There is no finer harbinger of spring than the first weekend of the NCAA tournament. Often, the planets will align and you will find that the first day of the tournament also happens to take place on one of the first legitimately warm days of the spring, which allows you to drink outside for the first time in ages while watching your bracket go to shit. And when that happens, it feels as if winter melts right off of you. The layers of depression and monotony and blubber you built up over the winter suddenly dissolve. You forget just how NICE the world can be at times, and those early days of the tourney serve as a remarkably pleasant reminder. Also, there is beer.
In fact, the NCAA tourney is the rare sporting event that is far more exciting at its beginning than it is at its end. By the time you get to the final, all the fun teams have been eliminated and you're stuck with the same asshole teams that always reach the final (I'm picking Duke to win it all this year because I hate myself). Once there are only two people left at the party, the party kind of sucks. It's a lot more fun when EVERYONE is there, bumping and grinding into each other and generally making a mess of things. Granted, the NCAA has completely dicked everyone over by making this a field of 68, forcing you to read four more team capsules than you really want to and to risk everything betting on some lousy 11-seed play-in team to advance beyond the first round. That all sucks. But in general, the tournament remains a reliable signpost in life that things do not always have to be shitty and horrible.
So, with that in mind, let's toss aside the usual Hater's Guide motif and instead do a LOVER'S GUIDE to the entire field of 68 teams. We'll say nice things about each and every school. Of course, that love will end up being misguided, and many people will take my compliments as a form of moronic insult. I apologize in advance for this. It's not my fault that I don't know where Iona is located. In Panama, I think?
Anyway, let's begin.
1. Louisville. Why not start off our Lover's Guide with the greatest lover of all, Rick Pitino? Ladies, Rick has a barstool, a legal gag order, and six inches of pure Italian soppressata to give you any time you need it. And the best part is that he'll finish down his leg for you. Anyway, I think it's cute that a lot of people are picking Louisville to win it all when they're stuck in the hardest region and they never win anything. Never have big dreams been crushed so effortlessly or predictably.
2. Duke. COOK-OUT! I'd wade into hell itself for a chance to eat at Cook-Out. And the cute thing about Duke people is that, when you meet them, they always make sure to let you know that they're not like THOSE Duke people: the Crazies and Junior Koch brothers and the Burnish Edgerton IV's. They know people hate the shit out of them. They do their modest best not to increase that burning ire. Too bad. I still hope they get crushed.
3. Michigan State. You can always pick them to advance and be reasonably confident that they'll come through for you since they make the Final Four three times a goddamn year (this is Izzo's 16th straight tournament). I used to be Mr. Contrarian and be like, "This is the year they go down early!" That is an awful strategy. Never do this.
4. Saint Louis. After Rick Majerus died, a handful of people rediscovered our old post about him sitting on campers. Boy, they were mad! This one comes from reader Hoppyscotch:
Rick Majerus, nor anyone else in this world should have to deal with your scumbag journalism. You make money off this and you should be ashamed! Rick was one of the best people I have ever met. He was loyal, cared for those that were less fortunate than himself, and always did it without fanfare. He will be missed by those "who actually knew him". I've known him for over thirty years, and he was a caring, compassionate man. He was a basketball genius! He busted his players asses, and tried to get the best of them as players and teachers. He wanted all of his players to be successful in life more than in basketball. That is a fact! So in short, kiss my ass scumbag! It's easy to throw stones when you don't have to worry about the lives you are affecting. This man meant the world to me and so many others. He worked his entire life to help people of all races, and socio-economic backgrounds. Take a look in the mirror in what you do. Disgraceful!
Whoa hey, who was impugning Rick Majerus' character? I just thought it was funny that he sat on people.
5. Oklahoma State. Are they still coached by that drunk guy? No? Is his kid in charge? I think his kid is in charge now. Either way, there's a school that has shitloads of money and no academic reputation of any kind to speak of. Sounds like a recipe to PARTAY if you ask me!
6. Memphis. I submit that all students at Memphis should have the option to major in Pimping. You could study the societal erosion that has caused the pimp to thrive. You could write dissertations about the psychological hold pimps have over their hos. You could design pimp outfits and grills and canes. You could study in the field with real street pimps who operate mere feet away from campus. And when you graduate, your degree is printed on leopard skin and handed to you by Terrence Howard personally. Enrollment would triple.
7. Creighton. Kudos to Creighton for being in the tourney AND for being one of Nebraska's top seven white baby names. (In Utah, you spell it Craytynn, FYI).
8. Colorado State. If you're in Colorado and you're not located near Denver or a major ski resort, you're basically in polygamist territory. And so I salute the students of Colorado State for hiding all their sister wives in the barn before hitting the road to watch their beloved Rams get blasted out of the first round.
9. Missouri. They're in the SEC now! It's so cute how they think that makes them a legitimately competitive athletic institution. By the way, the Tigers were
second sixth in the SEC in a down year for the conference, which is amusing because I've been told it's a down year for EVERY conference. That's right: Every conference is horrible at basketball. Except for the Sloan Conference.
10. Cincinnati. It's just not the same without Huggy Bear. When I think of Cincinnati, I think of Bob Huggins wearing mock turtlenecks and Art Long pulling a Mongo on every nearby police horse. Those were the days, man. By the way, I never found out what happened to Nick Van Exel's mouth. That was one fucked up mouth!
11. Middle Tennessee State. You see a school named Middle Tennessee State and you think WHOA HEY, THAT STATE IS TOO SMALL AND TOO STUPID TO HAVE AN ESTABLISHED MIDDLE REGION. Ah, but you're wrong. Turns out, Tennessee is 650,000 miles long. Driving across it actually gets you halfway to Mars. And so MTSU has a right to exist as a random directional school where drunken hillbillies go to major in fixin' boat parts. Such a shame they lost last night.
11. St. Mary's. Is this the school with the guy in the bowtie? As you can see, all my college basketball knowledge was frozen in place in 1997 and remains, to this day, unaltered. Really looking forward to seeing what Jim Harrick's Bruins will do in this tourney, guys.
12. Oregon. If I'm ever accused of murder (you'll get yours one day, Phil Simms), this is the first state I'm fleeing to. Such tall trees. The Feds will NEVER find me. And if they do, I can simply distract them with Oregon's putrid test lab uniforms and get away. Do Oregon players know that they are essentially unpaid mannequins? They sure play like it.
13. New Mexico State. Back in the day, NMSU used to be a bitchin' Cinderella team. They upset DePaul AND Nebraska in back-to-back tournaments, which sounds lame because those schools are ass. But still... BIG FUCKING DEAL. This was back before the Internet and all that shit, when the only brackets you knew were yours and the six other idiots in your pool. So when you picked NMSU to pull the upset, you felt like the only motherfucker on the planet to get it right. You EXULTED in your brilliance. Oh God, I wish this shit still meant as much to me. Eventually you have a family and all of this gets put in perspective, which is awful. I'd much rather be an arrogant, myopic little shit.
14. Valparaiso. Did you know they have a nursing school? Mmmm... sensuous nurses...
If you can minor in Therapeutic Handjobs, I'm for Valpo 100 percent.
15. Albany. No town says, "Hey, you're now 1/10th of the way across New York State!" quite like Albany. That part of the state should really be called Southern Canada. We've explored the surface of the moon more extensively than this area of the country. Anyway, Albany plays Duke in the first round, so thanks to them in advance for going up 15-10 early, getting my hopes up, and then losing by 40.
16. North Carolina A&T. Jesus, how many of these teams are there? Oh, right. Anyway, all I know is that this school would be a lot more fun if you switched the A and the T around.
16. Liberty. When you need a go-to example of a batshit crazy religious school and Bob Jones University is already being used, Liberty's your place. All you have to do is go SPEAK there to let the world know you wanna burn some gays and circumcise the occasional clitoris. It's got a great brand like that. They lost.
1. Gonzaga. The higher Gonzaga's seed, the more doomed they are to fail. This is a shame, as I really would like to see a mid-major team win it all one day, as Butler nearly did a few years back. I think Gonzaga should deliberately lose 10 games every year before winning their conference tourney, securing a lowly 10 seed and giving Gus Johnson (who will not be working the tourney anymore, alas), the chance to shit himself in excitement. THE RUNNER...
2. Ohio State. They're eligible? They didn't pay off players with money stolen from a botched warehouse robbery or anything? Well, that's a refreshing change of pace. The best part of watching Ohio State play basketball is that, occasionally, Greg Oden's ghost will come walking through the arena walls, rattling chains and crying out in purgatorial agony. OOOOOHHHH OOOOOOHHH THE CHAINS MAKE MY KNEE ACHE!
3. New Mexico. Whoa hey, this seed is way too high. Please consult Gonzaga in the "How To Fuck Up All That Good Will You've Accumulated" handbook. Anyway, New Mexico is a great state for smoked chiles and being abducted by a serial killer. One day, a serial killer will combine those two qualities and cook his victims into a spicy, delicious mole sauce. THE RED CHILE KILLER.
4. Kansas State. Did you know that KSU has an acceptance rate of 99 percent? In an age of increasingly cutthroat competition for slots at major academic institutions, I salute KSU's efforts to include EVERYONE who applies: parolees, kindergarteners, 40-year-old undercover cops trying to bust a meth ring, and such and such.
5. Wisconsin. I picked you to make the Final Four, Wisconsin! YES, YOU! Congratulations on being the team in this bracket that I have the most tepid amount of faith in. I mean, no one was gonna pick Gonzaga. That's just crazy talk. You ease into my Final Four essentially by default. I assume you will get there by slowing down every game to a deathly crawl and eking out four consecutive wins by the score of 32-29 every time, essentially ruining the entire sport in the process. Good on ya!
6. Arizona. Is Lute Olson dead? You guys should play in his memory. Ol' Lutey will be watching you from heaven, with an impish grin on his face. Oh, how he loves it up there, high-fiving with Al McGuire and playing cloud volleyball. He'll be all right in the afterlife, I tell you.
7. Notre Dame. I never should have taught my mom how to send a text message. One second, she's a technophobe unable to comprehend the REPLY ALL function in her CNet email account. The next, she's sending me flurries of text messages about whatever random goddamn thing pops into her head. The other day she literally sent me this text:
have you seen the new notre dame bball uniforms, ugh
Keep in mind that this woman never watches basketball. GOD MOM STOP TRYING TO BOND WITH ME JEEZ I'M SO EMBARASSED. To her credit though, they really are horrible unis. They look like anti-camouflage.
8. Pittsburgh. At least this year, we won't have to pretend like Pitt will finally make some noise in the tournament. They can just take their crap seed and bow out meekly in the first round and we can pretend all this never happened. I have a soft spot in my heart for teams that are reliably terrible come tournament time. There are certain teams that will never ruin your bracket, and Pitt is one of them. There are very few teams like this. Most of them are all over the place. So I cherish the perennial chokers as I would a newborn fawn, or a box of Crunch N Munch.
9. Wichita State. Awwwww yeah...
Two in the pink, one in the stink, AMIRITE, BRAH?! Every 19-year-old has the Shocker on his stupid bucket list. "Dude, one day I'm gonna bang an Asian girl AND I'm gonna give Tina the shocker! FUCKING SLAY THAT SHOCKER." Teenage boys are horrible animals.
10. Iowa State. It's amazing how you forever associate certain schools with one exact player from one time in your life. For example, Iowa State is ALWAYS Marcus Fizer to me. Always. Christ himself could return and lace it up for the Cyclones and I'd be like, "Whoa hey, he's going to Marcus Fizer's school!" These early tournament games and players stick with you all your life if you happen to be the exact right age.
11. Belmont. I met a student from Belmont two weeks ago and he was a shockingly pleasant kid. As I said before, most males that age are miserable, disgusting animals, so it always stuns me when one of them turns out to be relatively polite. Maybe it was a con. Maybe that kid waited for me to leave the room before being like AWWW FUCK YEAH. TIME TO SNAP A PICTURE OF THIS GIRL'S ASS AND SEND IT TO HER FOLKS. It's possible. Likely, even.
12. Ole Miss. There's no other school that could possibly get away with sticking "Ole" into their name. You know ol' Miss! Where everyone is poor and racism never dies! COME ON, GANG! YOU KNOW YOU LOVE HER. It's like officially nicknaming yourself Ain't University.
13. Boise State. Do they play on a blue court? No? But CSU Bakersfield does? That is piss poor hustle, Boise State. You let that trucking school steal your gimmick. Anyway, I fully expect Boise St. to win their play-in game and then upset KSU thanks to a buzzer beater from their starting point guard, who then runs and proposes to his hot cheerleader girlfriend in the stands as fans storm the court. Anything else would be a real letdown.
13. La Salle. As in Eriq?
JUST LET IT SHINE THROUGH!
Please note that La Salle is the alma mater of AJ Daulerio. So if you want to learn to grow a mustache and pass out in a puddle of urine, this is the school for you.
14. Harvard. Obviously, the people at Harvard don't need up to say nice things about them to get a proper self-esteem boost. That's really more of a Belmont need. People who went to Harvard are more than happy to tell you how great Harvard is and how a simple four-month stint at the Harvard Lampoon was all they needed to get a writing gig at The Daily Show because it's just so fucking easssssssy for you people, isn't it? You float through life with no real comprehension for how difficult things are OUT IN THE SHIT. YOU FUCKERS. I HATE YOU. I HOPE NEW MEXICO BEATS YOU BY 97 POINTS.
Sorry, back to the Lover's Guide...
15. Iona. Turns out they're located in New York State. Why not? You may as well put something there.
16. Southern University. I dare say you will not find a more frequently picked 16 seed than you will this year with Southern playing against Gonzaga. Plenty of people will pick SU to beat Gonzaga and strut like peacocks if they pull off the upset. Yeah yeah, way to go, buddy. You're now in the fifth percentile of the ESPN Pizza Hut Bracket Challenge. Enjoy it while it lasts, because some temp worker in North Dakota is about to blow your ass out of the water with a near-perfect bracket.
1. Kansas. The thing about Kansas is that their seed never seems to matter. You can pencil them in for a 1 or a 2 seed every year and it will tell you absolutely nothing about their future performance. Their tourney history reads like a goddamn uterine contraction monitor. They could easily shit the bed in the second round, or even the first! They drew Western Kentucky this year! Holy shit, Western Kentucky wins in this tourney all the time! Everyone will be looking for Southern to pull off the miracle while the Hilltoppers, under your nose, will go out and lay waste to every bracket in a single blow.
Anyway, I look forward to Kansas doing the exact opposite of what your bracket thinks they'll do. They really keep you on your toes by costing you money every year.
2. Georgetown. As you know, Georgetown students are some of the most pampered, repulsive rich kids ever to walk the face of the Earth. We're talking about kids who drive a pink Mercedes and keep an emergency pair of docksiders in the glove box. There has never been a greater cultural disconnect between a school's basketball team and its general undergrad population. Georgetown players may as well wear AAU jerseys on the court, they're so utterly divorced from the institution. And in a way, that helps their cause. Rooting for Georgetown basketball doesn't necessarily mean you approve of Georgetown in any other way, which is good, because fuck those kids.
3. Florida. I demand that Florida do Florida-type things every time they play a tournament game. I'd like to see Florida players cut off opposing players' hands because they had a heated argument over where to place a pup tent in the backyard. I'd like to see Billy Donovan attack the opposing coach with a riding mower. I'd like an alligator to win a jump ball. Florida should represent their freakshow hellhole of a state properly.
4. Michigan. Wait, is Michigan good at basketball again? That can't be right. Every time I think Michigan is good at sports again, they revert back to being the same terrible program they've been for over a decade. This 4 seed is surely the result of some kind of government-mandated Head Start subsidy, a program meant to spur economic growth only to fail thanks to bureaucratic corruption and general incompetence. Anyway, now that they're actually in the tournament, expect Michigan's team to transform into five pieces of peanut brittle that are stomped into tiny shards by actual basketball schools.
5. VCU. A 5 seed puts you right in that "too high of a seed to be an official Cinderella, but too low of a seed to make it seem like anyone takes you seriously" grey zone that many mid-majors fall into. Either way, I'm putting VCU in the Sweet Sixteen because Shaka, Shaka, Shaka, Shaka Khan Shaka Khan, Shaka Khan, Shaka Khan Shaka Khan, let me rock you let me rock you, Shaka Khan let me rock you, that's all I wanna do Shaka Khan, let me rock you let me rock you, Shaka Khan let me rock you, let me feel for you feel for you...
6. UCLA. This is the part where I direct you to all the mean things Tommy Craggs said about John Wooden. GET HIM, UCLA FANS! Thankfully, the Wizard of Westwood never heard any of Craggs's treacherous insults because his massive earlobes blocked out any mention of them. Anyway, it's fun when UCLA advances deep into the tournament because you get to hear Jim Nantz wax romantic about the days when UCLA won everything every year. Jim Nantz yearns for the olde tymes, when monopolies were legal and filthy groundworkers could easily be quashed by the ruling aristocrats. THEM'S WERE THE DAYS, FRIENDS.
7. San Diego State. Time to reprint this email from reader Bob:
That place is a den of sin. One of my friends started getting a BJ at a NYE party there 3 years ago. He's getting it in my other friend's room, and the door was not secured. The guy who lives in the room unwittingly walks in and, obviously surprised, begins to walk out. The girl then stops him and says, "Why don't you join in?". He does, and as the eiffel towering is about to go down, the roomowner goes, "Have you ever done this before?" She stops with the other guy and says with a totally straight face, "I go to San Diego State."
I chose the wrong college. I really did.
8. North Carolina. Remember that one year when UNC and Wisconsin both made the Final Four as 8 seeds and everyone was unhappy? That sucked. If they pull it off again, I'll piss in the Chapel Hill reservoir.
On a positive note, I went to Chapel Hill last year and I can report that students there are not unattractive and are uniquely successful at making you feel like a dirty, creepy old man. There was some kind of theme night going on at all the frat parties, so all the girls were dolled up in costumes and all the guys were drinking in the street. All of them looked, really, REALLY excited to be in college. Not as excited as San Diego State students receiving complimentary blowjobs, but excited all the same.
9. Villanova. Remember that shit I said about Marcus Fizer? Same thing goes here for Kerry Kittles. I think certain college players should be grandfathered into their school's program for all time. Kerry Kittles should have been allowed to play at Villanova for life, as long as he pleased. It's not like he had anything better to do.
10. Oklahoma. This is just the kind of forgettable, at-large BCS conference team that I completely ignore when doing a bracket, only to watch them ruin everything (like Auburn did that one year). There's always one team like this out there, and the frustrating thing about them is that you will NEVER guess right. You'll pick some other shit team to make a surprise run to the Elite Eight, only to have them bow out instantly and have a team like OU storm through the bracket. It's like having a pass at the goal line returned for a touchdown. Really dispiriting.
In better news, Oklahoma will be playing SDSU, and I fail to see how they can lose when SDSU players will be receiving fellatio at mid-court all game long.
11. Minnesota. Minnesota! I'm from MinneSOta! Nice! Outside of hockey, of course, University of Minnesota athletics are pretty much a waste of time. The football team is always terrible. And the basketball team plays on a stage for some bizarre reason. I keep expecting a performance of Aida to break out every time they play.
Anyway, the reasons Minnesota athletics tend to lag behind the rest of the Big Ten are easy to spot. First of all, it's really fucking cold. Secondly, the school itself is fairly impersonal. It's not some charming state school like Virginia nestled in a bucolic countryside setting, with attractive co-eds strolling the quad and dipshits twirling lax sticks all over the place. Your average Minnesota student is a 26-year-old commuter from Burnsville who's taking classes in between working as a dental receptionist. It's not a COLLEGE college. It's like a really nice DeVry. But I'm glad they're in.
12. Akron. Hey, LeBron is from there! And I think we all agree that he's not that much of a cocksucker anymore. He gets extra points for not trying to re-nickname himself Way of James.
13. South Dakota State. Sooooooo not San Diego State.
14. Northwestern State. FACT: Buzzer-beaters are improved by 20 percent when they are called by either Gus Johnson or Bill Raftery:
You should really know better than to pick Iowa to do anything in the tourney. Anyway, Northwestern State faces an even bigger Goliath this year in Florida. But if Florida decides to really start doing some serious @_FloridaMan-type shit as I have suggested, NSU might have a chance to repeat history. I like they're odds if Billy Donovan decides to spend the game impregnating four strippers and a nearby lemur.
15. Florida Gulf Coast. This is a school? Really? I like it when the tourney alerts you to a school's existence for the very first time. It's like the college literally appeared out of fucking thin air. I can't even imagine what this school is like. The Gulf Coast of Florida is REAL Florida. All the men look like aspiring pro wrestlers. Every woman is trying to convince the lawn boy that killing her husband is the only way they can continue fucking each other. I assume that FGCU allows you to major in both areas.
16. Western Kentucky. Again, they make the tournament fun...
That never gets old. I could live to be 90 and lose both my legs to clots and I will still jump off the couch every time I see a tourney buzzer-beater. If you can't get excited watching that, you suck as a person.
1. Indiana. Even though it's a nice thought, I'm not buying into the idea that Indiana is relevant again. I know damn well that every backwards asshole in that state is STILL bitter that Bobby Knight got the gate. They're like the Favretards in Green Bay who never fully accepted Aaron Rodgers. Secretly, these people still wish that Bobby was around to spit at the press and whip his players because WHIPPIN' IS LEARNIN'. If IU actually wins the title this year, I bet Tom Crean will get 700,000 Hoosiers emailing him telling him, "'Bout damn time," like they were waiting too long for a shrimp cocktail.
2. Miami (FL). I'm never convinced when a perennial also-ran in a major conference suddenly has a big year and nabs a rare 1 or 2 seed, and I say that knowing full well that Miami has an awesome coach and had a brilliant season. So hopefully, they won't make like Oregon State whenever they get a 2 seed and shit the bed immediately. I'd like to think that this is the beginning of a Golden Age for Miami basketball. I'd like to think that potential recruits saw all the football stories about Nevin Shapiro and free hookers and were like HOLY SHIT, I NEED TO PLAY AT MIAMI. Then Miami could become the dominant program in the ACC for the next three months until the ACC falls apart in a massive conference reshuffling, and Duke and UNC become middling teams for the next three decades. And Coach K dies. All of that would be pleasant.
3. Marquette. Every Marquette game includes at least six soft-focus montages of Al McGuire being Al McGuire. And the reason that CBS and the like love bringing up Al McGuire is because coaches today SUCK. They're awful human beings. They have little to offer in the way of personality or outside interests. And if you dare to actually be a bit colorful, fans and the media tear into your shit because you aren't 100 percent focused on BASKETBAWL. We get the coaches we deserve, people. I'd like more coaches to be drunken raconteurs, please. Here are a few Al McGuire stories from this message board. I have no earthly idea if they're true or not and I don't really care:
Apparently he got drunk once (not unusual) and set out from New York City in a rowboat with a case of beer and some bologna sandwiches headed for Ireland...
At his first game as a head coach at Belmont Abbey he made a bet that he would buy an ice cream cone for every fan in attendance if they did not win. Al lost and was on the hook for something like 2500 ice cream cones...
Al McGuire's restaurant evaluation method: "If the bread is warm & the waiter is gay, the food will be good."
4. Syracuse. Sorry about that whole "your assistant coach likes teenage boys" thing, guys! Hopefully, this 4 seed should make up for your being inconvenienced. Also, I respectfully disagree with Barry taking sides in the not-so-legendary Katz-Boeheim beef of '013. Andy Katz can eat hog.
5. UNLV. Apologies for the nostalgia run, but I miss the days when a middling school could become a basketball power simply by hiring a crooked coach and shower their players with cash and champagne-filled hot tub orgies. Back when UNLV was dominant, there was someone around to put Duke in their place when Duke got a little too uppity for their own good (which was all the time). Then Laettner beat Larry Johnson's undefeated UNLV team and the whole system went to shit. It's awful. I always root for the most crooked schools because crooked schools are fun. AMIRITE, KENTUCKY?!
6. Butler. I'd shit hot knives for them to make the Final Four again and finally win it. History's biggest cocktease happened right here, in this video:
God, what could have been.
7. Illinois. Let's do the Will Leitch voice for this one: "Heavens to Betsy! My beloved basketball Cardinals are in the tourney? Why, that's all much too much for this simple country lad to handle! I hope they beat Colorado. I mean, no offense to Colorado. PLEASE DON'T BE MAD AT ME, COLORADO. You're a lovely state and I wish you nothing but the very best and one day I will visit Colorado! But jeez, I have to root for the Illini, you know? I can't wait to watch this game right after I get out of a screening of Blue In The Face 2: Die Bluer. I hated it because Woody Allen didn't direct it. WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE WOODY FILM, GUYS?!"
8. NC State. I'm told that NC State was this year's token early surprise top-10 team that ended up sucking. Is that right? Awwwwww, so cute. At least they'll have the decency to bow out early. But wait a second...
9. Temple. TEMPLE? Oh Christ, they never win jack shit. I remember back in the Rick Brunson days when I would always get cute and put Temple in the Final Four and they never failed to eat a bag of shit. Fucking Temple. Do we REALLY need that many colleges in the greater Philadelphia area? Couldn't we contract this one? It's not like anyone would notice. John Chaney isn't there anymore to yell at people.
10. Colorado. See: Oklahoma.
11. Bucknell. They'd be a lock to advance if this was a water polo tournament. Alas, this is basketball, which is played on dry land. FUN FACT: Half of all Bucknell students actually have the first name Bucknell.
12. Cal. I've always found it odd that the sports side of Cal is called Cal and yet everyone calls the SCHOOL Berkeley. It's like the athletics department deliberately decided, "Wait, we can't put BERKELEY on the helmets, because then other teams will think we're bossy hippies and want to kick the living shit out of us. Let's call ourselves CAL." And you know what? It works. Every time I watch Cal play football or basketball, I completely forget that their school is a haven for facist vegans and future domestic eco-terrorists. Branding is everything.
13. Montana. Montana! The state everyone would move to if they could afford to leave everyone they've ever known or loved behind. I bet the people who have the balls to uproot and move out there are intensely pleased with themselves. You get to live like GOD out there. You can buy a 60,000-square foot log cabin for $8 and own your own mountain range. One day, I will make like Sam Neill in Red October and make the move.
14. Davidson. I went to prep school with Brandon Williams, who went on to play for Davidson and eventually played 18 games in the NBA. And when you go to school with a dude who ends up being a D-I athlete or ends up playing professionally, you never, ever forget it. Every time I see the name Davidson, I think, FUCK YEAH I SAW BRANDON WILLIAMS AT SCHOOL ONCE FOR SIX MINUTES. When you're that young, the idea that there are people who are your age who'll make it in the big colleges or pros seems insane. I felt like that guy was 20 years older than me when I watched him dunk in the school gym. It was cool as shit. Marquette is doomed.
15. Pacific. I have nothing. I am spent. All I remember is former Pacific running back Ryan Benjamin and that's it.
16. LIU-Brooklyn. We all make fun of hipsters for being hipsters. But secretly, I think we all know they do a lot more good than harm. Without hipsters, there wouldn't be a food truck in your hood selling fried pig ear sandwiches. Without hipsters, there wouldn't be any employees at Pitchfork to wade through thousands of terrible albums to find that Arcade Fire album you ended up liking. And without hipsters, we wouldn't be able to make fun of hipsters. So I salute them while punching them in the dick.
16. James Madison. Alas, we have come to the end of our Lover's Guide. I hope you found as uninformative and useless as I have, and that you are now properly settled in to go forth to the bar tomorrow and enjoy your libations. Enjoy yourselves, people. And, as always, fuck Duke.
Drew Magary writes for Deadspin and Gawker. He's also a correspondent for GQ. Follow him on Twitter @drewmagary and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also order Drew's new book, Someone Could Get Hurt, through his homepage.