One of many nice things about a Michigan trip to the Final Four is watching the attempted non-reaction from our friend(s) to the south.
For me, if there was an Final Four that included a B1G team that was not Michigan, I am relatively certain that the B1G team would hold my rooting interest. Because I am a conference loyalist, in precisely the way that Ramzy Nasrallah (and his readership, apparently) are not. I am a conference loyalist because of the likes of Ramzy Nasrallah and OSU.
It's a special sort of butt-hurt to go into a Final Four weekend -- where you have no other personal interests -- and not root for the team from your conference. As his exception-that-proves-the-rule, Ramzy picked the perfectly rotten example of his having rooted for Wisconsin to knock off Duke in the 2015 Championship game, because Duke and everybody hates Duke and yeah Duke.
But would it have been different if the Badgers had played Kentucky? North Carolina? Kansas? Butler? Loyola-Chicago? The Washington Generals? I say; if right now, the Final Four included Loyola-Chicago, Kansas, Villanova and The Ohio State University, I'd be rooting for Ohio State (and figuring out if any local golf courses were playable this weekend). One thing I wouldn't be doing is advising Michigan fans to not root for The Ohio State University. It would be so easy -- a given, really -- that I would want the Big Ten representative to not lose to any of the other schools in that hypothetical Final Four.
The minor obsession with NOT pulling for anyone else in the Conference seems to be a peculiarly OSU thing. It is the one way -- maybe the only way -- that they desire to separate themselves from SEC culture. (And I was never too sure about how deep the "S-E-C!" thing was, throughout the SEC.)
It's really more Sparty than Sparty; MSU has more recent success in basketball than OSU (pretty much everybody has more recent success in basketball than OSU), and two (2) fewer claimed national championships in football than OSU. And yet the feel that I get is that Michigan State alums have more of a genuine academic interest in the game of basketball and some respect (however grudging) for U-M teams that make it to a Final Four. I have yet to hear from a Spartan -- excluding, perhaps, the fever swamp of RCMB -- who wants Michigan to lose to Loyola-Chicago because, "scUM." Indeed, I actually saw a terrific little post at RCMB, with basically the entire tiext reading thusly:
"Over the last 6 years UM and MSU have each won a B1G regular season championship and two tournament championships. The head to head series is tied at 6 in that span.
"In those six years, MSU has been to 3 sweet sixteens, 2 elite eights, and one final four.
"UM has been to 4 sweet sixteens, 3 elite eights, and 2 final fours."
One other wonderfully inapposite comparison made by Ramzy was suggesting that fans of the New Orleans Saints would never deign to root for the Philadelphia Eagles in a playoff run because of something like "divisional loyalty." Which actually illutstrates my point. We college football fans ought to want for nothing so much as to be unlike everything represented by the mercenary tar-pit of the NFL. The NFL doesn't have any 100-year rivalries. They don't have "conferences" in any meaningful way, outside of tv contracts and old documentaries about the '69 Jets. People root for NFL teams because the pharmaceutical company that they work for moved them to a city with a franchise.
Let's Go Blue. Win
one two for the Conference.