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 Friday first round selections below. Check out our Thursday mascot game picks here.
6: Notre Dame (21-11)
11: Michigan (23-12)
Winner: Notre Dame: Hugh Jackman is pretty darn formidable, but I don’t see him suiting up against the Fighting Irish. Stubborn Irishmen will never back down, even when facing a Wolverine. You may be able to injure a Fighting Irishmen, but you don’t defeat him. And there is the fact there is no true Wolverines mascot.
3: West Virginia (26-8)
14: S.F. Austin (27-5)
Winner: West Virginia: Lumberjacks may be the hero of most Danielle Steele novels, but they are no match for a West Virginian with a musket. And, no, S.F. Austin wasn't named for Stone Cold Steve Austin ... or was it?
7: Wisconsin (20-12)
10: Pittsburgh (21-11)
Winner: Wisconsin: Badgers are dangerous! Some of the most territorial animals ever. Defensively resourceful, badgers will be able to hold off any panther attack.
2: Xavier (27-5)
15: Weber State (26-8)
Winner: Xavier: Rule No. 2 and No. 3 ... Musketeer has a gun, along with the backup of a Blue Blob! The Wildcat doesn’t stand a chance. It's a Blue Blob for heaven's sake!
5: Maryland (25-8)
12: South Dakota State (26-7)
Winner: Maryland: Isn’t this the classic story? The tortious versus the hare? Slow and steady always wins the race, er, game. The poor South Dakota State Jackrabbits won't even know what hit them.
4: California (23-10)
13: Hawaii (27-5)
Winner: California: Rainbow Warriors? Rainbows come about after a storm when the sun shines, so I gather the Golden Bears will just use these Rainbow Warriors to warm up after a nice hibernation. They will also find the treasure of a second round tournament appearance at the end.
7: Iowa (21-10)
10: Temple (21-11)
Winner: Iowa: Temples’ Owl Stella may be a great look-out, as all owls are, but she will just have to watch as Herky the Hawk attacks the net and sends those in red from Brooklyn back home to Philly. Of course, getting home in the dark is the Owls' specialty, so at least there's that for Temple.
2: Villanova (29-5)
15: UNC Ashville (22-11)
Winner: UNC Ashville: Rule No. 1: Dogs beat cats. Bulldog Rocky’s record of 22-11 doesn’t portray how strong of a fighter he is. He is more of an aggressive player on the whole than that of Will D. Cat. Upset City is here!
7: Dayton (25-7)
10: Syracuse (19-13)
Winner: Dayton: Rudy loves fresh squeezed orange juice ... he will skydive his way into squishing Otto like the breakfast beverage he is.
2: Michigan State (29-5)
15: Middle Tennessee (24-9)
Winner: Michigan State: A Blue winged horse? Spartan warriors can and have defeated everything from mythical figures to Trojans. A Blue winged horse will be an easy task for Sparty and Michigan State.
1: Oregon (28-6)
16: Holy Cross (15-19)
Winner: Oregon: The Crusaders can, at times, appear to be very dangerous. But the Crusaders are long gone, and Ducks are vicious warriors, and proven as such coming into this tournament, even though the No. 1 seed surprised many. All the more reason to Quack ... Quack ... Quack ... whoops, wrong sport (movie).
8: Saint Joseph's (27-7)
9: Cincinnati (22-10)
Winner: St Joseph's: Two legs and two wings will always beat a four-legged creature - even a hybrid like a BearCat.
6: Texas (20-12)
11: Northern Iowa (22-12)
Winner: Texas: Animal control predicts this battle. Panthers have the better offensive skill, but it's no match for the Longhorns' ability to defend the net.
3: Texas A&M (26-8)
14: Green Bay (23-12)
Winner: Texas A&M: Are Pheonix’s real or something out of Harry Potter? Either way, Reville will be able to herd and control any bird ... it's what he’s born to do.
7: Oregon State (19-12)
10: VCU (24-10)
Winner: Oregon State: The Rams' size and strength will be no match for the Beavers' den defense. Seriously, have you ever seen one of those beaver dams? Impressive.
2: Oklahoma (25-7)
15: CSU Bakersfield (24-8)
Winner: Oklahoma: The RoadRunner will be too preoccupied with defense, running away from the Coyote and his anvils, to concentrate on attacking the net. That leaves the Boomer Sooners to take advantage and advance to Round 2.