It was 1965. The landscape of the country was rapidly changing. Men were just beginning to grow their hair out to look a little more like women and the women were beginning to grow their hair out even longer. Some group named The Beatles made a notable appearance on some show hosted by a guy named Ed Sullivan. Everyone everywhere was walking around whistling Roger Miller’s smash hit “Do-Wacka-Do.”
And deep in the middle of the corn cluttered prairie, the Wichita State University basketball program was playing in their first—and until this Saturday—last Final Four game. Led by coach Gary Thompson, that year’s team—who saw their first number one ranking in December of ’64—beat Southern Methodist and Oklahoma State before losing convincingly to UCLA, 108-89.
They’d make it back to the tournament several times between then and now—including an Elite Eight appearance in 1981—but never as deep as they did back when some guy named Bob Dylan was singing a song about The Rolling Stones (also a musical act of that era).
Even though their baseball team is perhaps their most renowned institution—they boast the highest winning percentage of any collegiate baseball team in the last 31 years, have made seven College World Series appearances and won the national championship in 1989—their basketball team has long been nothing to scoff at. And when they meet with first-seed Louisville on Saturday (on CBS, 5:09PM CT), perhaps it goes without saying that I know who I’ll be rooting for.
Here are just a couple of reasons.
Everyone Loves an Underdog: And frankly, they don’t get much more underdogged than a nine-seed from a lesser conference taking on a team widely regarded to be the tournament favorite. Don’t get me wrong, Louisville is a fine city, and they’ve got a passionate fan-base, but this is David V. Goliath, and if you’re not from Goliath’s hometown or didn’t attend school with him, why ever on earth would you consider cheering for him?
Rooting for an upset is always much more fun than standing in the corner of the boxer who’s twice as big, twice as strong and as soulless as a minister in a whore house on payday. And while Louisville may not be the One-and-Done-NBA-Mill that, oh, say, the University of Kentucky is, they’re still a lot less loveable that Wichita State.
Wichita is a Weird-Ass Place: It’s only about three hours away, but it feels like it takes two days to drive there. Seriously. And it’s a LONG two days, at that. And once you get there, you look around at the Taco Bell and the Wal-Mart and you kind of think to yourself, “I bet there are a LOT of people with unprescribed pain pills in that Wal-Mart.” Oh, AND the whole fact that there’s a pretty big school there who routinely pushes out nationally competitive sports teams… that’s weird, too.
The last time I went to Wichita, I was going to visit my grandpa who, for some strange reason, was in a city he’d never lived in, dying in his sister’s trailer park. I was 14, and traveling with my white trash aunt and her white trash son. I ended up getting a tattoo—a real one— of a mosquito on my shoulder because that’s what you do when you’re unsupervised and 14 in Wichita, I guess. The “artist” was a semi-professional tattooist with a predictable name like “Snake” or “Spider” or “Blade,” and I got it for free because he was doing my aunt.
The Fans—and Cheerleaders—Often Demonstrate the Hand-Signal Known as the “Shocker”: According to urbandictionary.com, and solely for the sake of those who are unfamiliar, the “shocker” is described as such: “The act of inserting 2 fingers into the vaginal opening (normally the index and middle fingers), and 1 into the anus (normally the “pinky” finger). Commonly described a numerous number of ways, e. g. 2 in the pink, 1 in the stink; two in the grass one in the ass; two in the slut one in the butt; two in the koot, one in the boot; goin to town with one in the brown; and many more…”
I just… yep.
Ok, ok. So I didn’t really provide any COMPELLING reasons to root for Wichita State… I actually just spent 700+ words shitting on their city and their fans. But it’s not my job to convince you who to root for. I am but an unbiased writer who sticks to the facts and shares his thoughts.
You’re all adults and I trust you’ll do the right thing: cheer for your neighbor to the west, even if that neighbor is a little creepy and constantly pleading with you to buy them cold medicine because the CVS won’t sell them anymore.
It’s all about Midwest pride and, you know, two in the slut, one in the butt.
Follow me on Twitter, @StanfordWhistle.