The seeds of P.C.H.A. were sown on the verdant pastures of Northwestern University, where I first gazed into the alluring eyes of The Dilemma and knew it was meant to be. Now, neither of us are the most fanatical sports alumni in the country by any stretch, but we undoubtedly bleed purple and white.
Unfortunately, it is usually from our eyes where the basketball team is concerned. It’s not like Northwestern fans ask for much… the football team won three Big Ten championships between ’95 and ’00, and has lost eight bowl games since ’96… that should hold us for a few decades at least. The basketball team can’t even give us anywhere near that much.
The NCAA began its basketball tournament in 1939… only five teams have been in Division 1 that long and never made March Madness. One I’ve never heard of: St. Francis (NY). One I’ve only heard of in the context of sexual harassment: The Citadel. One I’ve heard of but am surprised that they have a basketball team: William & Mary. One should be slightly embarrassed, because they’ve had Bob Knight and Coach K as head coaches: Army. And only one plays in one of the Big Six major conferences: the Northwestern Wildcats.
To put that in some perspective… there have been 64 teams in the tourney for the past 26 years (fuck the play-in games), and 32 for the 10 years before that. Basically, the top half of the Big Six conferences make March Madness. That means that a Big Ten team only has to finish sixth or so in the conference to get a bid each year.
But Northwestern is such a good academic school, you whine? Let’s take a look at some schools ranked above us in the latest U.S. News rankings (we’re at 12). Princeton (2) – ’65 Final Four, ’98 Second Round. Stanford (5) – ’42 Champs, ’98 Final Four, ’01 Elite Eight, ’08 Sweet Sixteen. Penn (5) – ’79 Final Four, ’94 Second Round. Dartmouth (9) – ’42 & ’44 Runners-Up. Duke (9) – Four National Titles, Six Runners-Up, Five Other Final Fours.
The Cubs haven’t won a World Series since 1908, or a NL Pennant since 1945. Until 1969, only the two World Series teams made the post-season. From ’69 to ’94, two additional teams made it (the Cubs made the playoffs twice in this era); since ’94, eight total teams have made the playoffs (the Cubs have made it four times in this era). For most of their epic streak, they would have had to finish first or second in the National League to have a shot. Northwestern only has to finish in the top half of the Big Ten to break their horrible streak. And after losing to Ohio State today, it’s wait ’til next year yet again.
What a fucking embarrassment.