I think I am going to root for Kansas State to get to the Final Four

Yup… Sully Baseball will endorse Kansas State to win big.

Now let me make it perfectly clear, I can’t name a single player on the Kansas State team.

I have no financial stake in them making the Final Four because I didn’t fill out a bracket this year.

Up until 2 minutes ago, I didn’t even know they were called the Wildcats.

And as I type this sentence, I am not sure where the school physically exists in Kansas.

So why do I want them to win?

Because here’s a little thing you need to know about your pal Sully: I can be a bit of a prick sports wise.

Oh I am a hell of a nice guy in real life. I am a good friend, a thoughtful neighbor who is involved with the community, a caring father, a faithful husband and a dependable coworker.

But in sports, I love a little Schadenfreude. It’s not enough to win… you have to stick it in the eye of someone else.

Maybe it was all of those years seeing the Red Sox flop a la Wile E. Coyote and hearing it from Yankee fans, but I have developed a taste for watching other fan bases squirm.

Which brings us to the Kansas State Wildcats. They are a good team evidently. They are a 2 seed in the tournament and ranked #7 in both the AP and USA Today/ESPN polls (a fact I did not know when I started writing this post.)

So it isn’t like I am pulling for Northern Iowa to go all the way. Kansas State has a shot. And I am positive the fans at KSU (do they call themselves that?) would be thrilled for further victories.

But as of right now, they can rub another fan base’s nose in it. The #1 team in the country is Kansas. And they didn’t make the Sweet 16… and Kansas State did.

I am sure Jayhawk fans have rubbed it into Wildcat fans’ noses for quite some time.

The Jayhawks have made 13 Final Four appearances and won their conference 53 times. They’ve made it to the title game 8 times (including 2 in the 2000s) and won three National Titles including 2008.

They are one of the marquee programs. Even I know that!

Kansas State has made a grand total of 4 Final Four appearances. They went 12 years between NCAA Tournament appearances between 1996 and 2008.

They will never be THE team in Kansas… except maybe this year.

Maybe, just maybe, in a year where the Jayhawks were supposed to make it to Indianapolis to play for the title, the Wildcats fans will have something to cheer about.

And trust me, Wildcat fans would love a National Title and also love that their cross state superiors face planted in the second round.

That is, if their fans are as big pricks as I am.

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Do people REALLY root for Cinderella in the NCAA tourney?

I am not going to claim to be an NCAA Men’s Basketball expert. I can’t name the starting 5 of a single team in the tournament.

But I find the 64 team bracket to be fascinating, much like I find the US Open in Flushing and the Masters to be compelling even though I am not a tennis nor a golf fan.

One prevailing notion (or myth) of the NCAA tourney is that the Cinderella team has a shot to win it all. You could be Arkansas Pine Bluff, or ITT Technical Institute or DeVry and have a chance to win the National Title… provided you go on a doozy of a 6 game winning streak.

And this year you have an Ivy League school (Cornell), a 9 seed that I have no clue where they play except that I am guessing it is in the Northern part of Iowa (Northern Iowa), and a couple of more double digit seeds (Washington and St. Mary’s.) One of those programs could win it all.

It won’t happen. The closest you will get is a George Mason making the Final Four, but in the end there will be two elite programs in the final.

The real question is “do people WANT to see upsets?”

In theory, yes. In theory sports fans love to see the little guy triumph. But I can tell you CBS sure doesn’t want a Northern Iowa vs. Cornell final! As cool as it sounds, the TV interest will be close to nothing except true die hard fans. They want programs like Duke and Syracuse in the finals… colleges with a storied basketball past and lots of alumni scattered across the country.

I also think most sports fans would rather see the best teams face off for the title. You couldn’t get a more unlikely underdog story than the 2008 Tampa Bay Rays, who finished ahead of the Yankees and knocked off the defending champion Red Sox to make it to the World Series.

Yet nobody watched.

This year’s Super Bowl pitted each conference’s #1 seed… and it scored bigger than the last M*A*S*H.

The 2008 World Series barely beat After MASH.

Also let’s face it, as cool as the Northern Iowa win over Kansas was, I am sure it got a lot of fans furious. Let’s just say a lot of people looked at their brackets and threw them out in disgust.

I actually would like to see a Cornell/Northern Iowa final… but then again I don’t work for CBS and I didn’t fill out a bracket this year!

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