You aren't supposed to root for these teams. You aren't supposed to feel hurt when they lose.
But Wofford is different. Wofford has been the team since the beginning that has drove me to write about mid-major basketball. Wofford has been the team that was the mascot of my former site. Wofford can hurt you as bad as an ex-girlfriend.
The Terriers managed to hurt, driving a stake into our hearts yet again, losing an amazingly close game to 5-seed Arkansas 56-53.
Wofford had every chance to win the game in the final seconds. Two open 3-pointers wouldn't fall, no matter how much fans in the arena willed them to do so. No matter how much I wanted this to happen, they wouldn't land true.
No, Wofford is going home.
To understand the disappointment, you have to go back to 2001, back before the Internet had become the place to watch these teams. I ran a small site called MRISports. I had a rating system. Wofford wasn't good.
But because of this site, I knew who Wofford was. I knew what the Southern Conference was. And when ESPN ran a scroll of Division 1-AA football across the bottom of the screen one night, a friend asked what conference Wofford was in.
Without hesitation, I answered, and Wofford was suddenly the mascot of my site. The Terriers became the cause celebre of the MRI, my ratings system. I soon owned a Barking Brigade shirt that I have since worn down so much I am not allowed to wear it any longer.
Wofford is why I love mid-major basketball.
So it hurts to watch them come so close to their first win in the NCAA Tournament. They didn't get the best game from their best player Karl Cochran, and they still came close to pulling it out.
Cochran ended just 4-for-19 from the floor and 2-for-12 from 3-point range.
If one more of those attempts falls, Wofford is still playing. If two more fall, they are dancing on the Round of 32.
They played as hard as they have played in any of the NCAA Tournament when I felt it was possible for them to actually pull off the win, and it really damn hurts to see them not get it.
Cochran is gone. Lee Skinner who gutted out a crucial sequence late in the game, is also gone.
These are the heart of this Wofford team. Mike Young won't be able to duplicate this magic next season in the league. This was the best chance for everyone to learn about Wofford.
It hurts, and I am ... pissed. That is the only way to explain it. Wofford deserved better at the end of the day. They were supposed to be the 12-5 upset that ignited everyone this season. They were supposed to go on, and and give North Carolina all they could.
They were supposed to make everyone dream of the Terriers in the Sweet 16.
It didn't happen, but man, it came close.
Arkansas, thrown shoes and all, survived on to the Round of 32. Congrats to the Razorbacks. You earned it, barely.
But it is going to take some time to get over this one, a win that looked for 39 minutes to be totally within the Terriers' grasp. It was a win that seemed almost inevitable.
It didn't happen Thursday, and I don't know when the chance might come for it to happen again.