Yet if there was one thing missing … it’d be a little hate.
Not from fans. The fans still provide ample opportunities for teams to hear four-letter words thrown their way and loads of boos at every turn.
But what about the coaches? That’s the question Andy Katz asks in this fun read from yesterday.
When Katz was a beat guy out West, he loved watching New Mexico State-New Mexico and BYU-Utah, mostly because the coaches could be so entertaining – and refreshing – about their dislike for each other’s programs. Neil McCarthy couldn’t stand Dave Bliss’ Lobos. And vice versa. Same for BYU’s Roger Reid and Utah’s Rick Majerus, for varying reasons.
And I gotta admit, that kind of stuff is fun. Loved hearing Kansas fans rip Norm Stewart and Missouri when I was in school – and Norm always gave as good as he got. Rob Dauster explained yesterday how the Georgetown-Syracuse rivalry was the same way back when Jim Boeheim and John Thompson were trading verbal barbs.
Now, the coaches are a little nicer. Much less, if any, public sniping. It doesn’t really hurt the games – did you see Duke-UNC? – but it does make ‘em a little less fun.
So what do we have now? Katz closed his article with six rivalries he’s looking forward to seeing develop in future years. And one – Baylor-Texas A&M – might actually produce some vitriol. We can only hope.
But what do you think? Do rivalries need a little venom to thrive?
Want more? I’m also on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.