Thursday, March 23, 2006

Who are you cheering for now?

With Illinois out of the NCAA Tournament, along with the other 5 Big Ten teams who were eliminated last weekend, who (if anyone) are you cheering for now?

Below are the matchups for this weekend and who I will be cheering for in each of those games. Keep in mind, this is who I am cheering for, not necessarily who I would pick if I were tring to make a prediction.

Thursday Games

Atlanta Region

1) Duke vs. LSU at 6:10 p.m. CST--I am cheering for neither team. Like everyone else in America (unless you went there), I can't stand Duke and want to see them lose. At the same time, when Illinois played LSU in the Sugar Bowl in 2002, most of the LSU fans I encountered were obnoxious and acted like idiots. Thus, I don't care for them either. I wish they could both lose but since they can't, my dislike for Duke is stronger than my dislike for LSU so while I won't be cheering for them, I would prefer to see LSU win this one.

2) West Virginia vs. Texas at 8:40 p.m. CST--Go West Virginia. I have nothing against Texas but since they won the National Championship in football I would enjoy seeing someone else win in basketball. Also, they have had some terrible blowout losses this year for being such a supposedly good team. Plus, you have to love being able to say Pittsnogle so let's see the Mountaineers advance a little further.

Oakland Region

1) Memphis vs. Bradley at 6:27 p.m.--If you are an Illinois fan, how can you not be rooting for the Bradley Braves? I definitely want to see the boys from Peoria win this game and go as far as they can in the tournament. While I would love to see them win the whole thing, that probably isn't realistic. However, I do think they can compete with and beat Memphis so Go Braves! (And besides, wouldn't you love to see John "Slick Willy" Calipari lose again?)

2) Gonzaga vs. UCLA at 8:57 p.m.--I have no strong rooting interest either way in this game but I am going to cheer for Gonzaga. While it is hard to call them an underdog, I still think it would be fun to see them beat UCLA and move on (and it isn't like there have been any shortage of NC banners at UCLA over the years).

Friday Games

Minneapolis Region

1) Villanova vs. Boston College at 6:10 p.m.--Go Villanova Wildcats! After Bradley, this is the team I will be cheering for to win the whole thing. Their style of play reminds me a lot of Illinois' team last year. They start four guards, share the ball, play aggressively on both offense and defense and are fun to watch. Finally, although they have a NC to their credit, they are not one of the usual contenders and I want to see someone different win it this year.

2) Florida vs. Georgetown at 8:40 p.m.--In this game, I will cheer for the Georgetown Hoyas. While I am not a big fan of the Hoyas, I have never cared for the Florida Gators or their coach Billy Donavan (see the John Calipari comment) so I would like to see Georgtown knock them out of the tournament.

Washington Region

1) George Mason vs. Wichita State at 6:27 p.m.--I will be rooting for Wichita State in this one, although either team will be the underdog in the next game. Wichita State, however, is in the midwest and part of the MVC Conference along with Bradley so that is who I will be cheering for in this game.

2) Connecticut vs. Washington at 8:57 p.m.--I will be cheering for the Huskies. What's that? They are both nicknamed the Huskies? So which is it? Well that is a good question. This game is a dilema for me because Washington beat Illinois in a game that I believe Illinois outplayed them in every aspect of except for the number of free throws shot. In some ways, that makes me want to see them get beat while at the same time Illinois looks better if they advance. So who do I choose? Ultimately, I guess I will be cheering for the Washingon Huskies. UConn has won their fair share of titles lately and I don't particularly care for their players or the lack of effort/non-chalance they show at times. I respect Washington and their coach so I will be hoping for the upset in this game (but trust me, I won't be shedding any tears if UConn crushes them).

Well, that wraps it up. Do you agree or disagree with me? Who are all of you cheering for? Let us know under the comments section.

P.S. For those of you looking for an Illini fix, check out these recent articles on the Illinois football team and spring practice. Learn about the offense and the defense.

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