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Predicting the Final Four Based on School Fight Songs

April 1, 2009  |  7:00am

The basketball fan in me believes that a successful Final Four comes down to fundamentals—the team that wins the tourney will hit free throws, box out for rebounds and contain the gawky awesomeness of Tyler Hansbrough.

The music fan in me believes it’ll all come down to fight songs. Here, I rank the four remaining teams based on the quality of their fight songs.

4) Michigan State—With its swervy brass intro, the Spartans’ fight song sounds alarmingly like Looney Toons theme music. Then it settles into a stomping rhythm that could be played by a two-year-old child, or the drummer for AC/DC. Then people clap and chant. Then, after a big “wooo!,” the song wraps up with an incoherent roller-coaster of melody that makes the listener feel as though he has had eight too many Natural Lights and awakened in the gutters of East Lansing. The rare song that literally induces nausea.

3) UConn—Let us hope that The University of Connecticut’s fight song does not reflect the academic caliber of the institution. It starts off well enough—“UConn Husky, symbol of might to the foe.” I like “symbol of might.” And “foe” is a proud word, the sort of thing that might appear in an Old English manuscript or some other archaic text—the kind of stuff you’re supposed to read at a real college. But then the song rhymes “white and blue” with “Connecticut U,” which isn’t even the name of the school. It’s UConn, right? U of Conn. How is it possible to misstate the name of your college in your own fight song?

2) Villanova—“V For Villanova” is big on spelling: “V” for this, “B” for that, “W” for the other. That’s not so uncommon— even UConn’s fight song has spelling, and somehow they manage to correctly spell Connecticut. But anyway, the best part of Villanova’s jaunty fight song is this vicious lyric: “It’s a tooth for a tooth and an eye for an eye and a ‘V’ for ‘V-I-C-T-O-R-Y.’ Everyone knows “eye for an eye,” but “tooth for a tooth” is positively medieval.

1) North Carolina—By my reckoning, UNC will win the tournament thanks to its defiant fight song, which takes school spirit to the grave: “I’m a Tar Heel born / I’m a Tar Heel bred / And when I die I’m a Tar Heel dead.” That’s what I'm looking for in a college sports fan—complete cradle-to-grave devotion. The melody is bright and terse, no need to drag it out. The implied message is that there will be plenty more occasions to play the song, since the next victory is always right around the corner. 

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