I know I know, gross right? How can anyone even write that? Everyone hates Dook, Butler is the ultimate little guy, what kind of front-running a**hole did it take to root for the hated Blue Devils last night? (Well, a vindictive Syracuse fan for one, but let's put that aside for the moment). To make a simple analagoy, Duke is the Yankees (UNC can be Boston here if you must) of NCAA Basketball. Everyone loves to hate them, basically for all the wrong reasons, and it's a good thing that they win one from time to time...
Say what you will about the institution but it's a private school competing with state school behemoths that has been consistently successful for the past 30 years or so (sound familiar Cuse?) that plays the game the right way and doesn't rely on crazy one and done studs to come in and prop up their success (maybe slightly unfamiliar for Cuse here, but only a monster can really hate on Melo and Wes).
Last year the Yankees finally got the World Series title that's been eluding them for the past decade and that only makes this year's season all the more interesting. Will they go on a run like they did in the late '90s or can some little guy (Tampa?) rise up and stop them? Opposing teams and fans can spew all the hate that they want towards New York, but that fact remains that when the Yankees come into town, it's more likely than not a sellout. I'm pretty sure Yankees games (and the full stadiums of their fans and haters) are the only thing that's been keeping Toronto, Baltimore and Tampa afloat for the past 10 years.
Take the following with as much a salt as you want but let's briefly recap how Butler almost "won" the NCAA title:
- They beat an awful UTEP team that choked away their conference title game to a team with a losing record in conference,
- They barely squeaked past an even lower-seeded Murray State team at the last second,
- They (ugh) beat Syracuse who was playing without their starting center, was shooting so poorly that they had approximately 1 point through 10 minutes and Rick Jackson's hands were replaced with those of the guy from the Whopper commercials with tiny hands,
- Next up they got a Kansas State team who had played a double overtime, insane late game and whose big men were lucky not to have IVs embedded directly in them on the bench, and who's coach may or may not have murdered someone in a blind rage,
- This was followed by their "Final Four game", which they squeezed out against a Michigan State team playing without their best player, who was probably seeded high as a 5 and who hit the ultimate jackpot in upsets, having had Kansas, Ohio State and Georgetown (hahaha, Bobcats!) knocked out for them, while also hitting a miracle 3 to beat Maryland.
I mean really, this Butler team (and Michigan State) was sprinkled with some sort of magic pixie luck dust from day one of the tournament... and I haven't even mentioned that they played the title game at home. Yes, I realize Duke's path was ridiculously easy as well thanks to some bizarre, nonsensical bracket put out by the committee (therefore undermining basically the entire tournament with their bulls*** and leading to this joke of a title game). But that's what makes this all the better. Debates will rage over how they were handed a berth in the title game, but really so was Butler.
So, we needed Duke to win this one and keep alive that hatred, that rivalry that keeps people's passion for college basketball strong. UNC (can't even win the NIT) , UConn (they can't either!) , UCLA (can't even make the NIT) Kansas, Kentucky and yes, sadly, Syracuse, all pulled major league choke jobs, so it was up to Duke to carry the banner for tradition. Seriously, think about how we are at least spared all these "analysts" and sports writers gushing over Butler like a pack of women over newborn baby about what a "Hoosiers" or "Cinderella" story it was, like it was somehow Miracle on Ice II. And not to mention the fact that we will be spared, at least somewhat, the disgusting highlights of Butler's "run to the title" that took them through our beloved Syracuse.
And really, if none of that sways you, how can we honestly have a national champion where the best player looks like he just got off the CYO court ready for an ice cream cone and a coach who isn't even old enough to drink?