Grading the March Madness Underdogs - Part 4

Welcome back for Part 4 of our in-depth reporting on this year's March Madness underdogs. We've hit every seed from 12 to 14, and now we're at the very bottom rung of reasonable hope - the 15s. While the other underdogs profiled come into the tournament with their backs against the wall, it's not a gigantic shocker if and when they pull off the upset. Meanwhile, the 16 seeds, for all they contribute to the tournament, may as well be a bunch of old Nick Anderson posters grudgingly dragged up from a moldy basement and taped to the arena floor. 

But the 15 seeds ... each game is terror, and each triumph is magic. It doesn't happen often (7 wins against 117 losses), but when it happens, it's like finding a beautiful rainbow that decapitates your annoying neighbor. Never has the phrase "HAHA, LOOK AT THOSE ASSHOLES!" been more apt than watching 1997 South Carolina (Coppin State!), 2012 Duke (Lehigh), or 2013 Georgetown (Florida Gulf Coast University and Air Conditioning Repair School) melt off the court in a puddle of pure grief. The very existence of these upsets creates a thick, black, viscous bile of cynical delight within my gallbladder. I'm told it can melt steel beams.

Do any of this year's Hedge Knights of Borderline Ineptitude have what it takes? Let's find out.

UNC-Asheville

Where the Fuck is This?
Asheville, NC. A perfectly cromulent little mountain burg where I used to go watch the Avett Brothers play for five bucks. This was years before everyone in Brooklyn started dressing like them. Good barbecue, good beer, great town. I don't care to find out what conference they're in. Let's say the Synthesis League.

1. Nickname - The Bulldogs. I will pay them $29 to change it to the Bulldops, though. Until then, D+.

2. Notable Alumni -Topper Shutt, which is either a meteorologist or a porn star. Again, I'm not opening more tabs than I have to.

Also, "alumni" is a plural group of people who have graduated from an institution. An "alumnus" (male), "alumna" (female), or "alum" (colloquial, either sex) is a singular graduate. So let's add a second ... oh. There isn't one. I guess we'll see you next time on Shooter's No-Fun Grammar CircusD-

3. Indigenous Bears Nearby - Black bears, which are really just the spinach wraps of the bear community. C-

4. Resume Prestige - You know how colleges will trumpet the bullshit sub-sub-regional rankings from some obscure U.S. News and World Report category? Like how West Nevada A&M is 8th in International Diplomacy or something? Well, UNC Asheville's page lists its 2012 reaffirmation of certification as one of the president's major achievements. D

5. Proximity to my House - 654 miles, which isn't terrible so long as I'm planning on visiting restaurants and breweries rather than the sad safety schools of the Carolinas. C

6. Name Brevity - It's brev-ish. C+

7. Elevation Above Sea Level - 2,134. B+

Final GPA: 1.76


Weber State

Where the Fuck is This?
Located in scenic, pastoral Ogden, Weber. It's the flagship research institution of the state of Weber.

1. Nickname - The Wildcats. Come on, man. At least change the Create-A-Team settings from the default. D-

2. Notable Alumni - NBA coaching great Dick Motta. If you knew how long I skimmed his page trying to figure out if he was Thad Matta's father, you'd throw rotten fruit at me in passing. D+

3. Indigenous Bears Nearby - The great state of Weber is teeming with bear, polar, grizzly, and hirsute male-identifying homosexual alike. A

4. Resume Prestige - I've heard people brag about the most asinine stuff. I've never heard someone brag about graduating from an institution in Uta ... uh, Weber. C

5. Proximity to my House - To reach the land of Weber, you need only open your heart. A-

6. Name Brevity - WEH-BURR WILD-CATS! (clap clap clapclapclap) A-

7. Elevation Above Sea Level - 4,300 feet. Good show! A

Final GPA: 2.77

CSU Bakersfield

Where the Fuck is This?
Bakersfield, dummy. They play in the WAC, which is the color beige in sports form.

1. Nickname - The Roadrunners. This is one of those nicknames that your bog-standard community college would consider beneath them. Maybe it has something to do with the local fauna. I don't care. You couldn't pay me to give a shit about CSU Bakersfield. D

2. Notable Alumni - Big Poppa E, professional slam poet. Take a long hard look at yourself, Wikipedia administrator.

Not a stock photo. 

Also, MMA fighter and noted woman-puncher Tito Ortiz rassled for them as a benchwarmer. I don't know if he graduated, and I'm not doing the detective work to find out. This school has only been around since 1965, and I can only conclude that it's spent most of that time functioning as the gross pool filter of the California educational system. D-

3. Indigenous Bears Nearby - No bears. Maybe black bears. Or the road runners killed them. D-

4. Resume Prestige - NOPE. D

5. Proximity to my House - 2,039 miles. To get to Bakersfield. F

6. Name Brevity - I demand further brevity. D

7. Elevation Above Sea Level - 404. Elevation not found. INTERNET BURN. F

Final GPA: 0.63 (Luckily, that will still get you a CSU Bakersfield degree)

Middle Tennessee

Where the Fuck is This?
Murfreesboro, Tennessee. My cousin went to undergrad there, and once they filmed at episode of Bar Rescue at this shitty place near campus. These are the only two historical events depicted on the town seal. This school became pretty big (22,000 students in the middle of nowhere) after The University of Tennessee instituted lottery scholarships and you couldn't write "don't math good" in place of your SAT score anymore. They play in the Chumbawamba League or something.

1. Nickname - The Blue Raiders. Like the regular Raiders, except their fans have slightly more education and a comparable amount of teeth. B

2. Notable Alumni - Al Gore. Senior, though. Don't get too excited. Also they've produced two Nobel Laureates and a Nashville mayor named Bill Boner. TEE HEE! B+

3. Indigenous Bears Nearby - So yadda yadda not a whole lot of Bears (maybe black bears), let's get back to Boner. He once appeared on the Phil Donahue Show with a "singer" (every woman with a decent ego in Nashville thinks they are) he was engaged to. Except he was still married to his third wife at the time. So Boner plays harmonica and she sings "Rocky Top." They got married and divorced afterward, and eventually he left politics and started teaching driver's ed in the suburbs. He's now retired and married to his fifth wife.

I have no idea why he was on the show. I really do love the state of Tennessee. A-

4. Resume Prestige - They've got a degree in Concrete Industry Management. I think my cousin majored in Horses. She likes horses and stuff. C

5. Proximity to my House - 514 miles. I guess at least it's single digits. C

6. Name Brevity - I've never met a soul who insisted on calling it anything but MTSU. Like the full name was a little presumptuous. Or maybe that's how they root out City Folk. B-

7. Elevation Above Sea Level - 619 feet. D+

Final GPA: 2.57

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