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Why Your Tourney Feel-Good Story Sucks: Northwestern

David Banks/Getty Images
David Banks/Getty Images

Some people are fans of the Northwestern Wildcats. But many, many more people are NOT fans of the Northwestern Wildcats. This 2017 Deadspin tourney preview is for those in the latter group. This will be the only one. Don’t ask me to do the other 67 asshole teams.


Your school: Northwestern

Your record: 23-11, No. 8 seed

Your town: Evanston, Ill., which is NOT Chicago. Don’t go to Northwestern and tell me you’re in Chicago, because you’re not in fucking Chicago. That is fake geography. You’re in Chicago’s Westchester.

Your coach: Chris Collins. Holy shit, is that Chris Collins the Dookie? FUCK Chris Collins. He looks like Marco Rubio had a baby with Egghead from Batman. I was down with the whole Northwestern-as-Cinderella angle back when the late Ricky Byrdsong was the coach. Remember Ricky Byrdsong? Goddamn, I loved Ricky Byrdsong.

But screw Chris Collins.

What sucks: It’s tournament time, and this year’s field features the standard group of heavyweights and dipshit schools who suck for the reasons that they’ve always sucked. Duke is the worst. Gonzaga will blow a high seed again. Wichita State is a Koch Industries think tank masquerading as an underdog. Kentucky is laudable for its openly mercenary approach to the sport and utterly despicable in every other regard. Kansas is a five-man letdown. Michigan State will either beat everyone or crap out early, so long as it’s the opposite of whatever my bracket says. North Carolina is tolerable only because they aren’t Duke. And Iowa State is worthless.

The most notable wrinkle in this year’s field is the presence of Northwestern, who are making their first-ever appearance. That sounds neat, right? Those scrappy little Evanston underdogs finally made The Dance, and there’s nothing the media loves more than when a school famous for its academics actually goes and wins something of import before all their players fuck off to go work at Goldman Sachs. “OMG the smart nerds are doing sports!” Also, Julia Louis-Dreyfus’s kid is on this team, and she’s already proven to be a quality sports mom:


Again, very neat. On the surface, it’s easy to root for Northwestern. Now let me explain why you shouldn’t ever do that.

1. Rovell.


2. Rovell.

Illustration for article titled Why Your Tourney Feel-Good Story Sucks: Northwestern

This guy collects Northwestern swag on eBay. Christ. Now you know why Northwestern is a finishing school for sociopaths.

3. Rovell aside, Northwestern has unquestionably produced more sports-media bozos than anywhere else, pound for pound. Did you know Wilbon went to Medill? Wait five seconds and I’m sure he’ll bring it up. Look at this guy kiss the inside of his own ass:

“I don’t really consider myself a broadcaster… It’s still journalism for me, but I refer to it storytelling more and more… People don’t write profiles anymore… You guys are too fixated on numbers, stats, and advanced analytics. They don’t tell a story.”


God, Michael Wilbon is the worst, and he may not even be the worst sports-media person to come out of this school. Look at his competition: Rovell, Tommy Craggs, Christine Brennan, and GREENY! Holy fuck, Mike Greenberg went here. I bet he talks about it every five seconds in between whoring Subway retail offers. “I went to Northwestern and I root for the Jets! BOY AM I A WEENIE!” Mike Greenberg is helium-infused dogshit.

All of these people name-drop Medill so many times that they may as well walk around with it on a purple sash. Did you know Medill has a Hall of Fame? Did you know George RR Martin is in it, even though he hasn’t finished those goddamn books yet? Medill is Syracuse for media fartsniffers too unattractive to be on-air, and it produces people whose biggest goal in life is to edit Poynter. Physicists go to U Chicago, AI people go to MIT, and would-be Rovells go to Northwestern. If Northwestern didn’t produce so many insufferable journalists, no one would know or care that it’s not the same school as Northeastern. Burn Medill to the ground and bury its ashes, I say.


4. You have a professor who is a Holocaust denier. Say hello to professor Arthur Butz, who once wrote this fabulous tome, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century: The Case Against the Presumed Extermination of European Jewry. Oh. Oh well, that sounds… informative. Let’s have a gander!

I see three principal reasons for the widespread but erroneous belief in the legend of millions of Jews killed by the Germans during World War II…


Go on.

The “Final Solution“ spoken of in the German documents was a program of evacuation, resettlement and deportation of Jews with the ultimate objective of expulsion from Europe. During the war Jews of various nationalities were being moved east, as one stage in this Final Solution. The legend claims that the movements were mainly for extermination purposes.


This guy still teaches electrical engineering! “See kids, they TELL you that you must ground a car battery before jump starting, but that’s actually just a LEGEND perpetrated by the JEWRY.”

5. Another professor had an extra credit class that was a woman getting penetrated by a fucksaw. True story!

More than 100 Northwestern students watched as a naked woman was penetrated by a sex toy wielded by her boyfriend during an after-class session of the school’s popular “Human Sexuality” class. The Daily Northwestern quoted (the teacher) as saying, “Sticks and stones may break your bones, but watching naked people on stage doing pleasurable things will never hurt you.”


Actually, this sounds okay. I wish more of my teachers had staged live sex shows for “learning” purposes.

6. They treat athletes like garbage, just like the dumb schools! Late last year, former player Johnnie Vassar filed suit against Northwestern, alleging that they tried to force him to give up his athletic scholarship by making him work as a janitor and filling out bogus timesheets on his behalf to disqualify him. Dan Snyder is intrigued by Northwestern’s ideas and would like to subscribe to their newsletter.


Also, when Kain Colter and members of the Northwestern football team tried to unionize, the school refused to recognize them as employees, and helped crush what could have been one of the most important movements in the history of college athletics. And now they get to play in the most lucrative boondoggle of them all. HOORAY!

7. Assholes go here. This place is Chicago SMU. Northwestern is where all the villains from John Hughes movies go to college. It thinks it’s like Stanford or an Ivy, but really it’s only like Stanford or an Ivy if those schools were filled with nothing but Chad types. And the entire North Shore is just where rich people drew a line so they wouldn’t have to give their tax money to poors. This school is a racquet club masquerading as an institution of higher learning.


8. The school paper is garbage. I know because former Deadspinner and current Ahmad Rashad Rohan Nadkarni wrote for it.

Of course, anyone who ever lived in these Daily streets would tell you it’s way more about what happens in the paper. It’s about the nightly trips to Starbucks, or the men’s eating club Diebold and I formed for a brief stretch of Winter Quarter 2013.


I can’t believe we ever let you blog here, Rohan. And I can’t believe this school is bad enough to make me root for fucking Vanderbilt. Unreal. I’m gonna go watch tape of Keyshawn running over all of you in the Rose Bowl again.

Hear it from Northwestern alums!


Way too much fucking a cappella.

Also, it’s full of American Psycho finance bros in training who aren’t recognizable by their suits yet.



My harsh words are mainly for the future Northwestern. I mean, there are only two directions this could go: 1) We lose badly and reclaim our respected position as nerds who do it the right way (and nobody cares but us, but at least we feel good), or 2) We win, and become the Duke of the Midwest. I’m not really sure if either is that appealing. So I’m just gonna enjoy our little time in the spotlight while it lasts.

But if I had to criticize NU now (in a way that’s a layup for Deadspin) I’d go after the fact that we have an outsized voice because every sport writer on the planet went there and now can’t stop talking about it. I mean, we made the tourney; this is not Cubs-winning-the-World-Series territory. It’s like the most basic thing that even school you’ve never heard of do. Let’s not overreact.

Please go after Rovell, he’s the worst.


Our basketball arena always smells like popcorn no matter what. Not in a good way, but like a sickly butter way.

The only 24-hour food option in Evanston is a Burger King that needs a security guard mostly because of the drunk frat kids (to be fair, I threw up outside the front door once). The student center replaced most of its best food options with a Rick Bayless restaurant that’s some overpriced garbage.

Also, every theater kid swears they are going to be the next big star on SNL.

Drew Magary is a Deadspin columnist and columnist for GEN magazine. You can buy Drew's second novel, The Hike, through here.