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Apr. 3 2010 - 11:12 am | 299 views | 0 recommendations | 1 comment

Forget Cinderellas at the Final Four, let’s go public schools!

Forget underdogs and Cinderellas, this year root for the public schools.

As I mentioned in earlier posts, I’ve struggled this year with the fact that all my Final Four teams were knocked out pretty early on. Rooting for Cinderellas seemed like a good alternative, but ultimately it was unfulfilling. I mean really, I was supposed to root for Cornell? No thanks.

I thought about maybe choosing a particular coach from the Final Four who I found likable, but consider this lot:

  • Mike Krzyzewski (Duke): About as likable as a Gollum-marmot hybrid, pacing back and forth on the sidelines, sneering every time an opposing defender so much as approaches his precious (student-athletes).
  • Tom Izzo (Michigan State): When he gives interviews, its like he’s screaming “I LOVE MYSELF, AND I JUST WANT TO SHOUT IT TO THE WORLD! I’M GREAT!”
  • Bob Huggins (West Virginia): There’s actually something pretty endearing about the fact that Huggins still goes with the windbreaker/sweatsuit look while coaching his team through the NCAA Tournament….but then you remember his rap sheet. Can’t root for him.
  • Brad Stevens (Butler): Stevens is a 33-year-old who looks 19, coaching in the Final Four. He clearly doesn’t need me, or anyone, in his corner. In fact, when I think of how far he’s come, and compare that to where I’ll probably be at age 33, it makes me puke in my mouth a little.

So, it’s back to the teams. It’s tough to choose who to root for based on the players, merely because it feels wrong to say “I arbitrarily like that group of 18-21 year old kids better than that other group of 18-21 year old kids.” So I’ve chosen an even more arbitrary measure — the schools!

In each match-up, we have a private school against a public school. How convenient. I’ve long believed that our society undervalues the quality of a public collegiate education (and overvalues the quality of private education), so why not apply my annoyance at that to the almost wholly unrelated subject of choosing who to root for in tonight’s games?

Let’s check out their estimated annual costs of attendance:

  • Duke: $53,390 v. West Virginia: $15,792 in-state, $26,890 out-of-state — Well, this one’s easy. As if I needed another reason to root against Duke. Are you kidding? FIFTY THOUSAND DOLLARS!
  • Butler: $38,760 v. Michigan State: $18,878 in-state, $35,276 out-of-state — Not only does Butler get the home court advantage in Indianapolis, but a year of attendance there costs almost as much as Indiana’s median income. Go Michigan State.

There you have it. It’s not particularly fair. But I have something I can root for.




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    About Me

    When I was fifteen, my baseball coach condemned me to a stands-bound life. "Graham, you're a pretty good fielder," he said. "But unfortunately it's easier to teach kids how to field than it is to show them how to hit." Stung by this unceremonious end to my baseball career, I trained my crosshairs on his breed. Over time, I have come to realize that he isn't unique, American sports are full of coaches just like him....

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