Article / Tucker May

The Final Four Teams and Their Movie Character Counterparts

I’m well aware that not everyone cares about the NCAA tournament. RepoComedy staff writer Molly Reynolds has publicly gone on the record as thinking March Madness is both ‘stupid’ and ‘very stupid’.

BUT even if you don’t care about who cuts down the net once March Madness ends (in April), this article will at least give you something fun to chime in with the next time your co-workers are mindlessly chattering about the tournament. And you know they will. What else is there to talk about in the office? The thermostat?


Here goes:

Wichita State Shockers (HA!) — Frodo Baggins from Lord of the Rings

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These guys have been underdogs (almost) the whole way. The only team they’ve beaten with a worse seed is La Salle (13) and lets be real – who gives a shit about La Salle? What even is a La Salle?

Possibly their most impressive win came over the 2-seeded Ohio State Buckeyes but they also toppled the top-seeded Gonzaga team in the 2nd round (sorry, NCAA. That play-in shit doesn’t count as a round).

So this is most definitely a semi-Cinderella story – which might make you think their protagonist counterpart would be Cinderella. WRONG.

There have been crazy rumors floating around that this year’s seeding was obviously rigged to encourage upsets / Cinderellas (mostly spurred on by the unjustifiable 12-seeding of a really good Oregon team). So it appears that the Wichita State Shockers (HA!) may have gotten some help right from the get-go.

What movie character totally exceeded expectations simply because he got some help right at the beginning? The small but adorable FRODO BAGGINS!

You think Frodo would have made it to Mt. Doom if he hadn’t had the helping hand of the Fellowship behind him? I’m guessing without Aragorn’s sword (AND MY AXE!) that Frodo would have been toast some time around when those hooded asshole horsemen tried to suck his mojo right out of his mouth.

Additionally, Frodo was gifted that crazy vial of light that ended up saving him from the giant spider Shelob. In other words, that little edge presented to him at the beginning enabled him to work hard and get impressively far, but he would undoubtedly have fallen without that elven light.

In the same way, Wichita State was given the opportunity to seem like a major upset just from the seeding the NCAA selection committee awarded them. Then they proceeded to shoot an arrow through Pitt, lodge a hefty axe in the heart of Gonzaga fans, and go totally Balrog on Ohio State.

All that’s left is to see if they have a Samwise Gamgee to piggy-back ride them to the top of the mountain. The Shockers (HA!) have a couple players capable of being that Samwise – we’ll find out tomorrow if they have the Gamgees to do it.

Louisville Cardinals — Agent Lee from Rush Hour

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This Louisville team has been the frontrunner from the get-go and they have stood up well to those lofty expectations. The phrase ‘The championship is theirs to lose’ has been tossed around like a gay guy’s salad.

The Cardinals disposed of North Carolina A&T (Agriculture & Trumpets) by 31 points, Colorado State by 26, Oregon by 8, and Duke by 22. Watching Russ Smith and co. curb-stomp opponents throughout the tournament has been pretty darn impressive. You get the feeling during their games that they’re kind of just goofing around. So far, it’s been very fun to tune in and see if this team is going to take a topple, but in your hear of hearts you sense it just isn’t going to happen.

That’s what makes them a ringer for Lee, Jackie Chan’s character in the Rush Hour films. You have to acknowledge how impressive the feats are, but it’s like – no shit! That’s why I’m watching the movie! I didn’t pay $4.69 (which, according to the National Association of Theater Owners was the average ticket price in 1998 – le sigh) to watch Jackie Chan struggle through those stunts. If he does anything less than make them look effortless I’m walking out disappointed, demanding my money back, and using it on something else that was depressingly cheap back then (like putting multiple gallons of gas in my car). The same is true for Louisville at this point.

Now, that could really apply to any Jackie Chan character ever. So why did I choose his Rush Hour character? Two reasons:

  1. Jackie Chan got injured while shooting Rush Hour 3 (which is like baking a souffle, then a cake, and then burning yourself while cleaning the gunk out of the bottom of your oven) and Louisville’s last game made headlines because Cardinal player Kevin Ware suffered one of the most gruesome injuries on a basketball court, maybe ever. Here’s wishing him a speedy recovery.
  2. Have you ever heard someone from Louisville say the word Louisville? Reminds me of this:

Michigan Wolverines — Dr. Robert Neville from I Am Legend (Alternate Ending)

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If you didn’t see Michigan’s comeback win to make the Elite Eight, then you need to invent a time machine, STAT! And then definitely use it go back and watch this game, not kill Hitler or anything. Priorities, people.

After being down 14 to Kansas with 7 minutes remaining (and later, down 5 points with 21 seconds on the clock), the Wolverines rode the heroics of AP Player of the Year Trey Burke to force overtime and subsequently punch their ticket to the next round.

If, like me, you saw I Am Legend in theaters when it came out in 2007, you may remember an ending that was (at least to me) pretty unexpected and badass. I won’t ruin it in case you haven’t seen it, but let’s just say it involves some vampires, the main character, and a big ole’ bomb that blows up both (oops, I totally ruined it).

Forever ruined or not, it’s a dark ending to the film. BUT! That’s not what Michigan pulled off against Kansas. The alternate ending that’s apparently available on the DVD of the film takes us down a different path to resolution. Here’s how the other ending is described on Wikipedia:

Neville realizes that the alpha male [vampire] is identifying the woman [vampire] he was experimenting on by a butterfly tattoo, and that the alpha male wants her back. Neville puts his gun down and returns the infected woman. Neville and the alpha male then exchange stares; Neville apologizes to the [vampires]; the alpha male acknowledges his apology, and the infected leave.

 What???!! He gets chased and cornered by a horde of vampires and then they just turn around and go?! He doesn’t even kill a single vampire! It specifically states that he just sets down his gun!

The movie ultimately concludes with the three main characters just going back to life as it was. This is bullshit. In the same way that Michigan’s win over Kansas was bullshit. The Wolverines had backed themselves deep into a corner, thoroughly surrounded themselves with vampires, and were this close to exploding and then, rather than finish the job, drink some undoubtedly nutrient-rich Will Smith blood, and grow the horde (like ANY real vampire would do) Kansas – SOMEHOW – manged to un-bare their fangs and end up going home. Those vampires had been attacking Neville the whole movie! It doesn’t make any sense! Bullshit!

And yes, I did have Kansas winning that game on my bracket. Can you tell?


Syracuse Orange — Chief Bromden from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

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Suffocating. That’s the big buzzword surrounding this Syracuse team. And rightfully so – their defense has been so impressive that I don’t even think they’ve played offense yet in this tournament. They haven’t had to.

They held Montana to 34 points, gave up 60 to Cal, capped out the high-scoring Hoosiers at 50, and then only gave up 39 to a Marquette team that went from hitting three’s like a reheaded stepchild to laying an historically big egg against Syracuse.


The Orange don’t so much play defense as they firmly hold a pillow over their opponents’ faces until they finally submit, braindead and (tournament-wise) also regular dead. That’s why this team’s movie character equivalent is Big Chief Bromden.

You can try to do whatever you want against this Syracuse squad. But they’re just going to lumber on, playing the exact same brand of stifling defense. As an offense, there seems to be little you can do about it. Reminds me of this:

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