Mascot Madness 2016
Every year I set out to fill out a bracket for the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament based upon a simple question: "In this match up, which mascot would win in a fight?" Here are my results this year and I'll periodically make some comments.
Vanderbilt Commodores over Wichita State Shockers*
*Here is my annual reminder that Wichita State's mascot is a shock of wheat and therefore is slightly more threatening than a blade of grass.
Farleigh-Dickinson Knights over Florida Gulf Coast Eagles
Tulsa Golden Hurricanes over Michigan Wolverines
Holy Cross Crusaders over Southern Jaguars
South Region 1st Round
Austin Peay Governors over Kansas Jayhawks
Colorado Buffaloes over UConn Huskies
Maryland Terrapins over South Dakota State Jackrabbits*
*It's literally the tortoise versus the hare! I cannot tell you how excited I was when I realized that. The terrapins win this one too because, even though it's a fight rather than a race, the defensive capabilities of a shell are too much for a rabbit to overcome.
Hawaii Warriors over Cal Golden Bears*
*Anyone who has followed Mascot Madness over the years, knows this is a massive upset as there is no creature in the Animal Kingdom for which I have more fearful respect than the bear.
Vanderbilt Commodores over Arizona Wildcats
Miami Hurricanes over Buffalo Bulls
Iowa Hawkeyes over Temple Owls*
*In the all-too-common cases where mascots have a name that is also a nickname for a citizen of that state (i.e. Hawkeyes, Hoosiers, Tar Heels, etc.), Mascot Madness Rules stipulate that it is assumed that the representative party is an average citizen of that state. Thus the Hawkeyes are represented by an average Iowan.
Villanova Wildcats over UNC Asheville Bulldogs
West Region 1st Round
Holy Cross Crusaders over Oregon Ducks
St. Joseph's Hawks over Cincinnati Bearcats
Baylor Bears over Yale Bulldogs
Duke Blue Devils over UNC Wilmington Seahawks
Northern Iowa Panthers over Texas Longhorns
Green Bay Phoenix over Texas A&M Aggies
VCU Rams over Oregon State Beavers
Oklahoma Sooners over Cal State Bakersfield Roadrunners
East Region 1st Round
Farleigh-Dickinson Knights over UNC Tar Heels
Southern Cal Trojans over Providence Friars
Indiana Hoosiers over Chattanooga Mocs
Stony Brook Seawolves over Kentucky Wildcats
Tulsa Golden Hurricanes over Notre Dame Fighting Irish
West Virgina Mountaineers over Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks*
*This is a close one. West Virginia gets the win because they likely have shotguns to the Lumberjacks' axes. Also, this is part of my multi-stage payback against Stephen F. Austin. They know what they did to six year-old Christopher.
Pitt Panthers over Wisconsin Badgers
Xavier Musketeers over Weber State Wildcats
Midwest Region 1st Round
Hampton Pirates over Virginia Cavaliers*
*Who's going to win in a fight? A pirate or a tights-wearing chap with a fencing sword and a feathered hat?
Texas Tech Red Raiders over Butler Bulldogs
Arkansas Little Rock Trojans over Purdue Boilermakers
Iowa State Cyclones over Iona Gaels
Seton Hall Pirates over Gonzaga Bulldogs
Utah Utes over Fresno State Bulldogs*
*Can we stop letting so many teams be nicknamed the Bulldogs? A modest proposal: we have a tournament with all the Bulldog teams. Winner gets to keep the name. Everyone else has to find something new.
Dayton Flyers over Syracuse Orange
Michigan State Spartans over Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders
South 2nd Round
Buffaloes over Governors*
*No politician not named Teddy Roosevelt stands a shot against a large wild animal.
Warriors over Terrapins
Hurricanes over Commodores
Wildcats over Hawkeyes*
*Tough call, but as an average citizen, I don't think I would fare well against a panther, puma, or any other wildcat. No offense to them, but I feel like Iowans would have the same problem.
West 2nd Round
Crusaders over Hawks
Bears over Blue Devils*
*Every year, I'm not sure what to do with the Blue Devils. It should be a fearsome and intimidating opponent. But look at Duke's mascot. Just google him. I'll wait...I can't take that thing seriously. A bear would absolutely destroy that guy.
Phoenix over Panthers
Sooners over Rams
East 2nd Round
Knights over Trojans*
*Another close call. In this case, slightly more modern weaponry and armor clinches the win.
Seawolves over Hoosiers*
*A citizen of a mostly landlocked state (save a little bit touching Lake Michigan) against a beast known as a seawolf? Mythical creature or not, I've got to go with the Seawolves.
Golden Hurricanes over Mountaineers
Musketeers over Panthers
Midwest 2nd Round
Pirates over Red Raiders
Cyclones over Trojans
Pirates of Utes
Spartans over Flyers
Warriors over Buffaloes (South)
Hurricanes over Wildcats (South)
Bears over Crusaders* (West)
*Here is where my great respect for bears comes into play combined with my complete disdain for the Crusades.
Phoenix over Sooners (West)
Knights over Seawolves* (East)
*Knights vs. Seawolves sounds like an expansion pack for Dungeons & Dragons, doesn't it? Or maybe Cones of Dunshire.
Golden Hurricanes over Musketeers (East)
Cyclones over Pirates (Midwest)
Spartans over Pirates* (Midwest)
*I give the Spartans a lot of respect because of the movie 300, which is a bit odd because I've never actually seen the movie.
Hurricanes over Warriors (South)
Phoenix over Bears (West)
Golden Hurricanes over Knights (East)
Cyclones over Spartans* (Midwest)
*One of the things that I have discovered over the years is that natural disasters are nigh impossible opponents to beat. Here are the champions from the past four years: Iowa State Cyclones (2015), Tulsa Golden Hurricanes (2014), Miami Hurricanes (2013), and Iowa State Cyclones (2012). All three of those recent champions are in this year's Final Four. Which one will win?
Green Bay Phoenix over Miami Hurricanes
Tulsa Golden Hurricanes over Iowa State Cyclones*
*Tulsa wins because of the arbitrary unwritten rules that "Golden" makes a mascot more powerful (Golden Bear beats Bear) and because the Cyclone being based in Iowa means that we are talking about a tornado. Thus the larger scale of the hurricane wins the day.
Green Bay Phoenix over Tulsa Golden Hurricanes*
*The reign of the natural disasters comes to an end! Ultimately the one thing that could take down a hurricane was an opponent whose whole existence is based on returning from defeat again and again and again. Rising from the ashes, the Phoenix pulls off a magical run to cut down the nets and claim the 2016 Mascot Madness crown. Congratulations to Green Bay. No matter what happens in the NCAA Tournament, you can hang this championship up in the rafters.