The NCAA Tournament kicks into high gear tomorrow with the commencement of first round play. Maybe not all 64 teams will take the court over the next two days believing they have a chance to cut down the nets at the Final Four, but in a year of incredible parity, there is a plethora of squads with legitimate championship aspirations.
While much of America seems to get behind a Cinderella during March Madness, there are some programs that no one wants to see walk off with the trophy. Maybe it's because they have an overabundance of success, or maybe they have annoying fans. Perhaps their coach is a less than sympathetic figure. Whatever the reason, you probably don't want to see them win it all.
Without further ado, let's dig into the five fan bases nobody wants to see celebrate a national title this year, starting with...
The Jayhawks are a model of consistency. Every year, they win the Big 12 regular season title and often follow it up with a conference tournament crown. They almost always earn a high seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Once in the field of 64, the Jayhawks don't always live up to expectations. They won it all in 2008 and finished as the national runner-up in 2012, but have also been eliminated by No. 9, 10, 11, 13 and 14 seeds.
This year, KU is the top overall seed and has what looks like a manageable path to the Final Four.Sure, they have a lovable senior star in Perry Ellis and winning it all would exorcise some past demons. Still, the Jayhawks aren't exactly starving for success, so no one is going to clap too loudly if they do capture the title. In fact, many people will simply ask what took them so long to do it again.
Remember how we talked about Kansas doing so little with so much in the tournament? Well, the opposite of that is UConn. The Huskies have won two titles in the last five years, one as a No. 3 seed and the other as a No. 7.
This year, the Huskies are the No. 9 seed in the South Region, matched up against No. 8 Colorado. If they win, they get top-seeded Kansas in round two. Simply put, it doesn't look like UConn will advance very far in this year's tournament.
But if they do? Look out. If the Huskies somehow go on an insane jaunt to the program's fifth national championship (all since 1999), a lot of non-UConn fans would be fed up. For one, this team doesn't even have a star on the level of Kemba Walker or Shabazz Napier, who led the Huskies' last two upset title bids. And can you imagine blue blood fan bases like UNC, Kansas, Indiana, Michigan State etc. having to watch this program make it three miraculous March runs in six years while still dealing with their own teams' title drought?
It won't be pretty.
The Heels last won it all in 2009, but they appear to have a great shot to do so this year. The Heels are a No. 1 seed and are playing in relatively friendly confines this weekend in Raleigh. If they get to the second weekend, they'll be in Philly, where a large contingent of Carolina blue-clad fans should await them.
Once upon a time, Carolina was the closest thing college basketball had to "America's Team." You either loved them or you couldn't stand them. That status has diminished in recent years, as the next two programs on our list have overtaken the Heels.
But again, Carolina is a program with a ton of recent success, a rabid and loyal fan base, and a place among college basketball's elite. Does anyone want to see these rich guys get any richer? Likely not.
One year after entering the tournament undefeated, the Wildcats return as a dangerous-looking No. 4 seed. In order to reach the Final Four, they could have to take down Indiana and North Carolina, which for a UK fan is as good as anything short of beating Louisville and Duke.
There's several reasons for Kentucky being on this list. They're a blue-blood program (almost literally). They have a coach who is beloved by his players and fans and disliked by many outsiders. They never run out of talent and many people can't stand their reliance on one-and-dones.
They have the ultimate celebrity front-runner fan in Drake. Then, there are the members of Big Blue Nation, who loudly and proudly let you know who they root for at all times.
If you're not one of those people, you probably don't want to see the 'Cats win it all this year. Or ever.
Remember that whole thing we mentioned about North Carolina once being "America's Team" and being either loved or hated? These days, that honor can probably go to Duke.
The Blue Devils have been the most successful program of the past 25 years and have won two championships (2010, '15) in the last six years. Like Kentucky, they have a coach who is beloved by his fans and players and disliked by many others. Like Kentucky, they bring in beaucoup talent on a yearly basis. Like Kentucky, they've made a living lately securing one-and-done players.
But what the Blue Devils also have is a holier-than-thou reputation and a fan base that thrives on it, as well as a star player, Grayson Allen, who is fun to watch but easy to dislike. When you factor in that they won it all last year, Duke might be the last team anyone wants to see win a national title.