot and improbably win it all, or they're going to lose in the first round.

24. Colorado

And this is the pot smokin' team that might beat them.

23. Tulsa

My second-favorite Hurricane-based mascot in this tournament.  

22. UNC Asheville

Definitely the third best UNC in the field.

21. Oklahoma

I know I should hate the Sooners, since they're good at football and all, but something makes me like them better than Texas and those other football schools. Maybe because Blake Griffin went there? I don't know, this isn't a scientific ranking.

The "mastermind" behind Syracuse's middle school defense.
20. Syracuse

You've gotta hand it to Jim Boeheim for convincing us that the 2-3 zone is some master strategy, and not what a bunch of middle aged dudes run at the rec center when they're too tired to play man-to-man.

19. Kentucky

Why are murder cases hard to solve in Kentucky? No dental records, and everyone has the same DNA!

Offensive jokes aside, I do like Coach Cal and the basketball team.

18. West Virginia

Dammit, I just blew that joke on Kentucky!

17. Virginia

Less racist and backwards than West Virginia, except for the whole Civil War thing.

16. Iowa State

Georges Niang has an awesome name.

15. Middle Tennessee State

Ok, MTSU, you've survived a while on this list because I haven't found anything particularly terrible about you. Well, except the fact that you suck at basketball, but that's not really what this list is about.

14. Fresno State

Wait, this has to be a mistake. Yeah, I put this together way too hastily. Fresno State should be much lower. Just pretend I have them ranked like 45th.

13. Notre Dame

I hate the Irish in football, but I gotta tell you, I really don't mind them in basketball. I find coach Mike Brey's "used car salesman/shady lawyer" look endearing.

12. Vanderbilt

Nashville is, like, a really nice town. Seriously, you should go some time. It's lovely.

11. Florida Gulf Coast

We'll always have dunk city...

10. Holy Cross

This team finished 9th in the Patriot League during the regular season (5-13 in league play), and still found a way to win the conference tournament. You have to respect that… And have to see why they're the lowest overall seed in the entire field.

9. Stephen F. Austin

Stone Cold! Stone Cold!

8. Gonzaga

I hated them last year because they were a bunch of bums who were living off the legacy of tournament success from a decade prior.

Then they went out and made the Elite Eight, so I like them again. Go Zags!

7. Wichita State

Any team named the Shockers is ok in my book.

6. Hawaii

Oh hey, Hawaii's in the NCAA Tournament. That's kinda fun.

5. Miami

Oh hey, Miami's good at basketball. That's kinda fun.

4. Pittsburgh

I was born in the Burgh and my dad is a Pitt grad, so I guess I have to root for them.

3. Michigan State

It doesn't matter if they're a 1-seed, a 2-seed, an 8 or a 9-seed, this team is going to the Final Four. Tom Izzo is an evil wizard that can only use his powers one month out of the year.

2. Duke

So much scrappiness, toughness (both physical and mental), leadership and gamer-ness. This team would totally be the good guys in a sports movie. Well, unless it was an 80s sports movie. Then they'd be the Cobra Kai. Sweep the leg, Dukies!

1. Purdue

Uh, I went there, so Boiler Up, and allow me to get my hopes irrationally high for a miracle Purdue Final Four run!

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