By Caitlin Flynn
It's that time of year again ... March Mascot Madness! After last year's success, you and every Vegas Bookie should follow my lead.
Let's review last year's success before we get into this year's NCAA Tournament bracket (skipping the first round because so many mascots should not have survived). We can begin with the Sweet 16, where our mascots were victorious in seven out of eight matchups. Three of four were winners in the Elite Eight and perfect to go from the Final Four to the final two!
Granted, the animal planet was wrong and unable to predict the champion, but leading up to the finals, picking teams by mascot was overwhelmingly successful.
For this year's Mascot bracket we follow many of the same rules as a year ago, including: 1) Dogs always beat cats; 2) Two legs good, four legs bad ... but two legs and two wings are even better; 3) The biggest and baddest weapon wins.
So, sit back and enjoy our Thursday first round selections below.
1: North Carolina (28-6)
16: Florida Gulf Coast (21-13)
Winner: North Carolina: Any school that has the balls to paint a rams’ horns blue has no fear. And, looking into the crystal ball, there is a great chance the Tar Heels will be our national champions when all is said and done with our Mascot Bracket.
8: USC (21-12)
9: Providence (23-10)
Winner: USC: The Providence Friars are too passive and unable to attack the net effectively on the court. The Trojans will be able to take charge and dominate as a good warrior does.
5: Indiana (25-7)
12: Chattanooga (29-5)
Winner: Indiana: The Hoosiers will ‘mock’ the Chattanooga’s MockingJay’s poor defense all the way to Round 2. Indiana, for the record, doesn't have a mascot, but we did find this adorable item for sale in the IU bookstore. Maybe I picked the wrong team here? Nah.
4: Kentucky (26-8)
13: Stony Brook (26-6)
Winner: Stony Brook: Dogs beat cats. One day soon the Animal Planet needs to explain what a seawolf is, but wolves are in the dog family, so naturally they will overtake any cat, wild or not. And, hey, it's Long Island's team.
1: Kansas (30-4)
16: Austin Peay (18-17)
Winner: Kansas: Two legs good, four legs bad, but two legs and two wings are even better! The Jayhawks roll to a big win over the Austin Peay Governors. Yes, the governers. We're getting more than enough politics on a daily basis, we don't need it in the NCA Tournament as well.
8: Colorado (22-11)
9: Connecticut (24-10)
Winner: Connecticut: The slow but proven defense of the Buffalo will be a formidable opponent for the Huskies, but Huskies are herders and will eventually take control over the heard of Buffalo and send them right back to the Rockies. At least there's skiing, right? Oh, yeah, they are Buffalos ... forget it.
6: Arizona (25-6)
11: Wichita State (25-8)
Winner: Arizona: Will there be a "shocking" upset in the first round of the tournament coming from Wichita State over the Wildcats? It's certainly possible considering Wichita State is the Shockers. But in the end, the Wildcats of Arizona should have more than enough to make a nest in the Shockers' weat and chill all the way to Round 2.
3: Miami (25-7)
14: Buffalo (20-14)
Winner: Miami: I have no idea what an Idis is, so we are predicting this battle on the basis of Miami being the Hurricanes, and hurricanes can dominate and destroy anything in its path, including a herd of Bulls from up north.
1: Virginia (26-7)
16: Hampton (21-10)
Winner: Virginia: Both swordsmen, but the Cavaliers have the advantage being on horseback. Hampton, you have one year to add a horse to your stable, and make the NCAA Tournament again. Not sure which one is more difficult.
8: Texas Tech (19-12)
9: Butler (21-10)
Winner: Texas Tech: Raiders of the night! Bulldogs have a great defense, but the physical endurance of the Red Raider will outlast the mental stubbornness of the Bulldog. The Red Raider Masked Rider will run circles around the Bulldogs.
5: Purdue (26-8)
12: Arkansas Little Rock (29-4)
Winner: Purdue: Trojans are tough warriors, but are no match for the Boilermaker offense. Purdue will build a railroad right through the Trojan bench.
4: Iowa State (21-11)
13: Iona (22-10)
Winner: Iowa State: It doesn’t matter how strong you are or how many Guinness’ you’ve had, you cannot win against a Cyclone. It's not that the wind is blowin’, it's what the wind is blowin’. You may be able to withstand the wind, but if you get hit with a Volvo, it doesn’t matter how many free-throws you get. Even a drunken Irishman can't withstand a Cyclone.
6: Seton Hall (25-8)
11: Gonzaga (26-7)
Winner: Seton Hall: Bulldogs may have won more than the Pirates, but the opponents were not as formidable. The drive of a Pirate, in concert with the expert swordsmanship, will be able to defeat the attack of the average Bulldog. And that's exactly what Gonzaga is this year ... average.
3: Utah (26-8)
14: Fresno State (25-9)
Winner: Utah: Swoop’s attack capabilities will easily dominate the defensive skill of Victor E. Bulldog. Swoop there it is! Sorry about that, only two decades behind the times.
5: Baylor (22-11)
12: Yale (22-6)
Winner: Baylor: Herding and controlling is natural to a Bulldog, even a handsome Connecticut man like Dan in his khakis and polo shirt. But Baylor’s Bears will be able to avert Dan's charm and dominate the court. Poor, trusting Dan.
4: Duke (23-10)
13: UNC Wilmington (25-7)
Winner: Duke: A devil is scary enough on its own ... but a blue one? UNC Wilmington should just bow out now. Wait, what? A Blue Devil is really "les Diables Bleus," a nickname of the Chasseurs Alpins, the elite mountain infantry of the French Army? Interesting. I'll still go with the Blue Devils, no matter what one may think of the French Army.
Enjoy the games and our mascot picks and I'll see you tomorrow with the rest of the first round of the NCAA Tournament.