There are two sporting competitions, in tournament format that captivate us unlike any other this time of year: college basketball’s NCAA Tournament, also known as “March Madness,” and the UEFA Champions League.
In late winter and early spring, sports fans all across the globe are transfixed by both tourneys. In this month we see both March Madness and the UCL transpire, so it’s a whole non-stop sports buffet on tap right now.
The time has come for college basketball/European football doppelgangers. And this isn’t the first time that we’ve done the soccer/football/futbol synergies with college basketball, or with teams in other sports as well.
Be sure to check out our 2014 World Cup Round of 16 nations-college basketball program doppelgangers.
Liverpool FC = Kansas Jayhawks
These two blue bloods in their respective sports are a natural link-up. Both play an extremely exciting style, with the ability to beat anybody on the planet…unfortunately, both also have the ability to lose to just about anybody you can find at the same time.
In other words, just strap yourself in for the roller coaster, because an upset can certainly happen at any given time.
Both sides have recently won it all (KU last March Madness, Liverpool claimed the 2019-20 Premier League title and the 2018-19 Champions League).
Both of these teams also play in a venue that is a bonafide cathedral within their sport, as each stadium has seen so much history.
Liverpool have won 6 European Cups/Champions Leagues, 3 UEFA Cups, 3 UEFA Super Cups, 19 League titles, 8 FA Cups, 9 League Cups (that’s a record), and 16 FA Community Shields.
Kansas currently has the longest streak of consecutive NCAA tournament appearances of all-time (32), the longest current streak of consecutive NCAA winning seasons (39), the most winning seasons in Division I history (106), the most conference championships in Division I history (63), and the most consecutive regular season conference titles in Division I (14).
As of the last complete season, Kansas ranks third in Division I all-time winning percentage (.723) and first in Division I all-time wins (2,357).
Both of these franchises even had a title drought that ended on on a year, with the same numeral. For Liverpool it was from 1989-90 to 2019-2020. For Kansas it was 1988-2008.
Finally, and obviously most importantly, their mascot is a big bird, who even has some of the same colors.
March Madness and Champions League Doppelgangers Series
Manchester United & Kentucky Wildcats Liverpool FC & Kansas Jayhawks Real Madrid & Duke Blue Devils Tottenham Hotspur & Illinois Fighting Illini Manchester City & Gonzaga Bulldogs
Paul M. Banks is the owner/manager of The Sports Bank. He’s also the author of “Transatlantic Passage: How the English Premier League Redefined Soccer in America,” and “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry.”
He’s written for numerous publications, including the New York Daily News, Sports Illustrated and the Chicago Tribune. He regularly appears on NTD News and WGN News Now. Follow the website on Twitter and Instagram.
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