This edition of Reacts is FULL of the kind of hating that will keep you full through the long college basketball offseason. Coach K, Kentucky, Caitlin Clark and the rest of the Big Ten (including Wisconsin, I suppose) are all put on blast.
The Duke Blue Devils men’s basketball program already elicits a lot of, uh, strong feelings from everyone in the nation but throw into the mix the fact that their last game was in the Final Four...against their archrival North Carolina...and was possibly Coach K’s last ever career game and you’ve got a perfect stew of hateration.
According to our questionnaire, over 70% of fans across the nation were cheering for Krzyzewski to lose in the national semifinals. If a politician ran on Hating Coach K, it’s pretty clear that they would clean up at the polls. I don’t know who the 29% of people are that were cheering for Duke, because there aren’t THAT many Blue Devils fans in the country.
There were a number of options for “most disappointing” tournament team, but when you are the 2-seed Kentucky Wildcats, a true blue blood in college basketball, and you lose to 15-seed Saint Peter’s in the first round it’s hard to be more disappointing than that. Nearly half of the respondents picked the Cats, while 27% selected the Gonzaga men’s team, who lost to Arkansas in the Sweet 16 a year after falling in the national title game.
Because I am nothing if not a hater to my core, I picked the Iowa women as the most disappointing team. Caitlin Clark is an overrated fraud who racks up stats like Russell Westbrook, another non-winning basketball player, and probably isn’t even the most important player on her own team.
Speaking of overrated Big Ten things! The entire conference is thought of as overrated by 70% (!!!) of fans in the country and, well, it’s hard to disagree with them! The conference received nine bids to the men’s NCAA Tournament and had two teams reach the Sweet 16 and zero go beyond that.
Whatever the opposite of “benefit of the doubt” is that’s what the Big Ten has earned in March. The conference has won one (1) national title this century, and that was back in 2000 when Michigan State beat Florida. If you want to argue that Maryland’s, a current Big Ten member, title in 2002 when they were in the ACC counts for the B1G...you will not see God’s kingdom.
Hell, the conference has only had two Final Four participants total in the last five seasons and only one of those (Michigan in 2018) made the title game. Every year people get sucked into the narrative that the Big Ten is so tough because they have a bunch of ranked teams and beat up on each other in January and February, but if you are a close observer of the conference you know that they are Frauds with a capital “F.”
Next year I hope I remember to pick every Big Ten team in the tourney to lose in the second round.