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The Art of War: Know your enemy when arguing about Mark Few

Another tough loss and tensions are high, battle lines drawn, camps divided and the comments sections a war zone. If you want to win an argument on a message board, you must first understand your enemy. Here's what you're facing when you get into a discussion concerning the merits of Mark Few. Like an Oreo cookie, there are two strong sides with a soft, gooey center that will attach itself to either end depending on how it's twisted.

James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

The Lovers: They think Few is the spawn of a forbidden, drunken tryst between Pat Summitt and John Wooden. Usually over 40, they remember an era before Few of peach baskets, Chuck Taylors and losing basketball. The dark days when GU held classes in a large tent by the Spokane River with bed sheets separating the classrooms and the old Kennel actually had to board dogs on non-game days just to afford uniforms. No Final Four, no problem; Few is just building suspense. A losing record against top 25 teams; what do you expect? In his first decade as coach most of his players were closer to McDonald’s workers than they were McDonald’s All-Americans. A big loss is always blamed on the players; "yeah, we would have beat Wichita State if Mike Hart had the stones to jack up a couple more threes". When cornered, Few lovers pull out "the highest winning percentage in D-1" faster than Clint Eastwood pulled his Colt in a Sergio Leone Western. Few lovers don’t think he is infallible, the just can’t ever remember a time he made a mistake.

The Likers: Few likers aren’t usually right down the middle; they are either former Few lovers who’ve suffered one too many disappointments or Few loathers who can’t argue with math. Their opinion of Few varies from game to game; great at game prep, bad on the bench, a genius during a big win, directly responsible for that tough loss. They are like Southern Baptists going to a Sunday football game after church. In the morning they are singing "stand up for Jesus" and in the afternoon yelling "sit down for Christ’s sake". Sure he’s done great things, but he did inherit Dan Monson’s program. Why the ambiguity?  Few just isn’t tough enough. Com’ on Few get tough, shake Sean Miller’s hand but sucker punch ‘em in the Solar Plexus with your off hand. If you can’t beat them, have them beaten. Yell, throw chairs, get some T’s, slap Karno after a turnover….he might not kill you. Few likers who are wounded Few lovers just need a Final Four or a National Championship to come back to the light. Those who are secret Few loathers will embrace a National Championship, but complain the margin of victory was inadequate.

The Loathers: 1999 wasn’t the apex of the GU Men’s Basketball program, it was Mark Few’s baseline and things haven’t really improved. Like a Kentucky troll with better dental work, Few loathers feel making the NCAA tournament isn’t an accomplishment, it’s what you do in March that matters and Few is only 19 – 16. Few loathers always give the players a pass, "sure player X was 0 for 12 with a dozen turnovers and stupid fouls; because Few didn’t motivate him" When GU falls behind, they're as nervous as a BYU player at a Starbucks because no team is ever just better, Few always blows it.  Loathers seem to take a certain schadenfreude in a loss,  immediately taking to the message boards with "see I told you so" posts along with doom and gloom predictions about the future The mindset of a loather was best exemplified to me by the attendant at my local gas station/mini-mart. Explaining to me why he disliked Few so much, he told me, "did you know since he took over GU has ended every season with a loss?" I couldn’t argue his logic.