I was watching the Braves play the Cardinals yesterday and one of the Cardinals announcers said that he had always followed winning teams, so his fandom changed based on who was good. When Lebron signed with the Lakers yesterday I’m sure they picked up new fans who just follow wherever Lebron goes. I think the idea of changing favorite teams is weird. I can see having new interest in a team based on a new player, but not changing teams. Same with a personal move to a new city. I do have an odd collection of favorite teams. Here they are and why I’m a fan:
College Football and Basketball – University of Kentucky Wildcats – I grew up in Kentucky and attended UK for both undergrad and grad school. I watched the basketball games when I was a kid. I attended football and basketball games as a student. As a student. I had multiple classes with players from both teams. They will always be my team no matter where I live.
MLB – Atlanta Braves – I’ve always been a baseball fan. There is no team in Kentucky. I think a lot of people are fans of Cincinnati or St. Louis because they are the closest. I didn’t really have a team until TBS arrived and started airing Braves games. We started watching the Braves because all of the games were on TV. They were really bad, but we watched anyway. I was finally rewarded for my loyalty when they went through a stretch of being one of the best teams in the game. I stuck with them when they got bad again and am now enjoying a season where they are back in first place.
NFL – Baltimore Ravens – I didn’t really get invested in an NFL team as a kid. I don’t even remember watching much football. When we moved to the DC area, nothing about the Redskins made me want to change that. I didn’t start watching the Ravens when they fist came to town. It took a few years for me to start watching and then I was hooked and I’m now a season ticket owner(though I am trying to sell them)
NBA – Washington Wizards – This is the one where I can say I started watching because of a player, but at least they are local. I am a basketball fan, but never really watched the NBA. Since Calipari has been at UK there have been a lot of UK guys in the NBA. One of those is John Wall who was my favorite player on Calipari’s first team. He was drafted y our local team. It still took a while for me to become a fan of the team, but I’m there now. I have no idea if my interest will end when Wall leaves.
NHL – I just can’t get in to hockey. I don’t know why.
Those are my teams. I don’t expect it ti change. If Wall leaves Washington it’s more likely that I will watch less NBA than it is for me to pick a new team.
At the end of this post I will give my upset and final four picks. Before that, though, I have some thoughts on some tweaks I would like to see made to the tournament, especially selection of teams.
- The play in games should not involve small conference champions. These teams have already had their play in game. It was called the conference tournament championship. They already earned their spot in the field of 64. The teams playing in the play in games should all be at-large teams. Make the last teams in play for their spot, not teams that already earned that spot.
- Stop rewarding mediocrity. No one should be in the field if they have a losing record in their conference. Why are teams like Oklahoma(losing conference record, lost 8 of their last 10 games) in the field while teams with better records are left out? Why are any mediocre power conference teams selected while better mid majors are left out? If you really want the tournament to be the best 68 teams then send the best teams.
- Understand your fans. I know you think a matchup of big Kentucky vs little Kentucky school will add to the drama, but all that does is give us one less game to care about. We would watch and cheer for the little Kentucky team against anyone else and still watch and cheer for Kentucky. If you match them up, we will watch and complain about you messing up our chance to cheer for our underdog. Luckily, UK is not playing Murray State this year, but I’m sure if I looked I could find a matchup that has divided loyalties.
- Go back to the old selection show. The tweak this year didn’t work. It was terrible.
Now for the picks:
Upset specials –
Loyola-Chicago over Miami
Murray St over West Virginia
Butler over Arkansas
New Mexico St over Clemson and Auburn
Final four – Cincy, Xavier, Villanova, Michigan State
Championship – Cincy vs Villanova
Champion – Villanova.
I’ve decided it’s time for me to take a stand on the whole kneeling issue in the NFL. It’s time for these players to stand up and act like real American football players. These guys have lost their way and are too distracted by political motivations to focus and act like the real American football players they are. They spend too much time listening to the FAKE NEWS MEDIA and not enough time acting like real American football players. I’m here to help them out. Below is a list of how real American football players should act with a guarantee that no owner will threaten to fire you(as long as you are productive):
Beat your wives and girlfriends.
Use illegal substances, both recreational and performance enhancing.
Drive under the influence.
Use racial slurs.
Get injured by a stripper on a party bus(Hi, Jacoby Jones!)
If possible, do all of the above in the same weekend. It’s just boys being boys. It’s just locker room stuff. You will have nothing to worry about(as long as you are productive). Just be sure not to kneel. Stand up and act like a real American football player!
At the end of the college basketball season Georgetown fired their coach. This was a big deal because their coach was the son of legendary Georgetown coach John Thompson. Before he was fired, several articles were written in the Post about the possibility that he would be fired. Many thought he would get more time because the school didn’t want to upset Big John. Once he was fired and the coaching search started there were articles about who should be the next coach and the concept of “keeping it in the family” came up. In the end, Georgetown did keep it in the family and hired Patrick Ewing. Word is that they tried to hire several non-family coaches and were turned down. Ewing has a lot of experience as an assistant NBA coach, but no college coaching experience. He might be good. He might not. I do wonder if they would have hired a non-family guy with the same experience. Did they hire Ewing because he was the best available after the others said no or did they hire him because of his name?
I’m not a big fan of the “keep it in the family” mindset. I watched(with glee) UNC go through down years because of this. When Dean Smith retired they hired his long time assistant Bill Gutheridge and then Matt Doherty. Everyone knows they wanted Roy Williams back then, but he was not ready to leave Kansas. The problem was that once he was out they were still set on hiring a UNC guy and ended up with mediocrity. A program like UNC should be able to hire almost any coach they want and should hire the best available, not the best UNC guy available. They were fortunate to get Roy Williams after Doherty didn’t work out. Now, both UNC and Duke are getting closer to a time when they will both need to replace a legend. Does UNC still try to keep it in the family? Will Duke go that direction as well? Are there viable family options for them? It will be interesting to see what they do when the time comes. I wouldn’t be surprised if Dadgum Roy retires now that he won another championship.
I am a Kentucky alum and still a big fan of the program. There are many UK fans who are always pushing for a Kentucky guy to be the next coach. The problem is there are no viable options out there for this. None of the Kentucky guys in coaching are at a level to be ready to be the coach of Kentucky basketball. I wish someone like Travis Ford or John Pelphrey had been successful and ready to take over whenever Coach Cal leaves, but they will probably never get there. The closest we have to someone in the “family” as a successful coach is Richard Pitino. I would be curious to see if he is an option in a few years when we are looking for a new coach. Having Little Ricky as the coach would be interesting. However, as much fun as it would be to have a Kentucky guy ready to take over, I would much rather just hire the best coach available even if he is a Dukie or Little Ricky. I never have understood why others feel otherwise.