The highly anticipated Pokemon Go mobile app was released last week, and people of all ages turned their caps backwards and ventured out in hopes of catching them all.
This made me think: What Pokemon would some of our favorite basketball programs be?
Well, let’s figure that out.
I’m taking 10 of college basketballs best mid-major programs, and giving them a comparison from the original 151 Pokemon (because those will always be the greatest).
PSA: No mid-major programs or Pokemon feelings were hurt in the making of this article.
In theory, picking Gonzaga in March seems like a great idea because they’re seemingly an evolved version of other mid-major programs. But every year they end up falling short while one of their smaller counterparts (Ex. Pikachu) makes a run and steals the hearts of fans across the country.
Wichita State: Primeape
One of the mantras of Wichita State’s program is “Play angry.” Well, Primeape might be the angriest of all Pokemon. I mean, just look at it. One of Primeape’s attacks is called Fury Swipes, which could also be one of the tactics that Gregg Marshall teaches for on-ball defense.
Northern Iowa: Electrode
Sorry, Panthers fans, but it’s only right to compare Northern Iowa to a Pokemon that self-destructs. I hate to do this because they were such a joy to watch late in the season, but blowing a 12-point lead with under a minute to go warrants being the butt of these jokes until a different team self-destructs next season.
HAVOC! VCU’s patented up-tempo, high-pressure, get-all-up-in-your-face brand of defense has claimed many victims. Trying to break their press is akin to trying to escape a swarm of bees. Havoc has been so successful over the past few years that you could probably substitute a couple Beedrills into the lineup and still have an imposing defense.
Stephen F. Austin: Machoke
The Lumberjacks of Stephen F. Austin are always in the conversation to pull an upset in March Madness. They’re always a tough out, and can force teams into submission by causing turnovers. Similar to Machoke, undergoing one more evolution would put them into the upper-echelon of mid-major programs. (Also: imagine Machoke with Thomas Walkup’s beard.)
San Diego State: Muk
San Diego State epitomizes the phrase “winning ugly” by slowing the game down and mucking it up. There’s a Pokemon whose name is Muk. Connect the dots.
Florida Gulf Coast: Exeggutor
in 2014, Dunk City became the darlings of college basketball fans across the country, thanks to their propensity for dropping bombs via the lob. Florida Gulf Coast also has one of the nicest campuses in the country. Exeggutor uses his Egg Bomb attack to punish its foes, and would be a blast to play with. And, to be quite honest, it looks like a palm tree.
Dayton could make a case for being the best mid-major program over the past few years. The Flyers are consistent, capable of beating better teams, and could potentially break through some day. Alakazam is the same way. You know you’re getting a solid Pokemon, and it can pull an upset, but at some point, it will probably get beat by someone with more firepower.
Harvard has burst onto the scene in recent years under the tutelage of head coach Tommy Amaker. He’s used Harvard’s academic prestige to recruit talented kids on and off the court, and is continuing to grow the program. Hypno is a Pokemon that might not seem like anything special, but is actually extremely potent and capable of taking down foes who may over-look him, just like Harvard can do in the NCAA tournament.
UNLV’s whole brand is centered around speed and athleticism. The Rebels also have had more than their fair share of disagreements and scandals. Dodrio is a three-headed bird that runs at high speeds and seemingly always slams its three heads against each other for no reason.