Mallazzo: Wildcats should jump on Wichita State bandwagon

Mike Mallazzo, Columnist

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I know that your bracket is busted. I realize that, as this tournament has gone on, Northwestern basketball players have been shooting at fairways and red Solo cups.

I am aware that you already have 500 emails in your inbox and a week-one midterm in organic chemistry and therefore don’t have enough free time to care about anything other than “Game of Thrones.”

However, we should all take a moment on Saturday to live vicariously through the Wichita State Shockers as they take on Louisville as Wichita’s presence in the Final Four is as close as NU will get for quite some time.

I understand that most of you have never caught a harvest moon in Kansas and you’re about as likely to be able to find Wichita, Kan., on a map as a Kony 2012 activist looking for Kampala. However, as Wildcat fans accustomed to irrelevance and under-appreciation, we are compelled to root for another team suffering our plight.

Though you might be unfamiliar with Wichita, nobody has heard of NU either. In a recent poll conducted by Vanity Fair, only one third of respondents knew that NU is located in Illinois.  Just as we think of Wichita as a town in Oz, a large chunk of Americans think we go to school up in Pearl Jam country. And we all have that aunt who congratulated us for getting into community college or keeps telling us how nice Boston is.

Just like us, Wichita State can’t even get any love in its own city or state. An infographic created by Deadspin shows that even in Wichita, more people were rooting for the University of Kansas than for the Shockers. This sounds eerily similar to the fact that “Chicago’s Big Ten Team” has far less fans in the city than University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana or Notre Dame.

Most importantly, we have Wichita State to thank for finally eliminating the only thing NU students like less than the yellow line: Ohio State. The Buckeyes have repeatedly shattered our hearts, no time worse than two years ago when a phantom foul on Jared Sullinger denied NU a storybook upset. We had to endure Aaron Craft’s wretched grin until the Shockers heroically wiped it from his face.

As Wichita prepares to take on Louisville in the national semifinal, I urge you to think back to high school and that girl or guy you so badly wanted to take to junior prom. Louisville is his current beautiful, cheer-captain Regina-George-esque girlfriend.  Wichita State is you; the smart, creative girl reading an ACT prep book on the bleachers dreaming of her shot at high school glory. So when Wichita State takes down Louisville on Saturday, it will be a victory for the perennial underdog everywhere.

Mike Mallazzo is a Medill junior. He can be reached at michaelmallazzo2014@u.northwestern.edu. If you would like to respond publicly to this letter, send a Letter to the Editor to opinion@dailynorthwestern.com

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