“What if college basketball games were battles for land?”
That’s the question posed by the College Basketball Imperialism Map thread on Reddit. For those of you that haven’t found this internet gem yet, it’s the annual tracking of territorial warfare based on the outcomes of college basketball games. Brilliant.
Full disclosure, I haven’t done a ton of research into the origins of this annual endeavor, but I believe it started with college football before making its way to the hardwood last year. The rules are fairly simple:
- Every county in the country starts the season under the rule of the team located closest to them.
- If a team with land is beaten by a team without, the winning team takes all of their territory regardless of where the game is played.
- If two teams with land play each other, the winning team consolidates all the territory under their rule.
- The only exception is if a team with land loses to a non-D1 opponent, in which case they retain their territory.
Last season, along with a National Championship, the Villanova Wildcats wound up controlling all of college basketball and dominating the territory map (see above). But this season everything starts fresh. So heading into November, here’s what the original map looked like:
The map correctly assigns Villanova to two counties right off the bat, while giving nothing to St. Joe’s. The king reigns supreme while the serfs must beg for relevance. I love it. I’ll continue to update Nova Nation anytime our territory changes, but here’s how we’ve progressed so far:
Early dominance over lesser foes and allies (Nov. 10th)
There’s nothing like summoning allies to your castle, then forcing them to bend the knee and raise your banner. Nova started it’s territorial campaign with small yet significant land grabs in the Northeast. The territory of Morgan State was essentially gifted to the reigning king as a tribute to their new castle. That was soon followed by a former Lord of the court, Baker Dunleavy, supplying the land and troops of Quinnipiac as Villanova prepared for what looked like another glorious campaign. Little did they know what dangers lurked ahead.
Barbarians from the North take their vengeance (Nov. 14th)
The kings of college basketball were warned that the vicious barbarians from the north were coming to storm their castle, but they merely laughed at the pending danger. These natives of Michigan, draped in maze and blue, had been easily subjugated the previous year as Villanova rose to the thrown. But the great warriors who had claimed the crown for the Wildcats last season had since moved on, and this time it was the barbarians who were victorious. With the defeat Villanova lost all of its territory, and while they retained their crown they no longer had any land to rule over.
Villanova returns to the map (Nov. 23rd)
Needing to find a way back onto the map, Villanova used it’s upcoming match with the Cowboys from the west. This group of cowpoke had recently procured territories occupied by Charleston and Memphis, located near the shores of South Carolina, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. In the North, the new territory gave the Wildcats a stronghold against those barbarians from Michigan who had taken their previous territories. But the land in the South was the true prize, as it would serve as a staging area for the greater battle against the empire forming in northern Florida.
The First Great Expansion (Nov. 25th)
The young warriors of Villanova fought more bravely than they had at any point in their burgeoning campaign. Not only did they succeed in vanquishing the Seminoles in their native land in Florida, they seized the empire that belonged to them. Florida State had amassed quite a holding after defeating LSU just a few days prior, and now Villanova was in control of all of that territory. The Wildcats now held counties in Alabama, Arkansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Tennessee, and Texas.
The Full Campaign (Nov. 27th)
There are currently 59 teams split among the 325 territories among the 3,143 counties and parishes in the US.
Complete GIF of the 2018-19 Campaign
Villanova’s Campaign By The Numbers
Total Counties: 192 (3rd in the country)
Total Population: 11,743,449 (8th in the country)
Total Square Miles: 119,790 (9th in the country)
Total Territories: 18 (Tied for 2nd in the country)
Big East’s Campaign By The Numbers
Total Counties: 359 (4th in the country)
Total Population: 37,075,944 (5th in the country)
Total Square Miles: N/A (Outside of Top 5)
Total Territories: 41 (3rd in the country)
A special thanks to Joey Loose, the creative genius behind all of this. We’ll keep you updated any time the map changes for Villanova, but you can always check the reddit site for national changes daily. To Victory, Nova Nation!!!