Countdown To College Hoops: 70th Reason to Be Pumped, The Evil Empire
Every day, I will give a new reason to be pumped for the upcoming college basketball season. Here's the 70th reason to be excited for college basketball season.
New York Yankees. Dallas Cowboys. L.A. Lakers. Duke Blue Devils.
What do they have in common?
They are the evil empires of their respective sport.
But what makes college basketball's concept of the evil empire so great is the fact there are a multitude of hated programs.
There's evil empires of the South, the North, the East, the West, the Little Guys, and the nation as a whole. You think of a demographic and there's probably a school that fits the bill of an evil empire.
What's best about the notion of an evil empire is the raw fun a fan gets out of rooting his or her butt off for that team to lose.
The world of college basketball looks forward to the day the little guys of the ACC blow their horns of Jericho and knock down the walls of Krzyzewskiville.
There will be great rejoicing amongst the peasants of college basketball. Western Kentucky and South Alabama will hold hands. George Mason and Virginia Commonwealth will sing Kum By Ya. Indiana and Illinois will stop fighting over Eric Gordon...oh wait that's never going to happen.
So what programs out there are evil empires that when they fall will trigger Texas to sound its bell tower like wedding bells or give West Virginia a chance to burn couches?
America's college basketball evil empire is none other than Duke. There really isn't a case for any other school out there. CBSSports' facebook application for March Madness asks each user to list his or her most despised school. Duke is the overwhelming winner with 77,000 haters which is twice as many as any other school.
Year in and year out, Duke wins. The Blue Devils could be ultra talented or made up of solid role players, but it doesn't matter. It seems like they are always hoovering around the top five.
In the Northeast, Georgetown has quickly ascended to the most evil empire of the region. Under the guise of the second John Thompson to coach at GU, the Hoyas have become a target in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic.
A combination of recent success, an un-Northeast style of play, a flurry of questionable calls by refs that's benefit the Hoya Saxa, and just that high-falutin' attitude that is Georgetown has basketball fans in the Northeast clamoring for a shot at taking down the Hoya Paranoia.
In the Midwest, it's now a story of "oh how far the mighty have fallen." The evil empire that is Indiana basketball is currently in ruins. When you throw together a coach who text messages more than a 13-year-old cheerleader, graduating seniors, defections to pro-basketball, and transfers, you get a program that doesn't have a recognizable name on the active roster.
Out west there's the school that wins in everything. UCLA recently celebrated the fact they've won 100 national titles across all of college athletics. Pretty obnoxious right?
What's more obnoxious? The Bruins' history in college basketball. It's the fact they practically have a decade of winning national titles. It's the fact they keep dominating the west recently, but cannot actually win a title.
Once you get rid of Duke as the national evil empire, Kentucky is the evil empire of the South. UK's past gives everyone a reason to hate them. The Wildcats have dominated SEC basketball since its inception, winning more conference titles than every other team combined.
UK has also annoyed the state of Texas when they snatched Billy Gillespie away from A&M. Big Blue sets attendance records every year which when combined with the great tradition allows Kentucky to draw in top notch recruits every year.
Finally, two teams have battled it out to be the evil empire of the little guys—the mid-majors. Gonzaga and Memphis are hated for different reasons, but both because of their status as mid-majors.
Small conference teams don't like the Bulldogs because of the constant comparisons made to Gonzaga. If you are a mid-major and you are successful, at some point somebodies going to compare you to Gonzaga. It's a fact of life and people are sick of it.
Fans of major conference schools have begun to hate Memphis because of the conference they play in. People refused to admit how good the Tigers were through the 2008 season. Somehow the notion that Memphis played one of the hardest non-conference schedules and rolled through it didn't sink in among college basketball fans.
For that, Memphis was deemed overrated because they weren't beating all of their Conference USA foes by 30 points.
So reason number 70 to be pumped for college basketball is no matter whether you agree that these are the current evil empires of basketball, one of the best parts of college basketball is rooting for the fall of these programs.
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