I started this idiocy many years ago, finally wrote about in 2015 – filling out a bracket completely based upon who would win if the two mascots found themselves in a dark alley. Remember the year UAB made it to the Sweet 16? I pretty much was the only person who called that. (Mascot: Fire Breathing Dragon)
This is not to say the method has is without flaws…
Teams With Multiple Mascots
This year we have the UC-Davis Aggies, which is a dog but their actual mascot is a mustang. In SEC football, this happens quite a bit – Alabama Crimson Tide with an elephant. Auburn Tigers with an eagle. Tennessee Volunteers with a hound. Ole Miss – well, they have a lot of issues at Ole Miss. Point is – when in doubt, we go with the mascot. Not an exact science.
Natural Element and Color Mascots
Hurricanes, Cyclones, Tornados, Storm, Lightning, Brown, Orange, Crimson – all of these present a dilemma of sorts. The Element mascots tend to do very well agains small rodents but that is pretty much it.
Teams With Cool Mascots vs. Teams With Menacing Mascots
We have multiple cases like this in this year’s tourney starting with the play-in game (which is no longer called the play-in game) Wake Forest Demon Deacons vs. Kansas State Wildcats. In a street fight, there is little question that a wildcat would destroy a Baptist deacon, no matter how hardened he may be. But a Demon Deacon is a very cool mascot just not very intimidating. See also Shockers, Gaels, and Terrapins.
[UPDATED: I first thought that a Gael was a strong, near-hurricane strength wind. It is in fact a person that speaks Gaelic. So this bumps this mascot down to the “Fighting Irish/Mountaineer” level of mascot.]
Let’s get to the brackets…
It’s a bizarre region – we’ve got two chicken mascots (Gamecocks and Hokies), two Trojans (Troy and USC) and two Pirate-y schools (Virginia and ETSU), two “birds of prey” schools – Seahawks and Golden Eagles. In the end, it’s the Gators vs. Badgers on one side of the region and the very depressed devils vs. Bears on the other.
The Gators have the Badgers for a light snack but run into trouble with the Bears after they narrowly escape the Sad Devils. It’s the Bears that come out of this region.
It’s not the most intimidating region – with Jackrabbits, Bulldogs, Turtles, and a small, bearded man dressed in green tights. There are 6 human mascots in this region – the largest concentration in the tourney. This is the hardest bracket to predict with some massive upsets in the first round. The Seminoles find themselves facing their sacred Eagles and ultimately sacrifice themselves to the Eagles. In the end, it’s the Musketeers and Gaels fighting to the death with the Gaels limping out of the arena. The Bison run rough shod over cats both small (Wildcats) and big (Tigers). Ultimately, the Bison run out of the West to face the Bears.
This region has gone to the birds. We’ve got Jayhawks (not a real bird), Cardinals, Bluejays, Ducks, Albatross, and yet another Male, Angry Chicken. With all the feathers, it’s easy pickings to the Elite Eight for the Spartans, Wolfpack, Gaels (the other Gaels), and the Cowboys. In one of the bloodiest contests in history, The Spartans escape the region.
By far the hardest region to handicap for the mascots. We’ve got Tigers, Bears, Wildcats, and yes – even more pirates. However, there are also two kinds of BBQ – pork and goat. I’ve got the Norse of Northern Kentucky, the friendly Bear or UCLA, Tigers, and the depressed Raiders with ultimately the Tigers beating the friendly Bear.
Russell Crowe shows up for the Final Four and gives his “Are you not entertained” speech. The mean Bears of Baylor easily handle the Bison Burgers of Bucknell. After a glorious run, the Spartans fall to the Tigers of the Southern Texas.
In a battle of mascots that can’t naturally be found in Texas, it’s the mean Bears of Baylor that trounce the Tiggers of Southern Texas.