Monday, March 16, 2015

Mascot Fight Bracket

Selection Sunday -– which should be a national holiday, even though it's on a Sunday and most people have it off anyway –- was yesterday, and the field for this year's NCAA Tournament has been announced.  We all know Kentucky is going to win –- they are paid professionals, after all -– but how your pools shake out will depend on how the rest of your bracket is filled out.  Tomorrow, I will give you my keen insight on the teams to help you win your pool, but today, it's all about the mascots.

As I've done in years past, today I'm going to post the mascot fight bracket.  Inspired by the 6- or 7-year-old son of a former co-worker, who filled out his bracket one year based solely on which mascot would win in a fight and ending up with a dreaded NC State vs. Nevada –- Wolfpack vs. Wolf Pack -– matchup, every year I fill out a bracket (not for money) entitled "Mascot Fight."  Here is what it looks like this year, with explanations of my brilliant and sometimes contradictory reasoning.

Midwest Region
Play-in game:
(16) Hampton Pirates vs. (16) Manhattan Jaspers.  The Jaspers are named after a priest.  While the guy did invent the seventh inning stretch, God and baseball are no match for a sword and syphilis.  Winner:  Hampton

Round of 64:
(1) Kentucky Wildcats vs. (16) Hampton Pirates.  Pirates kill cats.  It's as simple as that.  Winner:  Hampton
(8) Cincinnati Bearcats vs. (9) Purdue Boilermakers.  A boilermaker is a shit-stained factory worker.  A bearcat is an animal with the speed of a cat and the strength and tenacity of a bear.  Winner:  Cincinnati
(5) West Virginia Mountaineers vs. (12) Buffalo Bulls.  Mountaineers have guns.  Guns kill bulls.  Winner:  West Virginia
(4) Maryland Terrapins vs. (13) Valparaiso Crusaders.  Fear the turtle?  I think not.  A crusader merely has to flip the turtle on its back and then game over.  Winner:  Valparaiso
(6) Butler Bulldogs vs. (11) Texas Longhorns.  Bulldogs can be tenacious, and their low center of gravity helps them in fights, but they can also be gored to death pretty easily by an angry steer.  Winner:  Texas
(3) Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. (14) Northeastern Huskies.  A drunken bare-knuckle boxer, while stubborn, would not overcome the calculating bite of a husky.  Winner:  Northeastern
(7) Wichita State Shockers vs. (10) Indiana Hoosiers.  While a sexual maneuver is pretty cool, it will not defeat whatever the hell a Hoosier is.  Winner:  Indiana
(2) Kansas Jayhawks vs. (15) New Mexico State Aggies.  Even an Aggie can kill a bird.  Winner:  New Mexico State

Round of 32:
(8) Cincinnati Bearcats vs. (16) Hampton Pirates.  If Cincinnati's mascot was a water creature –- say a manatee or an urchin -- I would likely side with Hampton, but I don't think a pirate would know what to do when approached by a bearcat, except get eaten.  Winner:  Cincinnati
(5) West Virginia Mountaineers vs. (13) Valparaiso Crusaders.  This is a tough one.  On one hand, crusaders were pretty hardcore, but on the other hand, Mountaineers have rifles.  Winner:  West Virginia
(11) Texas Longhorns vs. (14) Northeastern Huskies.  The husky meets the same fate as the bulldog.  Winner:  Texas
(10) Indiana Hoosiers vs. (15) New Mexico State Aggies.  While the aggie is tending to his crops, the Hoosier chucks a basketball really hard at the aggie's temple.  Winner:  Indiana

Sweet 16:
(5) West Virginia Mountaineers vs. (8) Cincinnati Bearcats.  A bearcat, while wily, is no match for the weird dude with a gun who lives in the forest.  Winner:  West Virginia
(10) Indiana Hoosiers vs. (11) Texas Longhorns.  Without an ag school, the Hoosier is helpless to defend itself against the charge of the longhorn.  Winner:  Texas

Elite 8:
(5) West Virginia Mountaineers vs. (11) Texas Longhorns.  Steak dinner.  Winner:  West Virginia

West Region
Play-in game:
(11) BYU Cougars vs. (11) Ole Miss Rebels.  You can't rebel against being mauled by a mountain lion.  Winner:  BYU

Round of 64:
(1) Wisconsin Badgers vs. (16) Coastal Carolina Chanticleers.  You know that rooster that likes to sing?  He just got eaten by a badger.  Winner:  Wisconsin
(8) Oregon Ducks vs. (9) Oklahoma State Cowboys.  Cowboys shoot and eat ducks.  Winner:  Oklahoma State
(5) Arkansas Razorbacks vs. (12) Wofford Terriers.  They said that God loves a terrier, but a feral warthog with sharp tusks does not.  Winner:  Arkansas
(4) North Carolina Tar Heels vs. (12) Harvard Crimson.  Living creatures, even ones with tar on their heels, always beat colors.  Winner:  Arkansas
(6) Xavier Musketeers vs. (11) BYU Cougars.  They say there's more than one way to skin a cat.  One of those ways is after you kill it with a musket.  Winner:  Xavier
(3) Baylor Bears vs. (14) Georgia State Panthers.  What a great matchup.  This will be a battle to the bloody end, but I give the edge to the bear.  Winner:  Baylor
(7) VCU Rams vs. (10) Ohio State Buckeyes.  A buckeye is a nut, but a poisonous nut at that.  Rams are stupid enough to eat poisonous nuts.  Winner:  Ohio State
(2) Arizona Wildcats vs. (15) Texas Southern Tigers.  In the battle of big cats, the biggest wins.  Winner:  Texas Southern

Round of 32:
(1) Wisconsin Badgers vs. (9) Oklahoma State Cowboys.  You know that cowboy that fell asleep?  He just got eaten by a badger.  Winner:  Wisconsin
(4) North Carolina Tar Heels vs. (5) Arkansas Razorbacks.  "Hey, I just stepped in some tar" is the last thing you hear before being knocked out by a charging razorback.  Winner:  Arkansas
(3) Baylor Bears vs. (6) Xavier Musketeers.  There aren't many bears in medieval France.  Sorry D'Artagnan.  Winner:  Baylor
(10) Ohio State Buckeyes vs. (15) Texas Southern Tigers.  Tigers, while smarter than rams, aren't familiar enough with the toxicity of Midwestern American nuts to know not to eat them.  Winner:  Ohio State

Sweet 16:
(1) Wisconsin Badgers vs. (5) Arkansas Razorbacks.  What a fight this would be.  In the end, though, I'd have to say the badger would come out on top.  Winner:  Badger
(3) Baylor Bears vs. (10) Ohio State Buckeyes.  Bears don't eat nuts; they step on them.  Winner:  Baylor

Elite 8:
(1) Wisconsin Badgers vs. (3) Baylor Bears.  A badger is no match for a bear.  Winner:  Baylor

East Region
Play-in game:
(11) Boise State Broncos vs. (11) Dayton Flyers.  If anything gets too hairy, a pilot can fly away from a horse and crash into the horse with his or her plane if need be.  Winner:  Dayton

Round of 64:
(1) Villanova Wildcats vs. (16) Lafayette Leopards.  Leopard > Wildcat.  Winner:  Lafayette
(8) NC State Wolfpack vs. (9) LSU Tigers.  Another solid matchup, but the wolf pack gains its power in numbers.  Winner:  NC State
(5) Northern Iowa Panthers vs. (12) Wyoming Cowboys.  Cowboys can dispose of mountain lions, cougars, pumas, and common house cats, but not panthers.  Winner:  Northern Iowa
(4) Louisville Cardinals vs. (13) UC Irvine Anteaters.  This might be the weakest matchup in the field.  The anteater is probably the least intimidating mascot we've discussed so far, and the cardinal has a beak that could maybe peck the anteater's eyes out, I guess.  Winner:  Louisville
(6) Providence Friars vs. (11) Dayton Flyers.  "Say, Brother Edward, what is that giant metal bird in the sky above our monastery?"  "Why, Brother Archibald, I believe it's a sign from . . ."  At that point, the bomb from the airplane blows the monastery to smithereens.  Winner:  Dayton
(3) Oklahoma Sooners vs. (14) Albany Great Danes.  I have to think the people who settle Oklahoma could tame a giant lazy dog.  Winner:  Oklahoma
(7) Michigan State Spartans vs. (10) Georgia Bulldogs.  By the time you've read this sentence, Leonidas has already gutted the dog and fashioned its head into a helmet.  Winner:  Michigan State
(2) Virginia Cavaliers vs. (15) Belmont Bruins.  A foppish guy with a bendy sword and a Rollie Fingers mustache walks into a forest.  He does not return.  Winner:  Belmont

Round of 32:
(8) NC State Wolfpack vs. (16) Lafayette Leopards.  Power in numbers once again wins the day.  Winner:  NC State
(5) Northern Iowa Panthers vs. (4) Louisville Cardinals.  Not even close.  Winner:  Northern Iowa
(3) Oklahoma Sooners vs. (11) Dayton Flyers.  Fighter planes beat stagecoaches.  Winner:  Dayton
(7) Michigan State Spartans vs. (15) Belmont Bruins.  A bear from Tennessee is not going to stop the 300.  Winner:  Michigan State

Sweet 16:
(5) Northern Iowa Panthers vs. (8) NC State Wolfpack.  One time I saw some werewolves fight some werepanthers on True Blood.  It didn't end well for the werepanthers, as I recall.  Winner:  NC State
(7) Michigan State Spartans vs. (11) Dayton Flyers.  Even the biggest badasses ever might not be able to sustain a dive bombing.  Winner:  Dayton

Elite 8:
(8) NC State Wolfpack vs. (11) Dayton Flyers.  I thought long and hard about this one.  On one hand, there are probably a lot of wolves in that wolf pack, so they can avoid getting completely wiped out and then pounce once the pilot lands to refuel.  On the other hand, shooting wolves from a plane is apparently not that hard to do.  Just ask Sarah Palin.  Winner:  Dayton

South Region
Play-in game:
(16) North Florida Ospreys vs. (16) Robert Morris Colonials.  An osprey is kind of like a hawk.  Did you know that hawks die when shot by members of the Continental Army?  Winner:  Robert Morris

Round of 64:
(1) Duke Blue Devils vs. (16) Robert Morris Colonials.  Devils can be tricky.  Winner:  Duke
(8) San Diego State Aztecs vs. (9) St. John's Red Storm.  I think the Aztecs invented red storms.  Winner:  San Diego State
(5) Utah Utes vs. (12) Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks.  Guys from Texas with chainsaws vs. skilled horseback warriors with bows and guns.  A classic western matchup.  Winner:  Utah
(4) Georgetown Hoyas vs. (13) Eastern Washington Eagles.  A hoya is a word that means "what."  An eagle is an eagle.  Winner:  Eastern Washington
(6) SMU Mustangs vs. (11) UCLA Bruins.  Beats beat horses.  Winner:  UCLA
(3) Iowa State Cyclones vs. (14) UAB Blazers.  A blazer is a dragon.  Dragons can fly above tornadoes, rendering the tornadoes virtually useless.  Winner:  UAB
(7) Iowa Hawkeyes vs. (10) Davidson Wildcats.  A wildcat will always beat a bird's eye.  Winner:  Davidson
(2) Gonzaga Bulldogs vs. (15) North Dakota State Bison.  So the bison is laughing his ass off while the bulldog is snoring, but the bulldog was just pretending to sleep, and it pops up and gnaws the bison's ankle.  Gotcha, bitch.  Winner:  Gonzaga.

Round of 32:
(1) Duke Blue Devils vs. (8) San Diego State Aztecs.  "You know those virgins you guys are sacrificing to your gods?  Those are actually for me.  Thanks."  Say the devil, followed by a hearty belly laugh.  Winner:  Duke
(5) Utah Utes vs. (13) Eastern Washington Eagles.  I'd take a Native American tribe over an eagle any day of the week.  Except Saturdays.  Winner:  Eastern Washington
(11) UCLA Bruins vs. (14) UAB Blazers.  It's a battle as old as time:  bear vs. dragon.  You don't see any dragons walking around, do you?  Winner:  UCLA
(2) Gonzaga Bulldogs vs. (10) Davidson Wildcats.  The "snore and gnaw" trick that fooled the bison doesn't work on the more street-smart wildcat, who pounces on the bulldog while it's pretending to sleep and sinks its fangs into the bulldog's jugular, causing the bulldog to bleed out.  Winner:  Davidson

Round of 16:
(1) Duke Blue Devils vs. (13) Eastern Washington Eagles.  The devil has a really good arm and surprisingly accurate aim with a pitchfork.  Winner:  Duke
(10) Davidson Wildcats vs. (11) UCLA Bruins.  Bears will always beat wildcats.  Always.  Winner:  UCLA

Elite 8:
(1) Duke Blue Devils vs. (11) UCLA Bruins.  Bears are no match for the devil.  Winner:  Duke

Final Four
(3) Baylor Bears vs. (5) West Virginia Mountaineers.  While bears tend to be pretty good at not dying, mountain men with guns are pretty good at killing bears.  Winner:  West Virginia
(1) Duke Blue Devils vs. (11) Dayton Flyers.  The Duke Blue Devil wears aviator goggles and a scarf because he knows his way around a plane, as does the Flyer, but the devil is the devil.  Winner: Duke

Championship Game

(1) Duke Blue Devils vs. (5) West Virginia Mountaineers.  The mountaineer is wily, resourceful, and handy with a gun, knife, and compound bow.  If this were a fiddling contest and we were in Georgia, the outcome might favor the mountaineer, but this is a mascot fight.  The mountaineer would get some good shots in, but with some timely smoke screens, the devil would eventually disorient the mountaineer, whereupon he would thrust his trident into the mountain man's head –- like straight through the skull –- and cackle diabolically before letting out a sigh as the last drops of life flow out of the mountaineer's body and saying "God damn, this never gets old."  Winner:  Duke

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