Chip, Jon, me, mid-1st half, Alamodome, score: 40-14
Honestly, I should have known it was over when I heard the Kansas pep band. They played an arrangement of some awesome pop/jazz invention that was clear, unexpected, complicated and catchy – the kind of piece actual musicians love. When our band took over, it was the same ragged tunes they’ve been flogging since 1987. Familiar, sure, but shopworn. It bore remarking.
I don’t think it’s possible to oversell the amount of hatred for North Carolina stuffed in the Alamodome on Saturday night. The rivers of royal blue coarsed through the aisles, powered by loathing, high on undying resentment and foaming with betrayal. Kansas fans wore shirts that didn’t toy with the language like those “Duck Fook” jokes: they actually said “FUCK ROY”.
If you were from another country and judged audience bias by noise and color, you would think 85% of the stadium were from Kansas, and about 300 people were from North Carolina. I can’t say I’ve ever been in a more hostile environment, and I’ve been to road games in the ACC. Jon, Chip and I tried our best, but sometimes it felt like we got mixed up at the concession stand and walked into the wrong movie.
They booed our players, they booed our coaches, they relished each of our botched shots like bon-bons from heaven. When they began to pull 20, 22, 25, 28 points ahead in the first half, tens of thousands screamed in furious ecstasy, addicted to the cruel adrenaline of knife-twisting. They reminded me of Eric Cartman making Scott Tenorman eat his own parents, then licking the bully’s face while moaning “Ooh, the tears of ultimate sadness! Let me taste your tears, Scott! Oh, num num num!”
Okay, Kansas. You got it out of your system. Roy Williams was your coach, but then went back to his alma mater, taking what is arguably the best job in college basketball. Then he won the national championship with us. I understand you were pissed off. Now can you move on? Because if that’s all you had to fight for, Memphis is going to clean your fucking clock tonight.