Life has been different since the University of Louisville Cardinals Men's Basketball team won the 2013 NCAA Men's Basketball National Championship. See Louisville v. Michigan, VillenHD (N.D. Ga. Apr. 8, 2013):
see also 2013 Championship Tribute: Past, Present and Future:
While losing in March is always terrible, and the memories of losing in March still sting years later, the Championship win has certainly helped ease things a little bit, as did the Final Four run the year before. Picturing Preston! crying on the bench? Just hearing those first few words "take me to that old familiar place...." will make things a little better. Remembering the drive back from Indy in 2009? "What a move by Swopshire..." Nightmares of Roger Powell Sr's son flying through the lane to dunk in his OWN THREE POINT MISS LIKE HOW IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE, just cue up anything from April of 2013 and, bam, all better.
But some losses still sting, and nothing would be sweeter than avenging them in the tournament. Honestly, when you see Michigan State, don't you immediately think about Izzo in the 2012 Sweet 16 game instead of [insert personal horrible memory from 2009 here]? Wouldn't it be great to avenge as many teams as possible in one tournament?
But since we won the championship, should it really matter anymore? I mean, in the movie, the guy from Boogie Nights said, in response to hearing the overly convoluted and fantastical revenge ideas from the Count:
Jacopo: Why not just kill them? I'll do it! I'll run up to Paris - bam, bam, bam, bam. I'm back before week's end. We spend the treasure. How is this a bad plan?
And you found yourself nodding like, ya, I mean, that seems way more reasonable than the plan the Count had.
But for fun late one night this week at my desk, working on some briefing (hence the cringeworthy citation jokes, supra, see I can't help myself ahhh), I checked bracketmatrix.com and realized that there might be a plausible path for a Cards of Monte Cristo style run through the tournament, avenging each crushing loss from tournaments past.
But I need your help. Here's the best I can do, based on bracketmatrix.com's projections.
Assuming the Cards are the #4 seed in the West, and assuming Kentucky is #1 in the Midwest, we could not meet them in the Championship game. Considering UK is obviously the main bad guy here, we need to defeat them last, but then still have something to live for, i.e., the championship game.
The Elite 8 is easy - 2 seed in the West Arizona. This was the most excited for a tournament game I can remember being in my young life. Still don't understand what happened to Cliff Rozier that tournament.
That was such a great team, if they played their best basketball they make it to the Final Four. March! Arrgh!
The Sweet 16 is a little harder to see plausibly happening. The 1 seed in the West is currently projected as Villanova. We have no beef with them. So an 8/9 has to beat them, and I think I know who that might be but want to make sure it doesn't mess everything else up.
The possible teams and current projected seeds that are left in terms of crushing March defeats:
Butler (6 seed) (THEY ARE RUNNING THE PICKET FENCE EVERY TIME)
Oklahoma (3 seed) (wtf really?) (1988 was a long time ago and Birmingham 2008 kinda made up for it but still)
North Carolina (4/5 seed, which means almost impossible to play them in tournament) (Padgett was fouled!)
Gonzaga (2 seed on other side of bracket, which means playing them in the championship would ruin everything about this analogy) (if someone can come up with a better one, go for it, I haven't seen Kill Bill so maybe after she (presumably) killed Bill there was still a random henchman left or something?)
Xavier (9 seed) (that was a weird season but that loss still sucked)
Illinois / Texas A&M (Bubble)
Indiana (12 seed play-in) (a lot has happened since then but I personally witnessed that loss in St. Louis in 1993)
Arkansas (5 shot) - I'm too young to remember this but apparently the US Reed shot was not pleasant for UofL fans of a certain age
Based on that and how badly I want to beat certain teams relative to someone else, I would think a plausible scenario would be something like this:
1) Beat UNC in the ACC tournament
2) As a 4 seed in the West, play 13 seed Valparaiso, which beat Wisconsin-Green Bay last night (coached by Brian Wardle, and yes, I was in Freedom Hall for that game too and while it wasn't a tournament game, it arguably kept us out of the tournament that season)
3) Arkansas as our 5 seems pretty obvious. We can also have Butler play its way to the 5 line and we get them in the second round. Last option: 12 seed Indiana upsets some 5 seed.
4) Xavier can't play Villanova in the second round because they are both in the Big East (I think?) (don't have time to consult bracketing rules or Big East membership list but I think that's right?) so we are stuck here. So either another team has to get the 1 seed out West (like Zona wins the Pac12 convincingly and Nova loses in the first round in the Big East tournament) or Butler has to drop from a 6 to an 8 and beat Nova. So the Sweet 16 remains the least plausible round in which to enact our revenge. I think my preference would be Arizona here since we lost to them in 1994 in the Sweet 16.
5) In the Elite 8 play Arizona as the 2 in the West, or Gonzaga as the 2 in the West assuming Zona is the 1, or Oklahoma as the 3 in the West assuming the other two things don't happen.
6) Final Four: PRINT UP YOUR 38-1 T-SHIRTS NOW FOLKS AND BURY ME IN IT WHILE DJ KDOGG DOES THE MUSIC AT MY FUNERAL
7) Championship Game:
Live happily ever after, pretty much can play anyone here but I'm going to say, I dunno, Wichita State and it's a convincing victory because still not really "over" the Final Four.
Okay, so, that happened. Please construct your own revenge narrative below. Please keep it clean, and, most importantly, logical, plausible and based in reality, like I did. This is no time for frivolity or nonsense.