Wow, having a NCAA Tournament regional is almost like having a Super Bowl!! Hordes of fans come to town, pack the bars and strip joints, throw money around like drunken sailors and appall the locals while keeping bartenders and cheap hotels happy.
Except in Houston. Which has somehow managed to get itself the Nerd Regional.
Anyplace is Party Central with the four teams coming to town, as long as your definition of "party" is a very, very low-key get-together that outsiders might not notice is happening.
Let's take a look at the schools, and their alumni, that are coming to H-Town to rip it up:
New university president Kenneth Starr loves to investigate extra-marital sex, very vague rumors of drug use, and anything else he considers out of line. So even if a Bear was thinking of "bustin' loose" (i.e., having a ginger ale at a bar), he or she will think twice about it.
Baylor fans no doubt already have their local church service picked out. The rest of the weekend will include a fun visit to Ed Young's animatronic diorama of a hospitalized Uncle Sam, weakened by years of allowing Democrats to exist, struggling painfully to switch the TV to watch Young preach, plus visits to several Applebee's.
The Blue Devils coming to town is great news if you own a wine bar or some other quiet, dark place where Duke alumni can bask contentedly in the aura of their powerful self-satisfaction. If you're a Houstonian, here are some tips on how to spot a Duke alumnus: He or she will be talking endlessly about "doing it right," by which we can only assume they mean graduating players and making early tournament exits; they will say the name "Calipari" in such a fearful/disgusted manner you'd think it was an especially painful disease; dorky looking youngsters will be extremely pleased with themselves as they come up with taunts for the other team. Also, they all will be eager to let everyone know how ugly Houston is compared to North Carolina, although they will then condescendingly assuage their listeners by saying they're very sure Houston must have some nice spots somewhere that they just haven't gotten to.
You know who goes to Purdue? Engineers. And we're not talking the swashbuckling, stripper-lovin' geological engineers that work for oil companies. Purdue is more of your NASA type of engineers, incubated by four years in one of the most depressing college towns in America and possessing social skills honed by deep immersion in a pool of other engineers.
Still, Purdue fans are probably the best of the bunch in terms of sharing a beer with. At least it won't be some Dookies' light-import ale from the Loire Valley (bottled during the sunny season, please, barkeep). Any school whose teams are the Boilermakers ought to be good for a shot and a Bud.
What do we know about St. Mary's? We know we went to a high school called St. Mary's, whose teams were also called the Gaels. But there the similarity ends, we fear.
This Cinderella St. Mary's team hails from a tiny town somewhat near Oakland, California. How exciting is it? Let an enthusiastic wiki entry tell the tale:
Being a relatively small community of mostly long-time elderly residents or families with young children, Moraga is known for its lack of entertainment that caters to college students. As one sign of its suburban setting, Saint Mary's location is distinguished by having a Safeway at the bottom of the hill no matter which way you turn out of campus. However, there are several movie theaters, fast food places and restaurants within a short drive of campus, and the Orinda Theatre is only about ten minutes away.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to the mission of the Houston Press. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Houston’s stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
So maybe the Gael fans, such as they are, will take advantage of all the sleazy entertainment available in H-Town?
Probably not. Community service is the hallmark of St. Mary's. Expect them to feed the hungry, put up a house or some crap like that, instead of making it rain at The Men's Club.
Other regionals got schools like Tennessee, Kentucky, Michigan State and Ohio State.
We got nerd central.