Duke, Eastern Kentucky, and 11 other teams we hate in this year's NCAA Tournament.

The stadium scene.
March 14 2007 1:30 PM

Teams We Hate

Duke, Eastern Kentucky, and 11 other odious schools in this year's NCAA Tournament.

(Continued from Page 2)

If you want a real Cinderella this year, ignore those overdogs from Omaha and look lower. How about 15-seed Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, a senior-laden team that has a real shot to take out injury-riddled Wisconsin. Now that's a real underdog. Creighton is just Indiana with a lamer name.—Pete Segall

University of Tennessee

University of Tennessee, Southeastern Conference, No. 5 in South Region
In just two years, Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl has become college basketball's greatest nuisance. He's whored out his locker room to ESPN cameras. He's stood on chairs in campus cafeterias to drum up student support. He's painted his chest orange and gone shirtless for the cameras at a Lady Vols basketball game. All this would be faintly entertaining if Pearl didn't look and sound as genuine as a carny at the ring-toss tent.

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I am an Illinoisan, Urbana-born, and thus an extreme partisan on the topic of Bruce Freaking Pearl. In 1989, when he was an assistant at Iowa, Pearl secretly taped a recruit, Deon Thomas, "admitting" that he'd been offered a Chevy Blazer and $80,000 to join the Illini. The charges proved unfounded but ultimately led to NCAA sanctions against Illinois for a "lack of institutional control." As a consequence, Pearl was foremost among my childhood sports villains—and that was before I fully perceived the creepy Nixonian overtones of what he had done.

Pearl, of course, insists he was merely ferreting out the cheaters, a characterization that's been scooped up by those members of the media who think of basketball coaches as a congregation of Trappists. I disagree. This is a lifelong careerist who wears his ambition like a cheap mango blazer. A man who had his wife induce their son's birth so he could visit a recruit, who watched game tape at the hospital during his daughter's delivery. "I'm a cad," Pearl told a reporter, joking around about his fatherly negligence. "An absolute scoundrel." For once he wasn't lying.—Tommy Craggs

University at Albany

University at Albany, America East Conference, No. 13 in South Region The nation as a whole might find the Albany Great Danes rather inoffensive. I find them despicable. Let's begin with the uniforms, which read "UAlbany." That's not a word, and it isn't the name of the school. You don't see UKansas or UFlorida, do you?

And consider the home arena. Once upon a time, it was simply the Recreation and Convocation Center, euphonically shortened to "RACC." But money came calling, and the front office sold out. Now the Great Danes play in the State Employees Federal Credit Union Arena, aka "the SEFCU." It's probably the only arena in America whose name sounds like an Eastern European curse word.

Mostly, I hate Albany because my brother Mark went there. He knows in his heart that his school is inferior to my alma mater, Syracuse, but has still always argued the case—except when it comes to sports. Until recently, it was like comparing plankton to a whale shark. Now he finally has cause to gloat.

Mark got a little obnoxious after last year's close shave against Connecticut, when Albany almost became the first 16 seed to win a first-round game. Now that Syracuse has been jobbed by the NCAA selection committee, my brother can sniggle away, bragging that his school's the finest in New York state. And until next March, I have to take it. SEFCU, bro, SEFCU.—Robert Weintraub

Tommy Craggs is the editor-in-chief of Deadspin.

Bryan Curtis is a staff writer for Grantland. Follow him on Twitter.

Mike DeBonis is the political columnist for Washington City Paper.

Daniel Engber is a columnist for Slate

Rachael Larimore is a Slate senior editor.

Chris Park is a lawyer in San Francisco.

Justin Peters is a writer for Slate. He is working on a book about Aaron Swartz, copyright, and the rise of “free culture.” Email him at justintrevett@fastmail.fm.

David Roth is a contributor to the blog Can't Stop the Bleeding. He has an essay about basketball and shoplifting in the new anthologyLiving on the Edge of the World.

Tom Scocca is the managing editor of Deadspin and the author of Beijing Welcomes You: Unveiling the Capital City of the Future.

Pete Segall is a writer in Chicago.

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