Syracuse is out of the NCAA Tournament, now spending its time wondering which players will return for the 2012-2013 season. Iona is a footnote to the tournament, having suffered a historic meltdown in the play-in round, blowing a 25-point lead. LIU and St. Bonaventure? Long gone.
So, who are New York-area basketball fans supposed to root for Saturday when March Madness resumes with NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament Final Four meetings that pit Kentucky vs. Louisville and Ohio State vs. Kansas. SB Nation New York is here to help you with a 'rootability index' for each of Saturday's game.
Kentucky Vs. Louisville
Regional fans have good reason to have mixed feelings about the coaches for both of these teams. Kentucky coach John Calipari coached the New Jersey Nets for two seasons and part of a third from 1996-98, being fired when the team started his third season going 3-17. Louisville coach Rick Pitino had two modeately successful seasons with the New York Knicks from 1987-89 before returning to the college ranks -- where he took the Kentucky job. I can't really help you here, Knicks or Nets fans. You have to sort out your feelings for these two controversial coaches yourself, and figure out which one you could handle winning.
When it comes to 'rootability,' the next regional factor has to be the fact that Louisville plays in the Big East Conference. SU fans, if you can stomach the fact that Louisville is playing and the Orange aren't, that is a plus for the Cardinals.
Finally, there is the underdog factor. Everyone expects Kentucky and it's NBA-caliber roster to win not just this game, but the whole enchilada. Louisville wasn't even supposed to get this far.
Ed Says: When it comes to 'rootability,' Louisville has to be the choice here. UConn won it all a year ago, and it would be nice to see the Big East represented in the title game again.
Ohio State Vs. Kansas
I can't see how regional fans can work up the emotional investment in this game that is possible for the Kentucky-Louisville matchup. Yet, if you are going to watch you might as well root for something more than a good game.
Kansas is Dullsville, the milktoast team of the Final Four. They are a college basketball brand name, but rooting for them is sort of like rooting for Duke. Unless you are a Duke student or alumni, how can you do it?
Ohio State ousted Syracuse, and for fans of the Orange there are two ways of looking at that. You can be annoyed and you'll be fine with anyone other than the Buckeyes winning the national title. Or, you can pull for Ohio State to win it all on the premise that at least then you can say your team lost to the eventual national champs.
Ed Says: When it comes to regional 'rootability,' this game is just plain tough to get worked up about. For me, Ohio State is the choice. This is really by default. Unless you have ties to Kansas, Duke and North Carolina there just is no real good reason to root for any of those schools.
Bomani's Bracketology: Final Four (via sbnation)