THF’s Guide For Deciding Who To Pull For In The Final Four

So the Final Four is set and for the second straight season not only was UNC shutout but so was the ACC which renders us Tar Heel fans as dispassionate observers. Of course it is basketball and Tar Heel fans are rarely dispassionate where that orange round ball is concerned. The problem with this Final Four is there is no definitive hero team to pull for at least in my opinion. So we are caught in a less of four evils situation of deciding which team will nauseate us the least if they win.

#1 Florida vs #2 UCLA

Florida

Florida is a football school and as I made it abundantly clear when UNC lost to VPI twice there is nothing worse than dropping games to a football school or having a football school encroach upon basketball and actually win the title much less two straight. I find it highly annoying that a school whose fan base cannot even bother showing up to sell out a measley 12,000 seat arena unless they are playing a Top 5 non-conference opponent should be at this level. Yet here we have Florida on the verge of doing something that most basketball schools outside of Duke and UCLA have not done and that is win back-to-back NCAA titles. So Florida winning the title is undesirable if for no other reason than I have zero inclination to watch Joakim Noah do any kind of celebrate because if I want to watch Elaine Benes type dancing I will see if I can catch that particular episode of Seinfeld.

UCLA

For myself, I can do without the whole UCLA tradition talk because outside of a title in 1995 and a Final Four appearances in 2006k 1980, and 1976 UCLA has done very little in the past 30 years. So it is interesting the media salivates over UCLA tradition when it has not really been a consistent tradition of winning outside the Wooden years. And how do I know this? Because I made the point of compiling a nice comparison for the benefit of some Bruins fans who were apparently unaware of their plight when they accosted this blog last April in response to my Final Four summary which included some profane comments I have since deleted:

On Sunday afternoon I checked my email and I was alerted to seven new comments on the blog here. I logged in and found that I had apparently ticked off UCLA fans with my Final Four post(which is interesting since I spent more time blasting LSU and Big Baby than I did anyone else.) Anyway, the comments ranged from intelligent and well thought out to idiotic and spinless such as refusing me permission to engage in oral activities with one commenters nether regions or calling me a hillbilly(oh and just because someone was born, raised, and resides in North Carolina does not make them a hillbilly, that kind of generalization about the South is only used by people who do not know better). Of course my favorite was being told that I was jealous of the UCLA legacy. Since I have been on this earth only 31 years and since my first basketball memory is the 1982 NCAA title win by my beloved Heels I really have no inkling of what went on during the UCLA dynasty other than what I read in the history books. I have only been concerned with what has happened in my lifetime. Does that mean I disregard the UCLA run? No, just like I would never disregard the 1957 NCAA Championship UNC won as a 32-0 team. However, it would be exceedingly difficult for me to be jealous of something which I never witnessed happening. So in the past 30 years UNC has thoroughly outperformed UCLA in every conceivable facet and this is not conjecture this is proven in the history books. Since 1976, the first year of the post-John Wooden era UNC has won 3 titles to UCLA’s 1, been to 10 Final Fours compared to 4 by UCLA, and won 28 more NCAA tournament games than the Bruins with a higher winning percentage. UNC has made every tournament in that span except two while UCLA has missed 8. So if jealously can be defined by being envious of a program that has consistently performed worse than yours in the course of your lifetime then your are correct I am jealous.

Anyway, I am bored with the whole UCLA tradition talk and we are undoubtedly going to hear about it all weekend including an interview with John Wooden even if they have drag him out there on life support. I would find it much more interesting if there was an interview with Sam Gilbert but he died 20 years ago.

Lesser of Two Evils: Florida.

If UCLA wins it extends the obsession the media has over Wooden and their tradition. The less I get to hear about that the better even if it means watching Noah’s feminine features for another 40 minutes or so of basketball.

#1 Ohio State vs #2 Georgetown

Ohio State

I have a similar problem with them as I do with Florida. They are really a football school though probably not to the degree Florida is, then again what do I know. I am also fairly worn out by the Greg Oden Hype Machine and the fact that the Buckeyes were on the brink of elimination not once but twice and on the first one got a very favorable call from the referees on what is defined as an intentional foul. I mean where the heck were breaks like that on Sunday for UNC? I am probably also a little miffed that this is a team that got to Final Four considering UNC beat them in Chapel Hill albeit without Oden though I have a working theory that OSU is actually better without Oden on the court as much.

Georgetown

By rule I do not pull for the team that knocks UNC out of the tournament. Obviously there have been some notable exceptions to this rule: 1985 Villanova(playing Georgetown), 1986 Louisville(playing Duke), 1987 Syracuse(playing Indiana), and 1991 Kansas(Roy Williams coached team playing Duke). As for Georgetown, there is a fairly high degree of difficulty in bringing yourself to pull for a team that was on the other side of the one of the more painful losses in UNC history. The uncalled travel is also a bit troubling since it makes this national semifinal the game between the two schools that benefited from poor officiating. The fact Georgetown is a Big East school which Outside of that there is not really a player or coach on this team I dislike for any particular reason.

Lesser of Two Evils: Georgetown.

I really do not want to relive the BCS title game which is what you would get should OSU and Florida both win. Ohio State just seems…well…undeserving in a way.

National Championship: #1 Florida vs #2 Georgetown

Lesser of Two Evils: Georgetown.

The thought of Joakim Noah “dancing” as the Gator celebrate a second straight title is a bit more than I can handle and a Gator loss in the NCAA Championship just might set up a “Roy Williams” moment for Billy Donovan when whoever is doing the postgame interview just might ask him if he is interested in the Kentucky job. And let us also remember that Dean and Roy are good friends with John Thompson III and his father John Thompson. The probability is that Dean and Roy will be pulling for Georgetown which is good enough for me. I also think Georgetown winning is a zero impact situation since their fan base is small and relatively quiet. In other words we will not have to hear obnoxious Hoya fans should they win the title. That will not be the case with the other three teams.

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7 Responses to THF’s Guide For Deciding Who To Pull For In The Final Four

  1. seth says:

    You call attention to, but don’t seem bothered by, the fact that Duke is the only other team in the history of the sport to win back-to-back championships (and this done in the post-Wooden era, and hence, during Carolina’s dominance). How can we NOT root for Florida to tarnish the single accomplishment that sets Coach K apart from the rest of the basketball world? His tournament run since ’92 is certainly nothing special. In the 2000’s, while his regular season record is obviously more impressive than our “coaching transition period,” the end result is that we both have two final fours and one championship. So, if you can’t look at the last ten years to set Duke apart, all they have is that very impressive back-to-back… and wouldn’t it be great if, in this year when their Sweet 16 run came to an end (in the first round, no less), their other claim to “dynasty” is also brought back down to earth.

    My only reason to root against Florida (I like Benice dancing) is that I don’t want their back-to-back win to mean that ESPN is going to show EVERY conference game of theirs for the next 15 YEARS.

    Duke will, of course, be better next year than this, but if next year’s freshmen aren’t that much better than this year’s are or last year’s were, then we could be witnessing the beginning of the end of the program… a long, possibly decade long decline, a la Tubby Smith, and what better way to celebrate the potential for that demise than by a team we care little about (as opposed to Kentucky, let’s enjoy that demise, too) taking away that one thing that made Duke special.

  2. Tar Heel Fan says:

    I am telling you…Bonnie Bernstein asking Billy Donovan about the UK job outside the UF locker room trumps anything else. I also think the potential instant history hype ESPN is famous for will sicken us over the coming years. But while we are at it if we are talking about taking away something special from Duke I would much rather take the “Best Game Ever” from them so we can’t stop watching the Laettner shot over and over again.

  3. seth says:

    I don’t give a sh*t about Bonnie Bernstein. Get it? Get it? Ha!

  4. TxTarheel says:

    I’d rather have a root canal scheduled Saturday afternoon . . .you’re either pulling for the devil or his evil twin in this one. neither UF or OhioState should be allowed to double-dip; the point about UF (un)selling out home games is on target. would bother me less if UCLA knocks off Florida and Georgetown wins – then I’d care less either way. Ben Howland comes across as a fairly decent guy – who was at Northern Arizona (!) not that long ago.

    Pulling for the women Tarheels to get it done – that’s who! Ivory, McCants, Hatchell

  5. Josh Bowling says:

    Larkins and Little as well.

  6. Triadboy says:

    Poor Clemson. I was pulling for them

  7. Chris says:

    I would agree, THF, let’s have Georgetown win and let the big boys go home sulking. Then at the very least we can say that it took the national champion to knock us out of the tournament. Georgetown’s the underdog, they don’t have national championship football teams, we could care less about them, John Thompson’s a decent guy, etc… it all adds up to rooting for the Hoyas, whatever a Hoya may be.

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