It’s been well documented that the University of Louisville men’s basketball team will not be playing in this seasons edition of March Madness. There will however, be quite a few teams playing from the Atlantic Coast Conference. North Carolina, Virginia, Miami, Duke and Notre Dame are all locks to be included (in my opinion). Clemson, Pittsburgh and Syracuse are on the bubble.
Are you loyal to the conference or will you cheer for a local team? I do not subscribe to the theory of cheering for a team because of conference affiliation. I know people do it in football every year and I think it makes them look ignorant. Pounding you chest and screaming “ACC, ACC” after an ACC team wins a title makes you seem as if your team was not good enough so you found an alternate way to run your mouth.
Louisville has been in several different conferences over the last few years and this is only the second year of being an ACC member. The newness has not allowed us to build up any rivalries so its hard to find a reason to cheer against any of them. There is a little history with Duke and we were Big East conference mates with Syracuse, Pittsburgh and Notre Dame. While I won’t cheer for any ACC teams just because we are in the same conference, I won’t cheer against them either. The only team I cheer against is Cincinnati. I will never cheer for them no matter who they play. I know you are saying, “What if they play Kentucky?” I just won’t cheer at all. I won’t even watch. I’ll check the results after the game. I usually cheer against Notre Dame also. I can’t tell you exactly why but I just really dislike them. I think it stems from Digger Phelps or maybe the overtime games.
Louisville fans are looking for a reason to watch the NCAA tournament. People are suggesting that they will pick players and do a fantasy type league to justify why they will watch. Others say they are just going to watch to see how they do in their brackets. Some will watch just to cheer against Kentucky while other people will try to profit from placing a wager with a bookie. Whatever your reason or excuse is, you are going to watch. You will find a reason to justify your strong desire to watch postseason college basketball. Or so the Nielsen metered market ratings say. The top five rated metered markets for the 2015 NCAA championship game of Duke vs. Wisconsin:
Milwaukee – 42.2/59
Raleigh-Durham – 36.2/54
Louisville – 33.5/48
Columbus – 29.9/44
Greensboro-High Point-Winston Salem – 29.5/43
So if you throw out the two cities of the teams playing in it, Louisville had the most people watching. That is a common theme here in Louisville. We love basketball but were we watching because it was an ACC team playing or is it just simply that we love hoops? To me there is no question that it’s because we love hoops.
In the 2014-2015 season, the Louisville market averaged a metered market-leading 5.9 rating in all of ESPN college basketball telecasts. It was the 13th straight year that Louisville was the leader and it was also the largest regular season average for college basketball on ESPN in any market. Greensboro was second with a 3.0 average. It was the 4th straight year Greensboro finished second. ESPN and ESPN2 together, televised the 5 most watched games on any network. Behind both of the Duke vs. UNC games, the December 27th game of Kentucky at Louisville was the third most watched game with 3,495,000 viewers. It was the most viewed men’s college basketball game ever on ESPN2.
So we as Louisville fans can do one of two things. We can continue to watch and stay atop the television ratings. Or, we can boycott watching as an attempt to get the attention of the NCAA. I am as upset as everyone else that we won’t be a participant it the tournament but I understand and agree with the decision. I know most of you don’t but in time you all will. The decision is not fair but, based on the NCAA’s broken system, it had to happen this way. We can send a message to the NCAA by not watching so maybe they will fix, or at least address the system of punishing kids who were not directly involved in any allegations. By not watching we can affect the ratings and that can, hopefully, be the starting point of a change. That sounds easy to do but our love for college basketball and especially, March Madness, will not allow us to turn away. We will watch.
So I ask you, what is your reason for watching and who are you rooting for? I will watch because of the upsets, the buzzer beaters, the bracket challenges, the passion of young athletes, the bands, the pageantry, one shining moment and mainly because I like college basketball. I will cheer for teams I pick in my brackets but if I had to pick a team to adopt this year, it would be Xavier. Yes, Xavier. I will root for Xavier this year. Who you got?
Leave me a comment and let me know why you will be watching and who you are cheering for.
As always, GO CARDS!