Why I need this team to go deep in the tournament.

My extreme sentimentality about Louisville basketball is why girls don’t normally have sports enthusiasm encoded into their DNA. I think I might cry about how much I love this team.

(Yeah, that  thing about girls and sports was a flaming generalization. It was supposed to be funny.)

But really. I love Louisville basketball every year. I support them every year, through thick and thin, and I watch with hope at every game. I love every player, even when they sometimes make stupid, impossible selfish plays (coughSOSAcough) or seem like they are huge assholes in real life (coughSOSAcough… ok, maybe I didn’t really love him that much). The only reason winter doesn’t suck is because of Louisville basketball (and also, I suppose, birthdays, Christmas, and family together time).

However, every year there are a few players and a few games that are specifically wonderful, awe-inspiring, exciting, and tear-jerking. And more rarely, there are whole teams of players and whole seasons of games that inspire these feelings.

2004-05’s Final 4 team was (of course) my favorite team I have been alive to witness and be a fan of. It was a team full of great players with great personalities and unimaginably awesome (and adorable) chemistry on and off the court. It was a team FULL of stars who understood what it meant to actually play as a team; how to shine when it’s your day and how to throw up great passes and pat your friends on the butt when it’s not. They won some great games and lost some heart breakers. They were fun and exciting to watch because they epitomized everything good and fun about college basketball (and pointed out everything terrible about the NBA).

This year’s team is the best team I’ve seen since then. These guys have great chemistry. On any given night, any guy can play a great game on offense or defense. They truly understand what it is to be unselfish and to work as a team. Like most Louisville teams that end up great, they started with low expectations - despite the rage I feel when every single commentator is against us, I love the feeling of victory. Like the Final Four team, these guys seem to have great chemistry. And, perhaps even more than any team I’ve been conscious for, this year’s team has extreme tenacity and will power. They are always ready to pick themselves and each other up and have a great game, or come back from behind by 20 if they need to.

I love this team. Not because they are the most skilled or the most star-powered, but because they exemplify why I love college basketball. They are fun to watch and fun to listen to. They are happy and excited to be playing this game and treasure their experience in the greatest basketball city in America. This team cannot lose - I won’t let them, because I just don’t want this season to end. They deserve everything they get.

Thanks for an astounding 4 years, Preston. Let’s keep it up a few more weeks.

I love Louisville basketball.

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