Who Should Syracuse Fans Be Rooting For in the Big Dance?
March Madness! The Big Dance! The Bubble! Every March, college basketball fans obsess about these topics. And then the brackets come out and everyone fills one out… trying to decide whether to be a homer or hedge against your school losing early. But what if your school is not in the bracket? If your schools stinks (see Northwestern), so be it. But when you are Syracuse and used to being in the field… it is extremely difficult for fans. Some may not even bother. For the rest of the Syracuse fans (and other schools’ fans stuck watching from afar)…regardless of who you PICK to win… who do you ROOT for?
Well, let’s start with who you WILL NOT root for…. Duke. Coach K is a great guy. But you know that only Duke fans (and fair-weather losers) root for Duke. You will not. End of story. As much as a deep run by Duke would be great for the ACC… you have to admit that a first round exit will truly make you happier. Lehigh!
North Carolina? C’mon. They have enough banners (as well as the luxury to play loose and fast with academics).
Virginia? Hmmm. This is where the Confidential leans to top the non-fan rooting index. It is rare to get behind a Goliath, but this schools has been David far more often. This team plays with intensity and intelligence. They are not a bunch of McDonald’s All-Americans holding hands for a year before cashing in. They are the quintessential college team. Hoosiers with athleticism. Throw in an underrated, humble coach that seems to always say the right things… and there you go.
Notre Dame? Nah. Although there are 10 Notre Dame football fans for every Notre Dame basketball fans, until the Irish park those football fans in the ACC, there is no need to root for Notre Dame to win it all. You may not root against them, but it is hard to get fully behind them.
Louisville? You can give this one fifteen seconds of thought. The newcomer on the block winning it all would be nice. But the Cards have had plenty of athletic success. In a Louisville/Virginia matchup, you have to want Virginia to win, right? So there it is.
North Carolina State? Well, the good news is that they will be an underdog if they make the tournament, which always makes for fun rooting. The odds of a deep run are slim. Hard to put your rooting efforts behind a team that is more likely to not make the Big Dance than win it all.
What about outside the ACC? Can you root for any other major conference team? Probably not. Gonzaga is always intriguing. But they are becoming a little too known of a quantity to really feel like an underdog. How many #1 seeds can a school have before it is simply not an outside anymore? Wichita State? This seems like a more likely choice. The Shockers fell short last year, so rooting for a deeper run this year might be fun.
So… the Confidential ranks them like this: 1. Virginia, 2. Wichita State, 3. North Carolina State, 4. Louisville, 5. Notre Dame.
What do you think? If you don’t have a school in the Big Dance–and regardless of who you will pick to win–who will you be ROOTING FOR?