In-N-Out. The best burger known to man. My white whale. Unfortunately though, locations are restricted and do not reach Kansas.
That’s where Kansas volleyball comes in. On Friday, the team takes on Loyola Marymount in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament (which you can listen to at 7:20 central time on kuathletics.com/radio or the Jayhawk App). At the opposite side of the region sits a matchup between top seeded USC and Creighton. All of these games take place in San Diego, one of many cities in California that hosts an In-N-Out location. So while I’m thinking about animal fries and a double-double there actually is some big-time volleyball going on this weekend.
To help the average fan get a sense of the possible competition, I decided to preview all four teams in the region by comparing them to items at In-N-Out.
USC Trojans – Double-Double
In-N-Out’s most famed item, the Double-Double burger. USC can relate. They sit at 32-2 and have won six national championships in program history. They, like the double-double, are the favorite. And well-deserved. The Trojans have been dominant all season long and were co-champions of a loaded Pac-12. The team is led by outside hitter Samantha Bricio – a likely national player of the year winner. The defense is strong too, as it ranks top ten in the country in opponent hitting percentage, but the offense is the main weapon, as USC ranks top-10 in the country in kills and assists per set and hitting percentage. The great play from USC earned them the top seed in the NCAA Tournament, just like the great tastes of the Double-Double make it the best burger in the country.
Creighton Blue Jays – Well Done Fries
Fries well done are just In-N-Out’s fries but cooked a bit longer. The extra heat gives them a crunchier test, and makes them more battle scarred. Creighton might be more battle tested than any team in the country. They took on five top-11 teams in the non-conference schedule – no one else in the country played more than three. 17 of Creighton’s 35 matches have also come against teams in the NCAA Tournament field. The Bluejays, like USC, have navigated their tough schedule with a lethal offense that is ranked in the country’s top five in both total assists and kills. And not to mention, they are coming out of the fryer hot, as they have won 22 of the last 23 matches.
Loyola Marymount Lions – Neapolitan Shake
One of the best ‘secret’ items on the In-N-Out menu is the Neapolitan Shake. It’s a mix of strawberry, chocolate and vanilla ice cream, and you can never really get a sense of which you’re tasting the most, but you know it’s still really good. Well, that’s kind of like Loyola Marymount. They’re really good but you don’t really know what you’re going to get. Throughout the course of the season, they’ve beaten Stanford, Colorado State, UCLA and BYU – the ladder are both in the Sweet 16, while Stanford was the 8th seed in the Tournament and Colorado State finished 26-4. Loyola Marymount had some other strong wins, but they showed their inconsistency with losses to an average Virginia team, a 17-14 Pepperdine squad and a 17-13 Pacific team. It seems that the Lions tend to play to their competition – which bodes well in the NCAA Tournament when the competition is strong.
Kansas Jayhawks – Animal Fries
Animal fries are a mix of fries with melted – but not like a cheese sauce – cheese with grilled and diced onion along with In-N-Out’s spread. This combination is always something to look forward to and it has so many great parts to it that when combined in one bite, makes an ensemble of deliciousness. Sometimes, these fries can be overshadowed by the Burger though, but that doesn’t mean that people always want the double-double more than animal fries. Kansas, like animal fries, is the underdog to USC in this region. They’ll have a tough test with a smart-hitting Loyola Marymount squad in the Sweet 16, but on any given day, animal fries can taste better than anything at In-N-Out.