It's as much a holiday tradition in college basketball as holding tournaments on tropical islands.
When the calendar turns to December and the holiday season approaches, schools will have their players don Santa hats or reindeer sweaters and croon their favorite Christmas carols. The videos then are shown on the school's jumbotron during December games and memorialized on YouTube forever after.
This year's crop of songs isn't as memorable as some from year's past, but there are a few gems. Maryland, Notre Dame and Marquette provide some of my favorites:
Song: 'Frosty the Snowman'
Yay or Nay: Yay. Not only is the singing surprisingly decent, the outtakes are also pretty fantastic. My personal favorite? The bickering among the assistant coaches. Close second? Pe'Shon Howard demanding a solo part with the clever quip, "It's not Destiny's Child. I'm Beyonce."
Team: Notre Dame
Song: A Christmas carol compilation
Yay or Nay: Yay. There's something for everyone here since each of the Irish belt out a different Christmas song. I do feel bad for Jack Cooley though. Getting stuck with 'Little Drummer Boy' is like opening up a pack of baseball cards and finding nothing but utility infielders.
Song: 'Twas the Night Before Christmas
Yay or Nay: Yay. Marquette has built a reputation for ear-splitting karaoke renditions the past few seasons, so it was surprising to see the Golden Eagles opt to read the most famous Christmas poem instead of indulging in a holiday song or two. Nonetheless, what saves it is the ugly holiday sweaters. Whoever dug those out of their closet has both good ideas and terrible style.
Song: 'Jingle Bell Rock'
Yay or Nay: Nay. Maybe none of the Charlotte players are the next Justin Timberlake. Maybe the 49ers were just shy. Whatever the reason, the school opted for spoken word renditions of Christmas carols ... and it just doesn't work. Credit senior guard Colby Lewis for doing his best to have fun with Jingle Bell Rock here, but this was awkward.
Song: 'Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree'
Yay or Nay: Yay. I'd have preferred to see Bill Self and his players perform this in person, but I understand they might have been a tad busy last week preparing for their showdown with Ohio State in Columbus. As a backup plan, this animated version with cutouts of the Jayhawks' faces was very solid.
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