Sunday, March 12, 2017

Mascot Fight Bracket

Today was March Christmas, aka Selection Sunday, and the field for this year's NCAA Tournament has been announced.  I have no idea how I'm going to make my picks because there isn't any one team that sticks out to me as a favorite.  Everyone can lose.  Tuesday, I will give you my thoughts 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 ended up with an unwinnable NC State vs. Nevada –- Wolfpack vs. Wolf Pack -– matchup, every year I fill out a bracket on ESPN (not for money, of course) entitled "Mascot Fight."  Here is what it looks like this year, with explanations of my brilliant and sometimes contradictory reasoning.  (For the record, last year, my Mascot Fight bracket had Villanova losing in the Sweet 16.)

East Region
Play-in games:
(16) Mount St. Mary's Mountaineers vs. (16) New Orleans Privateers.  Because this basketball game is played on land, I'll take a savvy mountain man over a maritime mercenary.  Winner:  Mount St. Mary's
(11) Providence Friars vs. (11) USC Trojans.  Swords beat priests.  It's a fact.  Winner:  USC

Round of 64:
(1) Villanova Wildcats vs. (16) Mount St. Mary's Mountaineers.  A guy who lives in the mountains and knows how to use a rifle is sure as shit gonna know how to kill a wildcat.  Winner:  Mount St. Mary's
(8) Wisconsin Badgers vs. (9) Virginia Tech Hokies.  Badgers kill turkeys.  Winner:  Wisconsin
(5) Virginia Cavaliers vs. (12) UNC Wilmington Seahawks.  A hawk who hangs out on the beach isn't going to be much of a match for a guy who rides a horse and had a limp sword and a musket, no matter how pencil thin his mustached might be.  Winner:  Virginia
(4) Florida Gators vs. (13) East Tennessee State Buccaneers.  This is a tough one, but in the end, a cannon is a hell of a defense to a gator.  Winner:  East Tennessee State
(6) SMU Mustangs vs. (11) USC Trojans.  Trojans ride horses.  Winner:  USC
(3) Baylor Bears vs. (14) New Mexicos State Aggies.  Turns out bears eat humans, even ones who study agriculture.  Winner:  Baylor
(7) South Carolina Gamecocks vs. (10) Marquette Golden Eagles.  In this bird-on-bird match-up, the eagle prevails.  Winner:  Marquette
(2) Duke Blue Devils vs. (15) Troy Trojans.  Trojans may be tough warriors, but their not devils.  Winner:  Duke

Round of 32:
(8) Wisconsin Badgers vs. (16) Mount St. Mary's Mountaineers.  Guns kill badges.  Winner:  Mount St. Mary's
(5) Virginia Cavaliers vs. (13) East Tennessee State Buccaneers.  Pirates beat fops.  Winner:  East Tennessee State
(3) Baylor Bears vs. (11) USC Trojans.  It's gonna be a hell of a fight, but the Men of Troy eventually run through that bear with a sword.  Winner:  USC
(2) Duke Blue Devils vs. (10) Marquette Golden Eagles.  Devils, no matter their color, control eagles.  Winner:  Duke

Sweet 16:
(13) East Tennessee State Buccaneers vs. (16) Mount St. Mary's Mountaineers.  "Hey Jim, what's that really big ball coming towards us."  "Bob, I think it's a cannon ba--"  Winner:  East Tennessee State
(2) Duke Blue Devils vs. (11) USC Trojans.  "You know that whole Trojan Horse thing?  I invented that," says the blue devil.  Winner:  Duke

Elite 8:
(2) Duke Blue Devils vs. (13) East Tennessee State Buccaneers.  While pirates are crafty, the devil is craftier.  Winner:  Duke

West Region
Round of 64:
(1) Gonzaga Bulldogs vs. (16) South Dakota State Jackrabbits.  While jackrabbits are fast, speed doesn't always beat teeth.  Winner:  Gonzaga
(8) Northwestern Wildcats vs. (9) Vanderbilt Commodores.  Sure, he can command a ship, but can he outrun a puma?  No.  The answer is no.  Winner:  Northwestern
(5) Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. (12) Princeton Tigers.  A hammered Irishman, no matter how angry, does not win after he throws a punch at a tiger.  Winner:  Princeton
(4) West Virginia Mountaineers vs. (13) Bucknell Bison.  A white man with a rifle meets a bison.  That never works out well for the bison  Winner:  West Virginia
(6) Maryland Terrapins vs. (11) Xavier Musketeers.  It'll take a few shots, but that musket will take down that turtle.  Winner:  Xavier
(3) Florida State Seminoles vs. (14) Florida Gulf Coast Eagles.  Not even an eagle stands a chance when you have a flaming spear.  Winner:  Florida State
(7) St. Mary's Gaels vs. (10) VCU Rams.  Rams are no match for Scottish warriors.  Winner:  St. Mary's
(2) Arizona Wildcats vs. (15) North Dakota Fighting Hawks.  The hawk, God bless it, tries to swoop down and snatch that wildcat, but the wildcat swats the hawk with a paw and laughs as it tears the hawk's body to pieces.  Winner:  Arizona

Round of 32:
(1) Gonzaga Bulldogs vs. (8) Northwestern Wildcats.  Bulldogs have back problems and snore.  Wildcats hate that shit.  Winner:  Northwestern
(4) West Virginia Mountaineers vs. (12) Princeton Tigers.  Ain't no tigers in the Appalachians.  Winner:  Princeton
(3) Florida State Seminoles vs. (11) Xavier Musketeers.  Good things generally don't happen for Native Americans when a bunch of white guys with guns show up.  Winner:  Xavier
(2) Arizona Wildcats vs. (7) St. Mary's Gaels.  While wily and with fantastic accents, the Scots don't normally encounter large, angry felines.  Winner:  Arizona

Sweet 16:
(8) Northwestern Wildcats vs. (12) Princeton Tigers.  Tigers > Wildcats.  It's an indisputable fact.  Winner:  Princeton
(2) Arizona Wildcats vs. (11) Xavier Musketeers.  Guns are an effective weapon when a cougar approaches.  Winner:  Xavier

Elite 8:
(11) Xavier Musketeers vs. (12) Princeton Tigers.  If they were less advanced marksmen, I might give this one to the tiger.  But alas, they are musketeers.  Winner:  Xavier

Midwest Region
Play-in game:
(16) North Carolina Central Eagles vs. (16) UC Davis Aggies.  An eagle is not a hybrid soybean seed.  Thus, an aggie cannot conquer it.  Winner:  North Carolina Central

Round of 64:
(1) Kansas Jayhawks vs. (16) North Carolina Central Eagles.  It's a tough matchup, but I have to go with the eagle.  Winner:  North Carolina Central
(8) Miami Hurricanes vs. (9) Michigan State Spartans.  No matter how mighty the men of Sparta might be on the battlefield, they're no match for a hurricane.  Winner:  Miami
(5) Iowa State Cyclones vs. (12) Nevada Wolfpack.  Wolfpacks rely on strength in numbers, which is why it's so unfortunate that all of them will be thrown several hundred feet into the air to their deaths.  Winner:  Iowa State
(4) Purdue Boilermakers vs. (13) Vermont Catamount.  What's a catamount, you ask?  It's a giant cat that eats guys who make train engines.  Winner:  Vermont
(6) Creighton Bluejays vs. (11) Rhode Island Rams.  Blue jays, while very attractive birds, are shit for fighting, and certainly not against a ram's horn.  Winner:  Rhode Island
(3) Oregon Ducks vs. (14) Iona Gaels.  "We're having duck tonight, Agnes," said the Scotsman.  Winner:  Iona
(7) Michigan Wolverines vs. (10) Oklahoma State Cowboys.  A lasso and a pistol can tame even the wickedest of wolverines. Winner:  Oklahoma State
(2) Louisville Cardinals vs. (15) Jackonsville State Gamecocks.  Gamecocks are a bit more savage than your average cardinal, or even your most savage cardinal.  Winner:  Jacksonville State

Round of 32:
(8) Miami Hurricanes vs. (16) North Carolina Central Eagles.  It's really hard to fly around a hurricane.  Winner:  Miami
(5) Iowa State Cyclones vs. (13) Vermont Catamounts.  Tornados chuck cats.  Winner:  Iowa State
(11) Rhode Island Rams vs. (14) Iona Gaels.  "We're having ram tonight, Agnes," said the Scotsman.  Winner:  Iona
(10) Oklahoma State Cowboys vs. (15) Jacksonville State Gamecocks.  Cowboys shoot and eat gamecocks, as far as I know.  Winner:  Oklahoma State

Sweet 16:
(5) Iowa State Cyclones vs. (8) Miami Hurricanes.  In a rematch of last year's Mascot Fight Bracket, the hurricane once again prevails over the tornado.  Winner:  Miami
(10) Oklahoma State Cowboys vs. (14) Iona Gaels.  While the cowboy is sleeping, the warrior poet guts him from crotch to neck.  Winner:  Iona

Elite 8:
(8) Miami Hurricanes vs. (14) Iona Gaels.  They don't have hurricanes in Scotland  Winner:  Iona

South Region
Play-in game:
(11) Wake Forest Demon Deacons vs. (11) Kansas State Wildcats.  If he was just a regular deacon, he would stand no chance, but he is a demon deacon.  Winner:  Wake Forest

Round of 64:
(1) North Carolina Tar Heels vs. (16) Texas Southern Tigers.  "Oh look, I just got my heel stuck in some tar," says the person from North Carolina right before being mauled by a tiger.  Winner:  Texas Southern
(8) Arkansas Razorbacks vs. (9) Seton Hall Pirates.  As soon as they get off the boat, those pirates are going to be hungry.  Winner:  Seton Hall
(5) Minnesota Golden Gophers vs. (12) Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders.  Raiders, no matter the color, triumph over gophers, no matter the color.  Winner:  Middle Tennessee State
(4) Butler Bulldogs vs. (13) Winthrop Eagles.  It's very difficult for an eagle to pick up a bulldog.  Winner:  Butler
(6) Cincinnati Bearcats vs. (11) Wake Forest Demon Deacons.  No deacon, no matter how demonic, is no match for an animal with the speed and agility of a cat and the power of a bear.  Winner:  Cincinnati
(3) UCLA Bruins vs. (14) Kent State Golden Flashes.  While the flash might temporarily stun a bear, it's not a really a longterm solution.  Winner:  UCLA
(7) Dayton Flyers vs. (10) Wichita State Shockers.  Pilots are all about using the shocker.  Winner:  Dayton
(2) Kentucky Wildcats vs. (15) Northern Kentucky Norse.  Lefse and a pleasant demeanor are no match for claws and fangs.  Winner:  Kentucky

Round of 32:
(9) Seton Hall Pirates vs. (16) Texas Southern Tigers.  It might surprise you to learn that pirates can kill tigers.  Winner:  Seton Hall
(4) Butler Bulldogs vs. (12) Middle Tennesse State Blue Raiders.  "We're having bulldog for dinner tonight, Marisol," said the blue raider.  Winner:  Middle Tennessee State
(3) UCLA Bruins vs. (6) Cincinnati Bearcats.  A simple bear cannot beat a hybrid bear/cat.  Winner:  Cincinnati
(2) Kentucky Wildcats vs. (7) Dayton Flyers.  The flyers bomb the shit out of all felines ont he ground.  Winner:  Dayton

Round of 16:
(9) Seton Hall Pirates vs. (12) Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders. This is a tough call.  One raids, while one pirates.  I have to give the slight advantage to the pirates because they can attack on both land and water.  Winner:  Seton Hall
(6) Cincinnati Bearcats vs. (7) Dayton Flyers.  Your classic air vs. hybrid predator matchup.  The only problem is that the pilot couldn't even get into his plane before his head was ripped from his body.  Winner:  Cincinnati

Elite 8:
(6) Cincinnati Bearcats vs. (9) Seton Hall Pirates.  Pirates are gritty and crafty, but they lack the speed or reflexes to deal with a bearcat.  Winner:  Cincinnati

Final Four
(2) Duke Blue Devils vs. (11) Xavier Musketeers.  Skilled and principled marksmen cannot be tempted, even by the devil.  Winner:  Xavier
(6) Cincinnati Bearcats vs. (14) Iona Gaels.  Scots are a resourceful lot, and they don't give up a fight very easily.  But let's not forget, even William Wallace was bested, and he wasn't even up against an animal as fast and vicious as a bearcat.  Winner:  Cincinnati.

Championship Game
(6) Cincinnati Bearcats vs. (11) Xavier Musketeers.  This is the ultimate man vs. animal matchup.  On one hand, you have the precision and valor of musket-wielding men.  On the other hand, you have an animal that can kill you if your first shot isn't a kill shot.  That's assuming the bearcat will even let you load that musket in the first place.  It won't.  You see, bearcats are ruthless, quick, and agile.  By the time that musketeer reaches for his powder pouch, he will have bled out.  Winner:  Cincinnati.

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