It’s March Madness time and this year I am once again using my tried and true method for selecting the NCAA tournament brackets. For the first round matchups; I put each team’s mascot side by side and then pick whichever I think would win in a drunken bar fight. We’ll examine those matchups in-depth in this article. Moving forward for the second round; I let my six-year-old choose the winners, but only after I feed her 12 pixie sticks with a pink lemonade 5 Hour Energy shot chaser.
When we get to the Sweet Sixteen, I look at each school’s undergraduate academic reputation (including peer assessment, and for the National Universities and National Liberal Arts Colleges categories only, high school counselors’ ratings); graduation and retention rates; faculty resources (class size, for example); student selectivity (for example, average admissions test scores of incoming students); financial resources; alumni giving; and graduation rate performance. Whichever school has a lower score is better at basketball, so I choose them to move on.
At the Elite Eight stage; my hometown Buckeyes are usually already eliminated and I am passed out drunk over my brackets, so the teams with the least amount of drool on them advance. My Final Four winners are generally decided the next day when I am hung-over and full of regret. The outcome of the championship is decided by a flip of my limited edition Harvey “Two-Face” Dent coin because at the end, most of life’s gambling decisions are best decided by a Batman villain.
So without any more adieu, here are my picks based solely on the mascots going toe to toe in a bar fight.
#1 Florida Gators vs. #16 Albany Great Danes or Mt. St. Mary’s Mountaineers – Because the NCAA must squeeze every last dime it can out of the already billion dollar enterprise that is their basketball championship, we have multiple “play in games” which is why at the time of writing this article I have no idea who the Florida Gators opponent is going to be on March 20th. It will either be a Gator verses Marmaduke, or versus a guy who likes to climb mountains. What you don’t realize is that the Florida mascot is not an alligator but actually Burt Reynolds from the 1976 film Gator. In both cases, winner: Florida
#8 Colorado Buffaloes vs. #9 Pittsburgh Panthers – Buffaloes were so easy to kill that we had to stop because we killed them much faster than they were able to make more buffaloes. Panthers are lean sleek kitty killing machines and are also on the side of every can of Löwenbräu which makes for a pretty high alcohol tolerance. Panthers win easily especially against an animal most well know for almost going extinct. Winner: Pittsburgh
#5 VCU Rams vs. #12 Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks – So here you have a school with a lumberjack mascot named after a guy who was never a lumberjack. (Stephen F. Austin was the guy who colonized Texas even though hundreds of thousands of people already lived there) against a ram. Rams are very stubborn and live up on mountains and spend their days head butting stuff. They head butt when they’re mad, they head butt when they’re happy, they pretty much just head butt all damn day. Rams are also known for being extremely stubborn but no one is more stubborn than a dude who walked into Texas and said he colonized it 131 years after somebody else. Sadly, for Stephen F Austin University, their mascot is not Stephen F. Austin and is instead a lumberjack who will get head butted back up the tree. Winner: VCU
#4 UCLA Bruins vs. #13 Tulsa Golden Hurricane – Bruins are bears and Golden Hurricanes sound like regular hurricanes full of urine which is gross and terrifying. In this matchup the Bear has two things going for it; firstly bears drink a lot of Molson and therefore can handle themselves when drunk and in a fight, and secondly, weather systems generally don’t do well inside of buildings no matter what awful stuff they’re comprised of. Winner: UCLA
#6 The Ohio State Buckeyes vs. #11 Dayton Flyers – Flyers are adept at working at high altitudes, giving them an advantage when the alcohol from a dozen jager bombs makes you light headed. However; here they are up against Brutus Buckeye, a guy with .01% body fat who gets off on doing push-ups all day long, and has a gigantic poison nut for a head. A nut, that is almost unbreakable I might add, and was used in my neighborhood as the projectile of choice for everyone’s slingshots. Sorry Flyers break a thousand beer bottles over Brutus’ head and he’ll just laugh each time. Winner: Ohio State
#3 Syracuse Orange vs. #14 Western Michigan Broncos – Broncos are wild horses and orange is a color that doesn’t rhyme with anything. How do you fight a color? Fighting a color, that’s racist! Horses are racist! Winner: Syracuse
#7 New Mexico Lobos vs. #10 Stanford Cardinal – Lobo is just wolf in Spanish and where as you would think that Cardinal stood for the bird or the big shots at the Vatican who aren’t the Pope, at Stanford (just like at Syracuse) the mascot is actually just a color. Never mind the guy dressed up as a tree on the sidelines, he’s actually the mascot of the Stanford marching band, not the sports teams. Stanford’s official mascot is just a shade of red. You can now add wolves and horses to our list of racists. Winner: Stanford
#2 Kansas Jayhawks vs. #15 Eastern Kentucky Colonels – A Jayhawk is not a real bird, but rather it’s a mythical cross between two common birds, the noisy blue jay and the quiet sparrow hawk. That type of duality makes for one pretty good mythical bird barroom brawler. The Eastern Kentucky mascot is a rip off of Colonel Sanders from Kentucky Fried Chicken and while you’d think a guy like that would do very well in a fight against a bird; you’re forgetting that the jayhawk’s cousin is the mockingjay from The Hunger Games and I need to go refill my beer. Winner: Kansas
#1 Virginia Cavaliers vs. #16 Coastal Carolina Chanticleer – Cavaliers are dashing swordsmen who wear fancy hats with big plumes and lost the English Civil War. A chanticleer is a rooster from The Canterbury Tales written by Geoffrey Chaucer in 1372. That’s an old rooster. Also what do you think those plumes in the cavalier’s hat are made from? If you said feathers, then give yourself a cookie. Winner: Virginia
#8 Memphis Tigers vs. #9 George Washington Colonials – Tigers are big orange cats with black stripes who love lasagna. Oh wait, that’s Garfield. Tigers are big orange cats with black stripes that live in India. Colonials are people from the English colonies. At one time India was a colony of England. India is no longer an English colony but they still have tigers. Winner: Memphis
#5 Cincinnati Bearcats vs. #12 Harvard Crimson – Harvard becomes the third school in this year’s tournament who at one time said, “Screw it, just make the mascot a color.” Cincinnati’s mascot is a bearcat, but what is a bearcat? Is it half bear, half cat? Because that would be awesome! No, in reality a bearcat is another term for a binturong, which lives in Asian rainforests and are not something out of Lord of the Rings like I first thought. I wish the racist rule applied here but nothing in the Asian rainforest is racist. Winner: Cincinnati
#4 Michigan State Spartans vs. #13 Delaware Fightin’ Blue Hens – Hens lay eggs and I can only assume a blue hen is a hen who lays eggs in the cold. Spartans are guys who have pectoral muscles that can lift small buildings and are so badass they like to fight in nothing but a Speedo. Winner: Michigan State
#6 North Carolina Tar Heels vs. #11 Providence Friars – Tar Heel is a nickname that soldiers from North Carolina got during the Civil War because they kept to their ranks like their heels were stuck in tar. Friars are pacifists who not only like to drink beer but they often make the stuff for a living. Friar Tuck was one of Robin Hood’s merry men and was probably the biggest reason why they were merry. So here we have a guy who doesn’t leave because his shoes are stuck versus a pacifist who drinks beer for a living. A guy who can’t leave because he’s stuck is going to have plenty of time to win this fight mostly because the other guy who doesn’t fight and will be passed out drunk. Winner: North Carolina
#3 Iowa State Cyclones vs. #14 N.C. Central Eagles – Cyclones are a type of big storm that form all over the earth including in the Arctic Circle. That’s pretty rad even by storm standards. Eagles are birds. You know what doesn’t fly well in a big storm? If you said birds, you’ve earned another cookie. Winner: Iowa State
#7 Connecticut Huskies vs. #10 Saint Joseph’s Hawks – Huskies are dogs bred to run fast while also pulling sleds across frozen tundra because you gotta get across the frozen tundra somehow don’t you? Huskies are also dogs; and while dogs are lovable and awesome, they are also stupid and so now the breed believes that pulling sleds across frozen tundra is fun. So, if you have one in any place other than the Yukon, the damn thing will constantly bolt out the door and run because running is fun and hey where’s the sled? Hawks are birds with razor sharp talons that hunt by viciously ambushing their prey. That would work against a lot of other mascots on this list but not the Husky. Winner: Connecticut
#2 Villanova Wildcats vs. #15 Milwaukee Panthers – Wildcats are cats that live in the wild and panthers are also cats that live in the wild. So technically we have wildcats verses wildcats in this matchup. Panthers however, are huge and much more dangerous but unlike Mr. Wild Whiskers McKittypants they can’t hold their liquor at all. Panthers are total lightweights. One light beer and they’re throwing up in the john. Winner: Villanova
#1 Arizona Wildcats vs. #16 Weber State Wildcats – Seriously? Kiss my ass NCAA. Winner: Arizona
#8 Gonzaga Bulldogs vs. #9 Oklahoma State Cowboys – Bulldogs are a breed of dog that were originally used in a gambling past time that involved the dogs tackling a bull by the nose and dragging it to the ground. I am not making that up. They came to be associated with Winston Churchill’s defiance of Nazi Germany and became a popular mascot. Thirty-nine American Universities use the Bulldog as a mascot which I can only assume is second to the friggin’ Wildcat which seems to be used by 200 schools. On the other side is a cowboy. Cowboys come in all types, there are the rugged handsome Marlboro smoking ones, the bull riding crazy ones, and the STD riddled ones who just got off the ranch and are back in town looking for a good time. Go with the dog that tackles bulls for fun. Winner: Gonzaga
#5 Oklahoma Sooners vs. #12 North Dakota State Bison – Bison is just another word for buffalo and as we established earlier with Colorado, buffaloes can’t reproduce faster then they can be shot at by hunters. A “Sooner” on the other hand is the nickname of a person who participated in the land rush of 1889 when all the land that used belong to the Native Americans was given away – for free! That’s cold blooded and you do not want to mess with a person like that in a bar fight. Winner: Oklahoma
#4 San Diego State Aztecs vs. #13 New Mexico State Aggies – In order to this one I first had to figure out what the heck is an Aggie. It turns that Aggie is the nickname for someone who goes to an agricultural school. That’s not very tough, especially when you’re in a bar fight with a dude who is into human sacrifice and giving people diarrhea as payback. Winner: San Diego State
#6 Baylor Bears vs. #11 Nebraska Cornhuskers – Bears are well, bears. They’re big and mean and love honey. Cornhuskers are people who take the outer shell off of corn. That’s about as menacing as it sounds. It will be ugly as the bear shows us how to really husk something. Winner: Baylor
#3 Creighton Blue Jays vs. #14 UL- Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns – Blue Jays are noisy, aggressive, and are generally considered to be the biggest dickheads of the bird kingdom. It’s like someone took a house full of a-hole frat dudes and shoved them into a bird. Cajuns are an ethnic group descended from French Canadians who seem to live only in southern Louisiana. They are a lovely people and are usually called “raging” only because it rhymes with Cajun. So, in this case take the dick bird over the racial slur. Winner: Creighton
#7 Oregon Ducks vs. #10 BYU Cougars – A duck verses a an older woman who sexually preys on younger men and in this case the cougar is from BYU so that means she’s Mormon. That’s just weird. Winner: Oregon
#2 Wisconsin Badgers vs. #15 American University Eagles – There are many different types of badger including the Stink Badger and the Honey Badger. As we all know by now thanks to 66 million You Tube hits, you don’t f**k with a badger. Winner: Wisconsin
#1 Wichita State Shockers vs. #16 Poly Mustangs or Texas Southern Tigers – Another dumb play-in game. First off, get your minds out of the gutter. Wichita State claims that a shocker is more like a cornhusker then it is a hand gesture with sexual connotations. Besides, technically I guess I should determine who would win between a mustang and a tiger before I even throw the shocker in there. HA! See what I did there? Anyway that takes too much time and the Midwest Region is awful to write about as you’re soon to find out. Winner: Wichita State
#8 Kentucky Wildcats vs. #9 Kansas State Wildcats – WTF?! I mean what the ever loving… there are 5 teams in the tournament with Wildcats as their mascot (Villanova, Kentucky, Arizona, Weber State, Kansas State) and 4 of them are paired up against each other in the round of 64. Apparently this was done to whittle down the 5 wildcats to at most 3 wildcats before the end of the first weekend. I am done with this Wildcat crap. Winner: Wildcats
#5 Saint Louis Billikens vs. #12 N.C. State Wolfpack or Xavier Musketeers – Ugh, the Midwest region blows so hard because there are three of these damn “play-in” games. I firmly believe that placing three play-in games in addition to Wildcats verses Wildcats matchup was the NCAA’s deliberate attempt to screw with us. So we’ll have either a pack of wolves or a candy bar against a billiken. What’s a billiken? Well, a billiken is a type of completely bald troll doll that was created in 1909 after an art teacher in Kansas had a dream. I am not making that up. They were extremely popular for about 50 years until America collectively woke up and decided they were horrifying. Because they are. Google an image of one. See? Told you. Anything that dumb wins a bar fight in my book. Winner: Saint Louis
#4 Louisville Cardinals vs. #13 Manhattan Jaspers – Louisville makes it easy for us by placing a bird in its logo so we know right off the bat that they’re mascot is the bird kind of cardinal as opposed to the Catholic kind or Stanford kind. A“jasper” though isn’t a thing. It’s a lot of people’s last name. In the Frank Herbert novel The Santaroga Barrier, a jasper is a food additive that brainwashes people. I’m sorry if I spoiled the book but you were never going to read so shut up. Even though a cardinal is not going to do much in a bar fight, I give it the edge over a last name or a food additive conjured up by the guy who wrote Dune. Winner: Louisville
#6 Umass Minutemen vs. #11 Iowa Hawkeyes or Tennessee Volunteers – The final damn play-in game will pit either the Hawkeyes or Volunteers against the Minutemen. Despite their poor frustrated wives, minutemen are American Colonial militia who were supposed to be able to be ready at “a minute’s notice” so they could fire one shot at the British and then run like hell for the hills. (Hey, it worked. We won). Hawkeyes are again not a real thing but is instead a reference to the keen eyesight of the hawk. Volunteers are people who like to go up on stage at magic shows. None of them are good in a fight, except the minutemen. They did win a war. Winner: UMass
#3 Duke Blue Devils vs. #14 Mercer Bears – Blue Devils are Satan’s minions who have been stuck inside a deep freeze for too long. Bears are pretty tough but much like basketball you can’t beat a demon spawn of hell in a bar fight, especially one with hard nipples and frost bite. Winner: Duke
#7 Texas Longhorns vs. #10 Arizona State Sun Devils – I told you the Midwest region sucked. Not only are there are two teams named Wildcats, there are two teams named after devils. This time instead of being too cold, we get devils with sunburn. What chance does a damn cow have against a sunburned devil? None. Winner: Arizona State
#2 Michigan Wolverines vs. #15 Wofford Terriers – Wolverines are ferocious members of the badger family who singled handedly stopped the Soviet invasion of America back in the 1980’s. Terriers are cute little doggies who go “woof, woof” and like belly rubs. Don’t watch this one. It’ll be ugly. Winner: Michigan
And so there you have my picks for the first games of the NCAA tournament based solely on the mascots beating on each other in a bar fight. I have to go throw pixie sticks down my 6 year old and get my second round picks done. Good luck with your picks. We all know Linda in HR is going to win the office pool. Her method of picking teams is even crazier than mine! Don’t ask.