Not sure who to root for in the Final Four? Here's a handy MLB-based guide
With only four teams left in the running for this season's NCAA men's basketball title, millions of fans are without a vested rooting interest.
If you count yourself among that number, why not pick a school based on your favorite MLB team? Here are a few tips:
Baltimore Orioles: Some Orioles fans may also be Wizards fans, which really only makes this discussion more difficult. Washington point guard John Wall is a Kentucky product, but shooting guard Bradley Beal attended Florida. Our advice: Break out your Orioles cheese tool set and root for Wisconsin instead.
Boston Red Sox: 2013 World Series Champion David Ross, aka The Wolf, is an esteemed alumnus of the University of Florida. So any literalists out there can cheer for the Gators. But wolves are kind of like Huskies, which makes Connecticut the correct choice for more free-associative members of Red Sox Nation.
New York Yankees: The Kentucky Wildcats have won the NCAA championship eight times, which is more than the other three contenders combined. They failed to qualify for the big postseason tournament in 2013, then reloaded by adding several highly touted new faces for 2014. If you're a Yankees fan, you don't need us to tell you to cheer for Kentucky.
Tampa Bay Rays: There are probably some Rays fans who already support Florida, but let's focus on the others. Why not cheer for Wisconsin? Tampa's .667 win-loss percentage against the Brewers is tied for their highest against any franchise, so a fondness for Wisconsin is kind of in the team's DNA.
Toronto Blue Jays: Canadian basketball legends Andrew Wiggins and Nik Stauskas are, sadly, no longer in the tournament. But Toronto's George Brown College is also repped by the Husky, so you can think of cheering for Connecticut as cheering for the city of Toronto.
Chicago White Sox: Kentucky alum Scott Downs re-signed with the White Sox this winter, but we think Southpaw might be a little scared to hang out with a Wildcat. So let's give him a cuddlier buddy -- and a closer one. If you're a White Sox fan, look 150 miles up I-90 and root for Wisconsin and Bucky the Badger.
Cleveland Indians: Al Rosen set an MLB rookie record with 37 homers in 1950 and was unanimously voted AL MVP three years later. He also played one semester for the Gators before spending his entire (injury-shortened) career in Cleveland, so the pick for Indians fans is Florida.
Detroit Tigers: You might think that Tigers fans would stick with the predatory cat theme and root for Kentucky. But there's one reason and one reason alone for any Detroit supporter to pick Connecticut: this picture of a husky puppy and a tiger cub becoming best friends.
Kansas City Royals: Stick with us here: Florida native T-Pain recorded the best cover Lorde's "Royals" to date, which may have you thinking Gators here. But the T in T-Pain stands for "Tallahassee," home of archrival FSU. No Go Gata, K.C. fans, this one is all Connecticut.
Minnesota Twins: Minnesota's farm system boasts two of MLB.com's top four prospects in Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano. Maybe some support for the Huskies could convince Ronald Mallet -- Connecticut faculty member and noted time travel proponent -- to help bring all that superstar future potential a little closer to the present.
Houston Astros: Who doesn't love 5-foot-6 second baseman Jose Altuve? Kentucky's roster includes the shortest player in the Final Four -- 5-foot-9 guard Brian Long -- so why not side with them?
Los Angeles Angels: Unfortunately, Mike Trout is not participating in the 2014 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. If you're somehow still interested in viewing the event, we suggest siding with Connecticut and their own nautically-named player, Ryan Boatwright. Note that Kentucky is a solid alternate choice, because "Calipari" is oh, so close to "calamari."
Oakland Athletics: Josh Donaldson has one of the best twitter handles in the game, @BringerofRain20. You know who RAINS down threes? Wisconsin. They ranked 24th in Division I for three pointers attempted, which is the most of the remaining Final Four teams.
Seattle Mariners: Former Mariner Ichiro Suzuki was one of five MLBers recently named by MIT as important contributors to the history of global culture. Also high on that list is Walt Disney, who helped build an enormous theme park in central Florida. High-minded cultural contributors ought to stick together -- go Florida.
Texas Rangers: Let's see if we can do this in a few easy steps: Texas Rangers. Walker Texas Ranger. Kemba Walker. Done -- cheer for Connecticut.
Atlanta Braves: The Braves outfield consists of brothers Justin and B.J. Upton -- both acquired before the 2013 season. Kentucky did them one better, bringing in freshmen twins Andrew and Aaron Harrison. Why not stick with the familial theme and cheer on the Wildcats this weekend?
Miami Marlins: Sometimes, the simplest connections are the most meaningful. Until 2012, the Marlins repped the whole state of Florida in their name. It seems fitting to continue that trend throughout the Final Four, so stick with the home state and go with Florida.
New York Mets: Collin Cowgill, a Kentucky alum, was your starting center fielder in 2013. On Opening Day, he hit a seventh-inning grand slam - the first slam in a Mets' opener in 18 years. Grand slams at Citi Field are hard to come by. Colin Cowgill is a hero. Root for Kentucky.
Philadelphia Phillies: The Phillie Phanatic likes to eat chocolate. Chocolate can be found in ice cream. The University of Connecticut has an expansive dairy farm and one of the most popular ice cream bars in New England. U-C-O-N-N.
Washington Nationals: Abraham Lincoln is the career leader among the Nationals Racing Presidents with 239 wins. The real Honest Abe was born in Hodgenville, Kentucky, just 75 miles from the Wildcats' campus. Honor your speedy mascot (and America's 16th president) with some blue and white this weekend.
Chicago Cubs: Third baseman Mike Olt grew up in Branford, Conn and is actually a former UConn Husky. It's probably a safe assumption that he'll be cheering for Connecticut, and he'd be thrilled if you joined him too.
Cincinnati Reds -- LeBron James left the Cleveland Cavaliers to play with two of his friends on the Miami Heat. Miami is a city in Florida, which is also home to the University of Florida. If you're the type of Reds fan who enjoys Cleveland's misfortune, cheer for the Gators. And if you're a Cavs fan yourself, we hear Kentucky has some decent NBA prospects.
Milwaukee Brewers: You're probably cheering for Wisconsin. Let's not waste time.
Pittsburgh Pirates: "Shabazz Napier" sounds like the name of a famous pirate, doesn't it? "Argh! This here ship be Shabazz Napier's mighty vessel! Ye scurvy lads who question me will walk the plank! Now cheer for Connecticut ye hearty band of misfits!"
St. Louis Cardinals: Kentucky is famous for its never-ending stream of touted freshman phenoms. Anyone rooting for Shelby Miller, Carlos Martinez, Trevor Rosenthal and Michael Wacha on a regular basis knows that game.
Arizona Diamondbacks: Quick, who's the only D-backs pitcher besides Randy Johnson to win a Cy Young Award? That's right, it's Kentucky native Brandon Webb, who won in 2007 and finished second in '08 and '09. Webb played college ball for the Wildcats, which means you should root for Kentucky.
Colorado Rockies: If you needed to make your way through the Rocky Mountains in the winter, your task would be a lot easier if you owned a pack of huskies to pull you through the snowy wilderness. So Connecticut is the choice.
Los Angeles Dodgers: It's a tough call because UConn coach Kevin Ollie grew up in L.A. and went to local basketball powerhouse Crenshaw High School. But since electric reliever Paco Rodriguez went to Florida, we'll go with that.
San Diego Padres: San Diego has SeaWorld. Final Four host state Texas has SeaWorld. Florida has SeaWorld. Sounds like synergy to us.
San Francisco Giants: Two-time Giants All-Star Robby Thompson is a Florida alum, but AT&T Park pays tribute to Wisconsin with its "Sheboygan Bratwurst," And you know what they say about the path to the heart going through the stomach.