By Christopher Acree–
To watch or not to watch, that is the question.
Whether tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of self-imposed banishments, or to take remote controls against a sea of basketball games, and not watch them.
Sorry for ye olde English, but this whole saga with the allegations and the postseason ban reeks of Shakespeare, does it not? Crime, lust, betrayal, courtesans, Italians. The Bard would have a field day if he hadn’t been dead for almost 400 years.
Regardless of the Shakespeare reference, U of L fans aren’t feeling very poetic this week to say the least. For the first time in a decade, Selection Sunday passed and millions of NCAA tournament brackets will be filled out without the Cards on one of the lines. And everybody is facing a March without U of L men’s basketball and the difficult decision about what to do with the unceasing television coverage of the tournament.
“That’s why the tourneys so fun,” freshman finance major Ben Zumdick said. “You follow one team and you just kind of pull for them. I don’t really have a team that I’m pulling for anymore. It’s kind of a ‘watch it and see what happens’ type of thing now. I’ll still watch it but there’s not a lot of personal appeal for me.”
Many U of L students make up a chunk of a fan base that watches more college basketball than anyone in the country. Last week, ESPN announced the Louisville area was the top market for college basketball viewing for the 14th straight years. But with all the recent news, will that streak continue?
“I enjoy watching basketball in general,” senior music education major Josh Barnes said. “Obviously I’m not as invested in it. I’ll probably still watch some of it, but I don’t know that I’ll fill out a bracket or anything. I don’t care as much I guess.”
Coach Rick Pitino (who NCAA investigators are only just now talking to) has gone on the record stating that he won’t be watching much, if any, of the tournament.
So what’s a Cardinal fan to do?
Should we watch the tournament as a fan, rooting for no one in particular?
Watch the Lady Cardinals in the women’s NCAA tournament? Definitely admirable, but attendance and television ratings this season would seem to indicate you’re not going to do that.
Boycott tournament coverage in protest? Good luck finding any channel that isn’t showing March Madness. What else is on TV in March besides basketball? Cooking shows? Political debates? Is Duck Dynasty still on the air?
Watch and root for UK in hopes that the Championship might be returned triumphantly to the state once again? (No. Just no.)
No matter how somebody may decide to watch basketball this month, it’s unlikely the specter of the ban and allegations will be lifted until we get a more definitive answer about what shenanigans actually went down in Minardi Hall and what other punishments may result from them.
Until then, when the last act has ended and the final curtain drawn, we can see whether this is a Shakespearean tragedy where everybody winds up dead, or one of Shakespeare’s tales where a lot of stuff goes down but everybody’s bored as hell. Only time will tell.