The Final Four starts up this Saturday night. I'm sure none of you knew that, so you're welcome. Since the Cincinnati Bearcats aren't in the final 3 games of the season and most of us are going to watch, we need someone to throw our weight behind. That's why over the next couple of days I'll run down all the remaining teams and give the reasons we should and shouldn't root for them. We start with Louisville.
Why we should root for Louisville
- First things first, Louisville is a fellow Big East school. When your team goes, you take down your team's banner and fly the flag of your conference. Louisville represents the Big East. Big East Solidarity.
- They are playing Kentucky. A great rule of thumb is that if you don't know who to root for, root for whoever is playing Kentucky. That also ties into this next point.
- They are the underdog. It's odd to see a team that was in the Final Four as recently as 2005 as the giant underdog of the tournament, but the Cardinals are wearing that collar right now. It falls back to the old adage, you root for the biggest underdog against the biggest favorite. Right now, the biggest favorite is Big Blue and the biggest underdog are the Cardinals.
- You have a skinny beard.
- Russ Smith is the best. There is no player in the country like Russ Smith. He's not the best player on the Cardinals. He doesn't have the best handle, the best passing ability or the best shooting form, but that hasn't stopped Russ from using roughly 33% (That number is real) of the Cardinal possessions. The man is a machine gunner. He will take strong drives to the basket for pretty layups, he will get you fast break points, he will knock down 3s. And then he will take horrible shots, lose his dribble and throw the ball into the waiting hands of Bradley Beal with 20 seconds left and Louisville up 1 point. There is no player in the nation that changes a game by being a complete wildcard like Russ. Louisville fans are having years taken off their lives because of him. And it's all worth it.
- Rick Pitino has mellowed. Would anyone ever do this to Rick Pitino in 1996?
- No one in the country is better at defense. The Cards are number 1 in the Ken Pom defensive rankings. They locked up Michigan State. They locked up New Mexico and Davidson and Cincinnati and Marquette and Notre Dame and so on and so on.
- I pretended to be Billy Thompson as a 9 year old white kid in Cincinnati.
- The dunking Cardinal logo is awesome.
- This Cardinal team is the most similar to Cincinnati. There isn't a huge star, but there are a lot players on the team who can be the star for one night. You have a crazy energy player, Russ Smith/Justin Jackson, who does incredible things and then makes you punch yourself in the face. You have a silky smooth shooter who you kind of wish would be more involved with the offense even though he lead the team in scoring, Kyle Kuric/Sean Kilpatrick. You have 6'9, 260 lb big men who offensive rebound like crazy and aren't afraid to get physical, Chane Behanan/Yancy Gates. Both teams had players come from the African SEEDS program, Gorgui Dieng/Cheikh Mbodj. Both had coaches who coached together, Rick Pitino/Mick Cronin. Both had unfortunate setbacks during the season. Louisville had injuries, Cincinnati had a little fight you might have not known about. Both teams turned it on late. Both teams wear, or did wear, red and black. Both are teams that I watched a lot during the season.
- Card Chronicle. Did you really think we were going to get through a Louisville post without a mention of Card Chronicle? If you did, then you haven't read the blog enough. I started this blog for the main reason that I wanted a blog for Cincinnati like Mike had going with Card Chronicle. The people there are great. The writing there, by Mike and many other contributors (except Hot Hot) is very good. The fans are dedicated. There have been great videos, fan videos, there all week. And let's not forget the fact that everyone from Card Chronicle, even Hot Hot, is incredibly nice. Mike has answered my questions numerous times. I did a random questions with a bunch of people from CC. There were the amazing power rankings. Every time I post a link over there, it's a huge traffic day here. It's just a great group of people. The second best blog readers in America after all of you.
Why we should root against Louisville
- Chane Behanan left Cincinnati. The story goes that Chane was all set to come to UC then he left Cincinnati for the first time in his life or something and opened his recruitment back up. He then chose to go to Louisville. I said on twitter yesterday he was the one that got away, and people sent me replies like "Ask his uncle," and "$$$$$$."
- They are our rivals. This one is pretty clear. Why root for someone you root against?
- The notion of Big East solidarity is rather weak. Rooting for someone just because you are in the same conference as them is like rooting for someone at your job to get a promotion because they are wearing a blue shirt. It's ridiculous. Especially in the Big East, where there are 849 teams. Plus, it's like fuck them. We spent all season rooting for them to take a combination of losses that would send Louisville under us in the standings. Rooting for someone to lose every game while at the same time cheering for them when you have no options left is lame.
- You are a redneck. Gonna venture that 99% of rednecks are Kentucky fans. I would say 73% of Kentucky fans were rednecks though. That 73% accounts for 85% of the teeth of the UK fanbase.
- Rick Pitino is still kind of a dick.
- Louisville is bad offensively. We all saw the Big East title game.
- The infra-red uniforms are hideous and with the way Louisville is playing, they are going to make them permanent and ruin our eyes and tvs for years to come.
So there we have it. There are more reasons to root for Louisville than against Louisville. I will be rooting for Louisville during the Final Four. That's probably not a surprise since, hey read the previous sentence.