The School: The University of Arizona. The only university in Arizona that’s not an online cash grab scam/diploma mill (we think). Their acceptance rate is 85%, which is one percentage point lower than Arizona State’s 86%. That makes it a Desert Ivy.
Location: Tuscon, AZ. It is currently 107 degrees there, but people you will immediately hate will tell you “It’s a dry heat.” According to the Tucson Tourism Board, you “should hike their glorious mountain trails, try not to die in this uninhabitable hellscape, and visit the set of the TV Show Sons of Tuscon” (citation needed).
The series was shot entirely in the Los Angeles area, but it includes stock-footage shots of Tucson for scene transitions. Shelli Hall of the Tucson Film Office said no one at Fox asked about shooting in Tucson. “They never inquired about shooting here, but I contacted them when I heard about the pilot,” Hall said.
No citation needed on that one. That’s a real quote from a real person from a real city’s film office.
The Mascot: Lute Olson.
Record: 45-16; 21-9 in the
Pac 10 Pac 12.
How’d they get here? They were a National Seed (#5 overall), and made quick work of The Grand Canyon University Fightin’ Bryce Drews and the UCSB Mad Hatters in the Tucson Regional. Then they beat the ever-loving Piss out of Ole in the Supers. That last game was an execution by obliteration.
Artist’s interpretation of their 16-3 Game Three victory over Dirty Mike Bianco and the Boys:
Best win: Besides taking 2 of 3 from Ole Piss? Well, they did beat Stansbury 20-2 in the beginning of May. That team had a family. (Note: They did lose the other two games of that series, though, so that family went all Liam Neeson from Taken on them.) I don’t know... taking 2 of 3 from Oregon?
Most embarrassing loss: Probably losing 2 of 4 to the Ball State Fightin’ Lettermans at the beginning of the year.
Most terrifying batter: I’m tempted to just write “their whole damned lineup” and call it a day. Truly, the Fightin’ Hellcats can bludgeon you to death. Again, ask Dirty Mike Bianco and the Boys of Ole Piss (when that ostrich with arms, Doug Nikhazy, wasn’t on the mound, of course). The Wildcats have a .329 team batting average and plate 8.62 runs per game. That should not be allowed.
If I have to pick one, it’s #15 Fr. DH/3B/1B Jacob “Chuck’s Cousin Marvin” Berry. He’s got that new sound you’re looking for, as he’s slashing .359/.448/.692 with 18 2B 5 3B 17 HR and 70 RBI. Again, a freshman with a 1.140 OPS is technically a war crime.
Most terrifying pitcher: Luckily, it’s no one. If they had any terrifying starting pitching to go with that offense, they’d cruise their way to the title. Instead, their ace is So. RHP Chase Silseth and his 5.54 ERA. I’d be shocked if he’s not the guy with the ball in his hand on Saturday. They’ve got a few good relievers, but no one who can get through the lineup more than once.
Best NCAA Tournament result: They’ve won it four times (‘76, ‘80, ‘86, and 2012). That’s pretty damned good. They also made a run in 2016 and lost in the finals to (checks notes) The Coastal Carolina Chaucerian Roosters. Again, we cannot take this team lightly.
Should Vanderbilt Be Scared? We should respect their offensive firepower, but no, there’s no reason to be truly frightened unless the wind patterns in Omaha drastically change and TD Ameritrade Park turns into a launching pad.