Temple was playing Duke tonight and I was at a bar where that game was on one tv, and once the other tv stopped showing "Jeopardy" (a word, it turns out, that I intuitively screw up the spelling on), which I was on a goddamn roll with, I started watching a little bit of it.
I only throw in the Jeopardy to make it clear that my night was not centered around Temple/Duke. In fact, I had misremembered the location of Temple, which falls in my Valparaiso file of schools that play in the NCAA tournament but that I don't know where they are.
But so within about five minutes I'm rooting for Temple. Based mostly on the perpetual smarminess of Duke players who dive for loose balls as if they're saving the goddamn world, but also on some left over file of dislike for Coach K. who I'm sure is no more horrific than any other Division I basketball coach, but who gets more widely praised for it, and who also believes that his coaching insights can lead people to business success. Also it was a pretty fun sports-watching experience when UConn took down a super-heralded Duke team in 1999.
I think it's a little strange though, that I started rooting for either side in this contest. I always do it, too. Show me a curling match, and within five minutes I will have a curling side that I am pulling for. This preference can get stronger or weaker, depending on how intense my watching involvement is and how closely my preferences are confirmed, and it can carry over from one game to the next -- I have this lingering fondness for the Houston Rockets based on my watching experiences from 1995. I don't know; maybe I should be cultivating neutrality.
I had a Jeopardy competitor I was rooting for too.
I left before the game was over; Temple, ESPN tells me, lost by 10.