Frankie Sullivan is largely unknown in Alabama - Beth Hall-USA TODAY Sports
The game invented in America might as well be a foreign sport in the south.
A very odd thing happened the other week. For the first time this season, an SEC fan mentioned basketball to me. In case you are as taken aback as I was, I'll give you a second to compose yourself. Better? Ok, let's proceed. Perhaps even more surprising to me was the source of this comment - Flag Lady from my initial Strange Land article. In the six years I have known her, she has spoken nary a word about basketball. Nothing about brackets, tournament upsets, nada.
What prompted this IM chat? Here's a rough transcript:
(a bunch of work stuff that would bore you to tears)
Flag Lady: Hey, did you see that Alabama beat Kentucky?
AlaTiger: Sure did. Nice win.
AlaTiger: Of course, Mizzou whupped up on Alabama in their first SEC game ever.
Flag Lady: Well, good thing we each have our own sports we are good in.
A rabid Alabama football fan notices basketball only because Alabama beat Kentucky and Kentucky is always awesome at basketball. Note that actual results from this year have no bearing on this conversation. Also note the immediate retreat to football at the first sign of unstable footing.
The only other basketball conversation I've had with SEC fans this year happened the day after the BCS championship game with DefCon, our cyber security manager. DefCon, like Flag Lady, is a rabid Alabama football fan:
(typical football discussion)
AlaTiger: So, how about the big basketball game tonight?
DefCon: (blank stare)
AlaTiger: You don't know who Alabama plays tonight?
DefCon: (blank stare)
AlaTiger: Alabama plays Mizzou in Missouri's first ever SEC game.
DefCon: I'm a Kentucky basketball fan.
AlaTiger: Alabama football and Kentucky basketball? Really? Cherry pick your teams?
DefCon: I was born in Kentucky.
Please note that I haven't heard another word about basketball, Kentucky or otherwise, from DefCon this year.
This brings us to today. Today Missouri plays Auburn. While my anecdotes so far have involved Alabama fans, I am surrounded by Auburn fans as well. What have I heard about game? I think you know the answer by now. That's right - not one word.