It's as much a holiday tradition in college basketball as tournaments on exotic 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.
My favorite of this year's crop is actually a skit from Xavier, but there are a handful of good holiday tunes as well. My five favorites are below:
Song: Jingle Bell Rock
Yay or nay: Yay. It hasn't been a happy holidays for the struggling Maryland basketball program, but you'd never know it from the enthusiasm of the players and coaches in this video. From the choreography of the assistant coaches, to Nick Faust sounding like Alvin the Chipmunk, to Jake Layman wondering aloud where Jingle Bell Square actually is, there's plenty of fun moments.
Song: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Yay or nay: Nay. Marquette has built a reputation for ear-splitting karaoke renditions the past few seasons, so it was disappointing the Golden Eagles were, well, halfway decent belting out Rudolph. Bring back Junior Cadougan, and his voice that could shatter a backboard!
Song: Jingle Bells, Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer and This Christmas
Yay or nay: Nay. It's safe to say none of the Razorbacks are the next Justin Timberlake, though what the Razorbacks lack in musical talent they make up for with enthusiasm. Entertaining effort, fellas, but how do you forget the words to Rudolph?
Song: Well, it's actually a skit but it's fantastic
Yay or nay: Yay. Not only is forward Matt Stainbrook thoroughly entertaining as Santa Claus, the requests from the teammates sitting on his lap are clever. Five-foot-9 walk-on Tim Whelan asks for playing time, Big man Isaiah Philmore wants to make 3-pointers and California native Brandon Randolph is eager for some warmer winter weather.
Team: San Diego
Song: We Wish You a Merry Christmas
Yay or nay: Yay. Christopher Anderson puts this over the top. Nobody else has ever done that dance to We Wish You a Merry Christmas.