LA Sports: Who to root for in the NCAA Tournament

(Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images) /

Typically LA Sports fans have at least one high-profile school to root for in the NCAA Tournament. That is not the case this year.

Neither the UCLA Bruins nor the USC Trojans will be dancing in March as both teams did not make the Men’s Basketball NCAA Tournament. That means Los Angeles will not be represented in the tournament for the first time since both teams missed it in 2012, which leaves LA Sports fans in a conundrum.

Fear not though Angelenos, thanks to the magic and power of March Madness, there are still teams you can root for in this year’s tournament. Besides, we all like to do brackets and pools so some of us will be rooting to get paid thanks to some team.

If you still need a guide for who to root for here are some teams.

Lone So Cal team

No team in Los Angeles city or county is going to the tourney but Orange County is sending the UC Irvine Anteaters to their second tournament appearance.

The best team in the Big West Conference, the Anteaters won the conference regular season and tournament championships. They are riding a 16-game winning streak and head into the tournament as a 13th seed in the South Region.

The Anteaters face the Big 12 co-regular season champion Kansas State Wildcats. The Anteaters are led by point guard Max Hazzard, who UCLA fans should recognize. Hazzard is the grandson of Walt Hazzard, who led the Bruins and coach John Wooden to their first national championship back in 1964.

Back the PAC

To say the Pac-12 had a rough season is an understatement. Only one team, the Washington Huskies, managed single-digit losses in the conference. Half the teams in the conference went .500 or lower in conference play.

There was talk that the NCAA selection would only take one team for the tournament, but then the Oregon Ducks gained qualification through winning the conference tournament and Arizona State Sun Devils made into a first four game.

So start praying for upsets and March Madness if you want the Pac-12 to regain some dignity.

Duke (No really, I’m not kidding, stop getting angry and listen)

I know I know, rooting for the Duke Blue Devils in basketball is tantamount to cheering the Devil himself. For everybody outside of Durham, North Carolina rooting for Duke makes you an elitist, boat shoe wearing, yuppie. But hear me out.

Duke also happens to have one of the best college basketball players in the nation: Zion Williamson.

Zion has drawn comparisons to LeBron James and is likely to be the number one pick in this year’s NBA Draft. This is the kind of player you want to see showcased in the tournament. An athletic dominant big man who can dribble, pass, dunk, and snuff out an offense will conjure up great performances of past tournaments.

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If LA Sports fans can’t get over their hate for Duke Basketball and their arrogant ways, at least root for Zion as he prepares to take his greatness to the NBA.