Kotloff | Who should Penn fans root for this March?
March 16, 2011, 12:40 am · Updated March 16, 2011, 12:00 am·
The sight from Saturday night was both refreshing and repulsive.
Another late SportsCenter opening with another classic March buzzer-beater. Exhilarated fans mobbing the hero on the hardwood, then a shot of the championship players climbing the ladder and cutting down the net.
Everything was perfect until those black and orange jerseys appeared on screen.
But the harsh reality is that the Tigers are going dancing, and the Quakers are not. So for the fourth straight year, Penn students will have to jump on some other school’s bandwagon for a few weeks.
Who should that lucky team be this year?
The decision was much easier when that random school in Ithaca represented the Ivy League. Is Ancient Eight pride really a good enough reason to root for, gulp, Princeton?
Before you chew on that — be careful not to throw up in your mouth — consider this March’s trio of alternatives:
Temple. An obvious choice, as the mustache will always hold a soft spot in Penn fans’ hearts. Fran Dunphy is joined by three assistants he brought with him from Penn, including two graduates. Plus, the Owls always bring that admirable Philly toughness to the table, with seven current players from the City of Brotherly Love.
Penn State. In case you want to join the other side of the Battle of the Keystone State, the West Region’s 7-10 matchup. We spend an irritating amount of time distinguishing ourselves from our state school neighbors, but this is the Nittany Lions’ first tourney appearance since 2001. Maybe some “WE ARE!” chants will bring the karma to University City that will help us end our own drought.
Villanova. Because Jay Wright is just so charming. And if the Wildcats advance, we can always play the ‘we only lost to them by 12’ card.
Nothing piquing your interest? Let’s try the Black and Orange on for size.
1. The hometown of Douglas Davis, the guard whose game-winner took over ESPN this weekend? Philadelphia.
2. The Tigers’ M.O. in recent years has been the same as ours: restore tradition. They’re fighting the same fight we are; they’re just a step ahead at the moment. And at least they kept Tommy Amaker and those damn Crimson out of the bracket.
3. If Princeton wins, the Ivies will get well-deserved respect for the second straight year. It’d be nice to know that Ivy teams can ball with the big boys.
Wait, what am I saying? A Tigers win would give them 14 all-time tourney wins — one more than Penn. They just took the lead in Ivy titles, 27-26.
On second thought:
Let’s Go Owls!
BRIAN KOTLOFF is a junior communication major from Elkins Park, Pa. He is Sports Editor of The Daily Pennsylvanian. His email address is kotloff@theDP.com.