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So: Who Are We Rooting For Now?

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Well, friends of the show, Marquette's application for a special invitation to the Sweet 16 -- on the grounds that we TOTALLY would have beaten New Mexico, too -- has apparently been denied, so we're left teamless as the tournament continues.  And because Kansas' gag-o-rama effectively killed 96% of the brackets in the country, most of us have no rooting interest whatsoever: no team, no bracket -- hell, we can't even cheer against Madison, after Bo Ryan got Bo Ryaned yesterday (i.e., beaten by a team with far less talent but with a better system).

But, since we've got basketball for two more weeks, and since we've got a LOT of time to fill on the blog, let's sort through the remaining teams to decide who YOU should be cheering for as the Dance goes on.

The contenders, after the jump:

WASHINGTON

Why you should cheer for the Huskies: If you subscribe to the "cheer for the team that beat you" school of philosophy, UDub is your pick.  Plus, their fans were pretty cool.  And it would be a great story if a team from the much-maligned Pac-10 continued to wreak havoc on the tournament field.

Why you shouldn't cheer for the Huskies: Because the "cheer for the team that beat you" school of philosophy is a stupid school and not much of philosophy.  More importantly, because the name "Quincy Pondexter" now ranks up there with "Jean Felix" and "Reece Gaines" in the category of Opponents Who Have Destroyed A Small Part Of My Soul.  (In case you needed to ask: no, I'm not OK yet.)

The verdict: The wound is too fresh.  Sorry, Huskies.

CORNELL

Why you should cheer for the Big Red: Because they dispatched the Great Red Menace with stunning efficiency, and continued Bo's run of tournament losses to lower-seeded teams.  And it would be a great story if this rag-tag group of brainiacs continued to wreak havoc on the tournament field.  Also: did you know that all 14 guys on the team live in the same house?  It's true!

Why you shouldn't cheer for the Big Red: Because they're not the real Big Red.  And because this guy who wrote that stupid Elements of Style book that continues to haunt my dreams went there.  (Yeah, I know that sentence is a train wreck, grammatically.  Whatever.  I WILL USE EXCESSIVE AND UNNECESSARY COLONS AND COMMAS WHENEVER I WANT, WILLIAM STRUNK, JR.  You're not the boss of me.) 

The verdict: I'm OK with this one, but if the "14 guys living in the same house" bit comes up more than 431 times during the Sweet 16 game, I reserve the right to change my mind.

MICHIGAN STATE

Why you should cheer for the Spartans: N/A

Why you shouldn't cheer for the Spartans: DATA ENTRY ERROR.  FILE TOO BIG.

The verdict: You really need to ask?

SYRACUSE

Why you should cheer for the Orange: Because they're the last line of defense against the "the Big East is overrated" argument.  Otto the Orange seems like he's got his priorities straight, too.  Also: it would be a great story if a team that lost to LeMoyne in an exhibition game at home continued to wreak havoc on the tournament field.

Why you shouldn't cheer for the Orange, ever, under any circumstances: DEVO.  Plus: they're perpetual teases.  Do not trust Syracuse.  You've been warned.

The verdict: DEVO swings the balance.  Sorry, Orange.

WEST VIRGINIA

Why you should cheer for the Mountaineers: Because they're the second-to-last line of defense against the "the Big East is overrated" argument.

Why you shouldn't cheer for the Mountaineers: Besides the irascible Huggy Bear (pictured here after being told that his favorite bar had run out of Jim Beam), West Virginia has seemingly used up all their luck this season.  Hell, they had a season's worth of good fortune in the BEast tournament.  In closing: Pittsnogle.

The verdict: Eh.  I guess you could do worse.

NORTHERN IOWA

Why you should be cheering for the Panthers: Because of the onions on Ali [not even going to try his last name].  Mrs. Q and I were watching the KU - Northern Iowa game at a bar in Minneapolis, and when Ali loaded that shot up, the air went out of the room -- and when he hit it, complete strangers started high-fiving each other.  (As an aside: I love March.)  And because of that kid with the muttonchops.  Is he on loan from a local theater company's production of Pride & Prejudice?

Why you shouldn't be cheering for Northern Iowa: If you can think of a reason, lemme know.

The verdict: This one gets the coveted Rubie Q Stamp of Approval.TM

"A GREAT STORY"

Why you should cheer for "a great story": Because you're lazy.  Because you're afraid of getting hurt.  Because you're afraid to trust again. 

Why you shouldn't cheer for "a great story": Because anybody's story can be made into a great story -- even Kentucky (missed the tournament last year, new coach, bunch of youngsters who don't know enough to be scared on the big stage).  And when everybody is special, that means nobody is special.  So: nut up and pick somebody -- somebody other than Michigan State, of course.