Last Saturday I posted 6 reasons to root for Wichita State in their Elite 8 game against the Ohio State Buckeyes.  They won.  They played great for nearly the entire game and seemed like they were genuinely the better team on the floor.  Since then, there have been other videos and columns urging you to cheer on the Shockers.  Since I’m not very original, and since I superstitiously believe that my ridiculous column was probably the key element to Wichita State University’s Elite 8 win, I’m going to sit down and do it all over again.  Here are 7 more reasons to root for Wichita State to advance to the NCAA Championship game.

The Sheer Madness of it All

What Wichita State has done in the tourney this year lands them somewhere between Linsanity and Air Bud on my Basketball Believability Index (*Author’s note: Basketball Believability Index).  They’re a 9-seed.  From the Missouri Valley Conference.  With a bunch of JuCo guys.  That was supposedly rebuilding.

The last time an MVC team made it to the Final Four was when they had the pubic-mustachioed Larry Bird carrying them on his shoulders.  Yeah, 34 years ago it took one of the 10 best basketball players ever to get an MVC team through to the finals.  And not a single team from that conference has been back since.  Until now.  (*Author’s note: and here’s a picture of the aforementioned pube-stache for your enjoyment.  It’s so light you can hardly see that it’s there.  Sweet look, Lar.)

Most of the their players have more former schools attached to their names than Bobby Petrino.

They have JuCo schools.  They have other, smaller colleges in their past.  They have transient, winding roads that have somehow led them to this.  Led them to the promised land of College Basketball.  They’re like a collage.  A mosaic.  Somehow they have been pieced together and the end result is a really, really good basketball team with a chance to pull yet another incredible upset.

Carl Hall.  That’s it.  Just Carl F-ing Hall.

Hall has a heart condition.  It got so bad at one point that he was passing out from the complications if he tried to play basketball.  He ended up working a factory painting flourescent lights for a living while he contemplated his future.  Eventually he decided that he would roll the dice and continue playing despite what might happen.  Before you say that he was risking everything for a game, remember this: there wasn’t an “everything” to risk, because to Carl Hall, “everything” included basketball and without it, he wasn’t truly living.  (*Author’s note: my words, not his, but check out the below quote, from an ESPN.com article for an idea of what the game means to him.)

“I was willing to live with the situation I put myself in,” Hall said Thursday night after guiding Wichita State to a 72-58 victory over La Salle in the Sweet 16 at Staples Center. “If anything happened, like if I possibly died or something on the court, I told her I would’ve died happy because I would have died doing something that I loved to do.”

Rick Pitino

Last game I offered up a reason not to root for the opposition.  Here’s another one.  Ricky P.  He’s slimy.  He’s grimy.  He looks like a Mafia member in charge of extortion and was, himself, once extorted.  He makes $3.9 million a year and he enjoys flipping off the nation during interviews.

He also makes fun of people who wear glasses.  Classy, Rick.

Sure, Louisville’s good and Pitino has orchestrated their rise to power.  But let’s be honest with ourselves, do you really want to root for the guy that came in and took the first big time basketball recruit in 20 years from the state of Nebraska away from the state’s desperately clutching hands?  I’m still shrilly screaming as I watch his long, gel-covered fingers reach in and pluck away the Huskers’  best chance at landing a star.

I know it was a terrible, terrible injury but I don’t want to hear another 42,000 reports on how inspirational Kevin Ware has become to his team.

Maybe that makes me a bad person.  Maybe that makes me cynical or a little too plugged into sports media.  But the chugging, huffing steam-engine known as the Hyperbole Express is already running at maximum capacity over this story and if Louisville wins again in this round it’s going to become a runaway train that will end up with me saying something wildly inappropriate about a nice-enough young man who was unfortunate enough to suffer a gruesome injury on TV in front of millions.  Wichita has a chance to be our Denzel Washington’s and Chris Pines.  Stop this train.  Before it’s too late.

In case you don’t know what I’m talking about, here’s a GIF from when he got hurt.

Psych!

Psych!

The Best GIF.

Don’t make me be that guy, Wichita State.  Win the damn game.  I’m tired of hearing Kevin Ware stories.  I’m tired of seeing him on Letterman and ESPN.  I feel for the guy.  I really do.  But since ESPN and other news outlets seem intent on flogging that dead horse until it becomes a bloated carcass of overexposure, I have no choice but to ask for a merciful ending.

Gregg Marshall’s speeches.

They’ve been fiery.  Inspirational.  Candid.  Marshall truly seems like the real deal.  (*Author’s note: I have friends in Wichita who are vigorously nodding their heads and saying, “I told you that 2 years ago, you moron.)  His speeches, shown in snippets on CBS either pre-game or after halftime have truly been some of the better ones I’ve seen caught on film.  Let’s hope he keeps it up.

Finally, Gregg Marshall’s glasses.

Because I’m still pretty sure this is how he got gold-framed glasses and anyone who tells me otherwise will be completely ignored.

Dr. James' optometry.

Dr. James’ optometry.

FIN

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