Special to Page 2
The first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament are a relationship killer. I'm not talking between you and your buddies, or even between you and that jerk the next cubicle over who went to Duke. Unless you are lucky enough to have a significant other who lives and breathes college hoops as much as you do (and I have one, though I overlook her SEC partiality), the fact you aren't answering your phone Thursday and Friday afternoons and are booked solid from Thursday night through Sunday just might put you in the doghouse.
Page 2 understands these challenges, and to commemorate the first four days of the Tourney -- the Greatest Four Days in Sports -- we have seeded 15 types of guys (plus two for a "play-in" at 16), described their dating style, explained how that might affect the relationship they have with watching the Tournament, and provided a snapshot of the type of team they might root for. Maybe you will see yourself or your significant other on this list.
Regardless, you might want to keep it handy for the explanation you'll inevitably have to provide.
1. The Two-Timer
Dating style: Gets around, double-dips, cheats, loves 'em until the next one comes around.
Tourney-watching style: Will tell everyone at the bar that they're all for Florida winning it all -- until the Gators drop to Illinois. Then, they move along to the next hot team.
Teams they like: Lots of transfers, particularly from big-name schools.
Representative Tourney team: San Diego State
2. The Euro Guy
Dating style: Suave, likes the club scene, plays on the accent thing.
Tourney-watching style: Hard to get comfortable on a barstool in leather pants.
Teams they like: Offenses geared around distance shooting and no defense; rosters filled with the European flavor.
Representative Tourney team: Valparaiso
3. The Bad Boy
Dating style: Women always think they can change 'em, but they can't.
Tourney-watching style: Heads to the non-sports bars, where they shout and curse and drink hard alcohol.
Teams they like: Black uniforms, overly physical defense, intense coach, low graduation rates.
Representative Tourney team: Cincinnati
4. The Rich Guy
Dating style: Tries to impress with his sports car and Rolly.
Tourney-watching style: Rents a table at the upscale sports bar.
Teams they like: The ones that win all the time -- and just get richer.
Representative Tourney team: Duke
5. The Underdog (a k a The Lloyd Dobler)
Dating style: Makes a play for the hottest woman in school.
Tourney-watching style: First on the bandwagon for the unlikely heroes; stakes out spot closest to the TV airing the game they play in.
Teams they like: The Cinderellas
Representative Tourney team: Gonzaga
6. The Jock
Dating style: Physical attributes negate need to prove themselves in any other way. Significant others find it hard to see past the pecs.
Tourney-watching style: Head to a crowded bar, then clear out space for themselves, usually at the expense of the smaller guys around them.
Teams they like: The physically dominant ones
Representative Tourney team: USC
7. The Know-It-All
Dating style: Blows them away -- then drives them away -- with intellect.
Tourney-watching style: Every stat and storyline is at the tip of their tongue ... much to the annoyance of those around them.
Teams they like: The ones from the "smart" schools
Representative Tourney team: Stanford
8. The Prepster
Dating style: Mingles through the Upper East Side dating scene decked out in J.Crew.
Tourney-watching style: Likes a booth (less chance of wrinkling button-down shirt) -- and makes sure the sorority girls are around!
Teams they like: The fluffy, those with a reputation for being soft
Representative Tourney team: Wake Forest
9. The Sensitive Guy
Dating style: Fully understands the needs of date; a listener; asks good questions.
Tourney-watching style: Reluctant to boo; cried when Hampton beat Iowa State.
Teams they like: Appreciates the teams that struggle at the cusp of greatness; roots sincerely that this is their year to break through.
Representative Tourney team: Xavier.
10. The Rebel
Dating style: The relationship isn't going anywhere long-term, so let's just do some wild stuff.
Tourney-watching style: Proclaim the higher-ranked seeds can go to hell; Which higher seed? "Whaddaya ya got?"
Teams they like: Ones that go against conventional wisdom; other rebels
Representative Tourney team: Ole Miss, naturally
11. The Mama's Boy
Dating style: Trying just a bit too hard; always goes home early.
Tourney-watching style: Head back to their apartment at 11 p.m., even though the late games don't end until after midnight!
Teams they like: Defined by their coach (a k a, mother figure); historically eager -- even talented -- but ineffective.
Representative Tourney team: Kansas
12. The Neurotic
Dating style: A little obsessive, a little compulsive.
Tourney-watching style: Stay in the house and order the satellite Tourney package so they can watch without being bothered by others.
Teams they like: Methodical offenses and defenses, perhaps with a head-case streak.
Representative Tourney team: Texas Tech
13. The Frat Guy
Dating style: What dates? Perhaps a hook-up in the chapter room.
Tourney-watching style: Meets his buddies at the overcrowded designated bar for his alma mater.
Teams they like: The ones that like to party; the ones that brim over with unearned overconfidence.
Representative Tourney team: Kentucky
14. The Deadhead
Dating style: Hangs out in the apartment, or maybe a Phish concert. There's a funny smell.
Tourney-watching style: The only ones in the bar who don't freak out at the buzzer-beater endings.
Teams they like: Oh, any school from a place with liberal laws about ...
Representative Tourney team: Oregon
15. The Older Guy
Dating style: Wows 'em with higher income, "maturity."
Tourney-watching style: Finds a quiet bar where he can sip Scotch.
Teams they like: Senior-heavy rosters are nice, or maybe a squad where some of the guys took some time off during school.
Representative Tourney team: Utah
16a. The Wannabe
Dating style: Tries to act real cool, but inevitably falls short.
Tourney-watching style: Heads to the "hip" bar; reads one too few NCAA-related columns to truly sound smart.
Teams they like: Historically weak teams now considered "nouveau riche" contenders.
Representative Tourney team: Miami
16b. The Good-Time Guy
Dating style: Always has plans at the ready; booked up for months.
Tourney-watching style: Knows where the most fun place to watch the game will be -- hell, he was one of the party organizers.
Teams they like: Ones that show a little life for a few rounds, but won't cramp his style by sticking around too long and getting in the way of plans later this month.
Representative Tourney team: Texas
Dan Shanoff is a regular contributor to Page 2.