Any media outlet can give you a review of the 2016 Atlantic 10 Tournament in Brooklyn. Only the UMass Basketball Report, however, would be so bold as to review the performance of the pep bands for each participant in the weekend’s games. Those of you following @theumbr on Twitter will have noticed several “hot takes” on hoops band performance, but that was just an inkling of the rankings to come.
Let’s lay the ground rules. First, only the bands representing the four teams actually playing on Saturday and Sunday are included in the rankings. Second, the rankings are based solely on performance in the weekend’s games, and not on historical excellence (or lack thereof). Third, the rankings are a highly scientific algorithm based on six categories which result in an easy-to-digest A+ to F scale. And finally, don’t question our qualifications in developing the rankings: The UMBR staff has over a decade of combined orchestral performance experience. Without further ado…
#4: St. Joseph’s Hawk Band
The Hawk Band truly disappointed with the #4 spot. Small crew, no energy, uninspired musical selection, and no sound projection to speak of. The short-sleeved-shirts-over-long-sleeved-shirts-over-short-sleeved-shirts uniforms would have made Stewie Griffin proud.
#3: Davidson Pep Band
A step up is the Davidson Pep Band, with its distinctive yet oddly unsatisfying “Where’s Waldo” styling. The solid musical selection was countered by the inability for anyone to actually hear what was being played. Davidson’s band director helped boost the intangibles score by moonlighting on trombone while conducting.
#2: Flyer Pep Band
Coming in a close second is the Flyer Pep Band straight outta Dayton, Ohio. On any other weekend, the loud, boisterous, backwards-flatbrim-wearing Flyers may have taken the title. A coordinated pelvic thrust during the Saturday performance skyrockets them to the highest intangible score all weekend. This is a tight hoops band.
#1: VCU Peppas
What more can be said about the Peppas that hasn’t already been said? This crew sets the tone for some of the rowdiest fans in college sports. Putting the bowel-shaking deep brass along the aisles as opposed to relegating them to the back row is the key. Plus, the Peppas pulled off a hoops version of Tom Sawyer that even Rush would be proud of.