Thursday, March 17, 2016

A March Madness Bracket, From Someone Who Couldn't Care Less About Basketball

I do not follow any sports of any type, but I frequently find myself around people who ask who I support. My method of choosing sports teams for several years has been thus:

1. Find out the teams' mascots.
2. Imagine a scenario in which one team mascot namesake fought the other. Who would win?
3. Root for the underdog.

For example, this year's Super Bowl featured the Broncos and the Panthers. That seems like a pretty even match, but I think a bronco could defeat a panther, since they're larger and seem like they could wreak more havoc. So I was rooting for the Panthers.

This seems at least as sensible to me as any other reason to root for a team.

So let's look at this year's March Madness line-up and figure out who I think should win each one. The teams in bold are the ones I'm rooting for.

Top 64:

Austin Peay Governors vs Kansas Jayhawks: Well, it turns out a Jayhawk is not a bird as I might have assumed. It is, in fact, a native-born Kansan. There are more of those than there are governors, so if they were rioting against each other, the Kansans would win.

Connecticut Huskies vs. Colorado Buffaloes. Oh, goodness, have you seen a buffalo? They're huge. They'd easily destroy a husky.

Maryland Terrapins vs. South Dakota Jackrabbits. This is an adorable round with tiny turtles and shy rabbits fighting each other. Spring is when jackrabbits are most dominant, though, thanks to mating season, so they could probably take down the turtles.

Hawaii Rainbow Warriors vs. California Golden Bears. So... a quick Wikipedia search tells me that the rainbow warrior is based on Christian propaganda masquerading as a Native American legend about people coming together to save the earth environmentally. Yeah, they wouldn't have a chance against bears.

Wichita State Shockers vs. Arizona Wildcats. Shockers, I have just learned, are not people armed with tasers, but rather wheat harvesters. That is significantly less tough than their name sounds, so I'll be rooting for them. Harvest that wheat, Wichita!

Miami Hurricanes vs. Buffalo Bulls. Well, in The Wizard of Oz, a tornado carries a cow away with it. I would assume a hurricane could also carry away a bull.

Temple Owls vs. Iowa Hawkeyes. Wikipedia says the origin of "Hawkeyes" as a team name is probably rooted in James Fenimore Cooper's The Last of the Mohican. That dude could easily take care of an owl.

UNC Asheville Bulldogs vs. Villanova Wildcats. While both can be vicious, only one has "wild" in their name and is therefore implied to be more vicious.

Holy Cross Crusaders vs. Oregon Ducks. This one made me laugh out loud. Sorry, Ducks, you're definitely getting converted, but I'm going to be rooting for you anyway.

Cincinnati Bearcats vs. Saint Joseph's Hawks. Some research shows me that bearcats eat birds. Maybe not hawks, but they definitely eat birds, so I'll be hoping St. Joseph protects them from becoming prey.

Yale Bulldogs vs. Baylor Bears. Earlier I decided bulldogs couldn't even win against wildcats, there's no way they'd win against bears.

UNC Wilmington Seahawks vs. Duke Blue Devils. The Blue Devils refers to a French World War I infantry battalion, who are probably very capable of killing some seahawks.

Texas Longhorns vs Northern Iowa Panthers. This is similar to the Super Bowl situation this year, and I'm pretty sure the panthers would lose here as well. Longhorns are, as one might assume from their name, very large with large horns.

Green Bay Phoenix vs. Texas A&M Aggies. While agriculture students are important and all, the phoenix is a mythological bird that can regenerate, so it's kind of got the edge here.

VCU Rams vs. Oregon State Beavers. I would not be surprised if it turns out that beavers are much more vicious than I give them credit for, but I'm having trouble imagining them winning if a ram had decided to take them out.

CSU Bakersfield Roadrunners vs. Oklahoma Sooners. I am learning a lot researching these school mascots. A "sooner" is someone who went in and claimed land in Oklahoma before President Grover Cleveland said it was OK and therefore lost their clam to the land. They seemed to be making unwise decisions in their eagerness to take what they wanted, and we all know how that ended for Wile E. Coyote.

FGCU Eagles vs. North Carolina Tar Heels. A tar heel, like a jayhawk, is simple another word for a state's residents (in this case, obviously, North Carolina residents). And I've seen The Birds. Eagles could totally take out a whole state.

USC Trojans vs. Providence Friars. Friars are not renowned for their excellence in fighting.

Indiana Hoosiers vs. Chattanooga Mocs. A hoosier is an Indiana resident, though nobody really knows why. "Moc" is apparently a shortened version of both moccasin and mockingbird, both of which seem like a whole bunch of hoosiers would be able to take care of.

Kentucky Wildcats vs. Stony Brook Seawolves. The first time a wildcat mascot loses! But the top answer for seawolf is a sea lion, and those things are huge and could probably just casually lie on top of a wildcat and smoosh it.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. Michigan Wolverines. "The wolverine," Wikipedia says, "has a reputation for ferocity and strength out of proportion to its size." But then again, that might be true of stereotypical fighting Irish as well. But I like the mascot "Fighting Irish" so much, let's keep them in the game by pretending that the Wolverines also includes Wolverine from X-Men, because then they'd probably win.

West Virginia Mountaineers vs. Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks. Well, this is a macho group. But I'm pretty sure the lumberjacks are better at using an axe, and that's not going to go well for the mountaineers unless they can scale up a nearby mountain.

Wisconsin Badgers vs. Pittsburgh Panthers. Badgers are pretty mean, but panthers are bigger and can probably subdue them.

Xavier Musketeers vs. Weber State Wildcats. More wildcats! I think they're going to lose the battle here, too, as musketeers can just stand far away and pick them off one by one.

Virginia Cavaliers vs. Hampton Pirates. Uh, well, I suspect upper-class Royalist supporters of King Charles I might not be prepared to fight off pirates, though I would 100% watch that movie.

Texas Tech Red Raiders vs. Butler Bulldogs. I am having great difficulty finding out what exactly a "red raider" is, but their mascots look like Zorro and Yosemite Sam, who could probably both beat up bulldogs if they were so inclined.

Purdue Boilermakers vs. UALR Trojans. A boilermaker is someone who makes things from steel. The problem here is that though they might be able to craft great weapons, I'm not sure they'd know how to use them, and saying, "Hold on, Trojans, let me build something out of iron to attack you," is not really going to work.

Iowa State Cyclones vs. Iona Gaels. Sorry, Gaelic people. I'm sure you're tough and all, but cyclones are brutal.

Seton Hall Pirates vs. Gonzaga Bulldogs. More bulldogs! They will lose to pirates, though.

Utah Runnin' Utes vs. Fresno State Bulldogs. Apparently every other basketball team names themselves the bulldogs. I guess the question here is how fast can bulldogs run. Can they run faster than a person from Utah? Turns out a healthy bulldog can run 15 miles an hour, which is on the high end for running sprinters. Sorry, Utes, I think the bulldogs are going to catch you.

Dayton Flyers vs. Syracuse Orange. The flyers are Orville and Wilbur Wright. I'm willing to be at some point they ate an orange, thus defeating this team.

Michigan State Spartans vs. Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders. While a red raider is apparently Yosemite Zorro, a blue raider is... a very friendly-looking horse, according to the mascot photos. The Spartans look WAY tougher here.

All right. That's my take on the top 64, and that's quite enough blogging for today. Tune in tomorrow when many of these teams will have already lost to find out who I've got lined up in the rest of my bracket.

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