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MASCOT FIGHT: Picking the NCAA Tournament

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Hurricanes vs. Cyclones? Mountaineers vs. Bison? Whoever’s mascot wins the death matches advances.

Photoshop via Jack Barsch

Ah, yes, the time has come: spring is in the air and March Madness is here. The Colorado Buffaloes didn’t make the NCAA Tournament, but we can still enjoy with it and post fun bracket-related #content.

This bracket, MASCOT FIGHTS, is exactly how it sounds. Whichever team’s mascot would win in a fight advances. If there’s a great team with a lame mascot, like the Oregon Ducks, that’s just too bad — we’re here to fight.

FIRST FOUR

16. Mount St. Mary’s Mountaineers vs. 16. New Orleans Privateers

As Colorado’s proud history has shown, Mountaineers are trained to survive. But Privateers are war-mongering midshipmen, and their being from New Orleans means they’re likely related to the cunning and ruthless Jean Lafitte, who remains undefeated in battle.

16. UC Davis Aggies vs. 16. North Carolina Central Eagles

This matchup is tough because it’s difficult to imagine why an Aggie, a farmer, would fight an eagle. If they were to fight, an Aggie would probably have a shotgun, but since it’s a federal crime to kill an eagle, we have NC Central advancing after the feds transitively defeat UC Davis.

11. Kansas State Wildcats vs. 11. Wake Forest Demon Deacons

Wildcats — mountain-inhabiting feral cats — are not to be trifled with. Demon Deacons are demon-fighting Baptist clergy who were named as such after defeating the Duke Blue Devils. If they can win that battle, they can easily defeat wildcats.

11. USC Trojans vs. 11. Providence Friars

Trojans were unable to defeat Achilles and the mighty Achaeans, but they are still one of the most revered military forces in history. Friars, meanwhile, are Christian monks who have no chance against such deadly archers and such swift horsemen. This is also the rare instance of Cavalry vs. Calvary, which should be celebrated.

FIRST ROUND

East Region

1. Villanova Wildcats vs. 16. New Orleans Privateers

This is a tough draw for the tournament’s overall top seed. Wildcats can be vicious, but they stand no chance against these nasty Privateers.

8. Wisconsin Badgers vs. 9. Virginia Tech Hokies

Badgers are one of the most fearsome animals in North America. Hokies are, uh, what are Hokies?

The official definition of "hokie" is "a loyal Virginia Tech Fan". The HokieBird. The bird is a "HokieBird" which has evolved from a turkey. Virginia Tech teams were once called the "gobblers"!

Thanks, hokiesports.com, but that’s a terrible mascot. Badgers would win in a fight anyway, but even the Terrapins would advance out of principle.

5. Virginia Cavaliers vs. 12. UNC Wilmington Seahawks

Cavaliers are skilled swordsman of the 17th century English military and were described as “swaggering gallants”. Seahawks don’t actually exist, but if we liken them to seagulls, Virginia gets the easy win.

4. Florida Gators vs. 13. East Tennessee State Buccaneers

It’s always difficult to pick against ginormous reptiles, especially so when they’re referred to as “Gators” instead of alligators, but Buccaneers are pirates with swords, muskets and cannonballs. Gators may have survived the mass extinction of the dinosaurs, but they don’t survive their first matchup.

6. SMU Mustangs vs. 11. USC Trojans

As cool as mustangs are, they don’t stand a chance against Trojans equipped with spears and shields.

3. Baylor Bears vs. 14. New Mexico State Aggies

Another group of aggies, another defeat*. Yes, black bears are the smallest subspecies of North American bear, but these farmers have nothing to protect them from getting mauled to death.

*This has nothing to do with one of Colorado’s rivals being formerly nicknamed the Aggies.

7. South Carolina Gamecocks vs. 10. Marquette Golden Eagles

The idea of a gamecock is actually disgusting: they’re roosters equipped with metal talons and are forced to fight each other in cock fighting. Golden eagles aren’t forced to kill each other and face a disadvantage here, but since chickens can’t fly, Marquette has the edge.

2. Duke Blue Devils vs. 15. Troy Trojans

Here, we see another regiment of Trojans. Viscous fighters*, yes, but they have an impossible draw against demonic minions sent straight from Hell to kill everything in their path the Final Four.

*This typo was noticed but left in. These Trojans are thicc.

West Region

1. Gonzaga Bulldogs vs. 16. South Dakota Jackrabbits

Just a warning, tournaments of this nature kill a lot of dogs, and it’s heart-breaking every time. Luckily though, these bulldogs easily take out these cute bunnies.

8. Northwestern Wildcats vs. 9. Vanderbilt Commodores

Another wildcats squad, another loss. This time, Northwestern loses in their first ever NCAA Tournament appearance to high-ranking Naval officers who are highly trained in tactics and combat. Also, don’t let Cornelius Vanderbilt’s age fool you, he has might dad strength.

5. Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. 12. Princeton Tigers

It doesn’t matter how belligerent this assailing Irishman is, if he’s wielding fisticuffs, there’s no way he’s going to survive against a tiger. For Princeton, this one’s academic.

4. West Virginia Mountaineers vs. 13. Bucknell Bison

We may be a little biased here. Mountaineers, as mentioned early, are adept at surviving and often need to kill wild animals in life-and-death ordeals. However, bison don’t exactly live in the mountains, and certainly not in West Virginia’s Appalachians, so these mountaineers would see bison (plural) charging upwards of 40 miles per hour and have no idea what to do. Bucknell tramples West Virginia, charges on.

6. Maryland Terrapins vs. 11. Xavier Musketeers

Terrapins are tiny turtles that apparently taste very good in soup. Turtles are my favorite animals, but they are by no means fearsome. Considering how easy they must be to catch if you can fill an entire pot of soup with them, virtually any opponent would beat them. The Musketeers just so happen to have muskets.

3. Florida State Seminoles* vs. 14. Florida Gulf Coast Eagles

The Seminole tribe had some of the fiercest warriors in history and could easily down an eagle by throwing a spear or shooting an arrow at it. As you may recall, the NC Central Eagles advanced because killing an eagle is a federal crime, but we avoid that pickle here because Seminole warriors — specifically Florida Seminoles — were undefeated in history against U.S. forces after they moved deep into the Everglades.

*Florida State’s usage of a Seminole warrior as their mascot is morally precarious, but the university has permission from the Seminole Tribe of Florida.

7. Saint Mary’s Gaels vs. 10. VCU Rams

A Gael, it should be defined, is a Gaelic-speaking person originating from Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man. I have no idea why SMC chose that as their mascot and I have absolutely no idea what it would do against a ram. Also important: I have no idea why a ram would fight a Gael or what it would do in said fight. So as a tiebreaker, the winner is the least stupid mascot, so congrats to St. Mary’s.

2. Arizona Wildcats vs. 15. North Dakota Fighting Hawks

The wildcat is evidently the most generic mascot in college sports and every team that uses the mascot is lame and uncreative. Anyway, wildcats are probably adept at fighting and even hunting birds of predator and could fare well against a hawks. But this is a Fighting Hawk, not a regular hawk, so North Dakota advances and Sean Miller takes this opportunity to finally leave for that Pittsburgh job.

Midwest Region

1. Kansas Jayhawks vs. 16. North Carolina Central Eagles

You may think this is an easy victory for the Eagles, but in the words of Lee Corso, “Not so fast, my friend!” A Jayhawk isn’t actually a bird — it’s Kansas-native who during the Civil War, did some horrendous acts that shan’t be explained. Equipped with guns and swords, a Jayhawk would easily take care of an eagle. Again, NC Central advanced in the First Four because it’s against federal law to kill an eagle, but, uh, it’s not like Kansas was following federal laws in the Civil War.

8. Miami Hurricanes vs. 9. Michigan State Spartans

Considering history, this matchup is quite ironic. During Xerxes I’s campaign westward, allied Greek forces held off the Persian navy in the Battle of Artemisium because Persian forces were wiped out by hurricane-type storms. Now, it’s difficult to see what a Spartan could do against a hurricane, but since Spartans were actually horrible people (even considering the era) and weren’t as badass as most people think, I’m going with Miami in this one.

5. Iowa State Cyclones vs. 12. Nevada Wolfpack

I shouldn’t laugh, but I can’t help myself when I visualize a pack of wolves trying to fight a raging tornado. Despite how dangerous wolves are, this matchup is the biggest blowout since Xavier made terrapin soup.

4. Purdue Boilermakers vs. 13. Vermont Catamounts

A boilermaker* is apparently a craftsman highly skilled in working steel. A catamount, meanwhile, is a variation of a mountain lion. It doesn’t matter if that boilermaker wields a big ass sledgehammer, he’s getting mauled by a cougar.

*Purdue gets docked points because I keep accidentally typing “Bouldermaker” and that really bothers me for some reason.

6. Creighton Blue Jays vs. 11. Rhode Island Rams

I don’t think a blue jay is capable of killing anything, to be quite honest. All it does it sing pretty songs, fly around a bit, and eat nuts. But Creighton still advances for obvious reasons.

3. Oregon Ducks vs. 14. Iona Gaels

Why are there multiple teams that are nicknamed the Gaels? I don’t think a Gael would fight a duck, so we have to let the least stupid mascot advance again. See ya later, Oregon, and I hope Dillon Brooks scored 6 points on 23 shots.

7. Michigan Wolverines vs. 10. Oklahoma State Cowboys*

Yes, Cowboys are equipped with guns and kill dangerous people and dangerous animals all the time, but I just saw Logan so there’s no way the Wolverines lose. I don’t want to spoil anything, but “Wolverines” being plural doesn’t change anything here.

*I originally typed “Cowbots” on accident. Not only is visualizing a cowbot funny in itself, but it would’ve stood a chance against the Wolverines.

2. Louisville Cardinals vs. 15. Jacksonville State Gamecocks

We sadly had to define what a gamecock is earlier, and though cardinals have some fight in them, they stand no chance against humanity’s cruelty towards animals.

South Region

1. North Carolina Tar Heels vs. 16. Texas Southern Bobcats

A Tar Heel is apparently someone from North Carolina, like how a Hoosier is from Indiana, or how a Mormon is from Utah. While a bobcat would probably be able to take an average North Carolina native, these Tar Heels have Civil War connotations and are probably equipped with guns, swords, cannons and fervent racism.

8. Arkansas Razorbacks vs. 9. Seton Hall Pirates

As cruel and as well-equipped for killing as pirates are, have you ever seen a razorback? They’re giant, viscious and may be harnessing the soul of the Pig Demon, Zhu Bajie, a.k.a. KL Hog*. I don’t know if a razorback could be defeated by a nuclear missile, so they pull off the upset.

*I know you haven’t seen Journey to the West, but I just wanted to reference my favorite Stephen Chow movie. And if you watched the clip I embedded, yes, it’s really dumb but I love it so much, especially that scene. I’m also sorry I couldn’t find the Cantonese version.

5. Minnesota Golden Gophers vs. 12. Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders

Gophers have two semi-sharp teeth. Raiders have guns. And swords. And cannons.

4. Butler Bulldogs vs. 13. Winthrop Eagles

I warned you about dogs dying. I’ll spare the details of Winthrop advancing.

6. Cincinnati Bearcats vs. 11. Wake Forest Demon Deacons

A bearcat — a South Asian raccoon-like mammal described as a “bear-weasel” — probably has more fight than a wildcat, but the Demon Deacons are still proficient in fighting demons, so they can handle the binturong.

3. UCLA Bruins vs. 14. Kent State Golden Flashes

A Golden Flash doesn’t really anything in itself, so it’s important to note that Kent State’s costumed mascot is an eagle. Of course, against bruins — which are incredibly dangerous brown bears — Kent State was only going to advance if a Golden Flash was something rad like lightning.

7. Dayton Flyers vs. 10. Wichita State Shockers

Shockers aren’t nearly as cool as you thought, nor are Flyers. Shockers aren’t electrically-charged creatures buzzing about — they’re simple wheat farmers. Flyers aren’t fighter pilots — they’re literally Orville and Wilbur Wright. There’s absolutely no reason these two mascots would fight, so we’re picking the least stupid mascot ... and these are possibly the two dumbest mascots in college basketball ... heads for Shockers, tails for Flyers ... and congrats, Wichita State?

2. Kentucky Wildcats vs. 15. Northern Kentucky Norse

No matter what type of cat Kentucky had — Tiger! Lion! Liger! — there was no chance for them to advance once they were matched up with the Norse.

It should be stated that the Norse aren’t Vikings — Vikings were pirates usually rejected by Norse society — but they’re nasty nonetheless. Mighty Norse warriors were sometimes nicknamed “Wolves of Odin”, so this is an easy win. Also important: Wildcats are now a collective 0-5 in the tournament, which is just about right.

SECOND ROUND

East Region

9. Wisconsin Badgers vs. 16. New Orleans Privateers

Badgers are still one of the fiercest animals in North America, but there’s no way they could survive the privateers’ bombarding.

5. Virginia Cavaliers vs. 13. East Tennessee State Buccaneers

The difference between Cavaliers and Buccaneers is that the former was often an insult to demean wealthy supporters of King Charles I in the English Civil War (hence the adjective) and Buccaneers plundered the Spanish-American coast. Both fought in the 17th and 18th centuries, but only one of whom swashbuckled — so East Tennessee State advances.

3. Baylor Bears vs. 11. USC Trojans

Bears are fierce, yes, but this is a tough matchup for them since Trojans are equipped with swords, spears, shields, arrows and various other tools of death.

2. Duke Blue Devils vs. 10. Marquette Golden Eagles

Blue Devils are essentially immortal, eagles, no matter how golden, can’t possibly take out Satan’s spawn.

West Region

1. Gonzaga Bulldogs vs. 9. Vanderbilt Commodores

The Bulldogs got very, very lucky with their first round matchup. They can defeat jackrabbits in battle, but not high-ranking naval officers equipped to their teeth.

12. Princeton Tigers vs. 13. Bucknell Bison

I asked my brother about this matchup and he immediately asked, “How many bison?” If it’s a thundering herd of bison charging at a tiger — and tigers tend to hunt alone — this is a relatively win for Bucknell.

3. Florida State Seminoles vs. 11. Xavier Musketeers

Musketeers may be well equipped, but it doesn’t look good against Seminole warriors. If 19th century U.S. troops couldn’t defeat the Florida Seminoles, musketeers sure aren’t.

7. St. Mary’s Gaels vs. 15. North Dakota Fighting Hawks

It’s hard to see why Gaels would have to fight a Fighting Hawk, but it’s not hard to imagine a hawk screeching and attacking some random Gaelic person. North Dakota moves on.

Midwest Region

1. Kansas Jayhawks vs. 8. Miami Hurricanes

I don’t want to repeat what a Jayhawk is — it’s seriously messed up — but no single man stands a chance against a hurricane.

5. Iowa State Cyclones vs. 13. Vermont Catamounts

Poor catamounts — they have to go up against a lethal cyclone capable of ripping up anything in their path.

6. Creighton Blue Jays vs. 14. Iona Gaels

Both Gaels teams advanced in the first round because they advanced on having a mascot less dumb than the Rams or Ducks. Since blue jays would probably never attack a person, we have to enact tiebreaker rules again, but blue jays are actually a sweet mascot to have.

7. Michigan Wolverines vs. 15. Jacksonville State Gamecocks

Gamecocks are equipped with metal talons. Wolverines are equipped with an Adamantium skeleton and that includes retractable claws.

South Region

1. North Carolina Tar Heels vs. 8. Arkansas Razorbacks

If a razorback could survive pirate attacks, they can survive a belligerent North Carolinan. After that defense, the razorback would charge with tusks out and aimed at the jugular.

12. Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders vs. 13. Winthrop Eagles

Blue raiders not only even have swords, guns and cannons, but they also don’t care about federal laws that protect eagles.

3. UCLA Bruins vs. 11. Wake Forest Demon Deacons

Bruins being vicious brown bears matter not when these deacons are essentially demon hunters like Tang Sanzang*. Wake advances.

*That’s now two references to Journey to the West, my new high score.

10. Wichita State Shockers vs. Northern Kentucky Norse

Considering Norse warriors pillaged and razed farm-towns up and down Scandinavia and Northern Europe, they can rack up their body count against these Kansas wheat farmers.

SWEET SIXTEEN

East Region

13. East Tennessee State Buccaneers vs. 16. New Orleans Privateers

Buccaneers and privateers are very similar and even fought in the same waters. But since privateers were later in history, they have better weaponry, and thus, victory.

2. Duke Blue Devils vs. 11. USC Trojans

Blue Devils are immortal demonic creatures and Trojans couldn’t even defeat a demigod’s allied forces. USC fights gallantly, but you cannot kill what cannot die.

West Region

9. Vanderbilt Commodores vs. 13 Bucknell Bison

This matchup is tricky because (1) it would never happen, (2) what would a naval officer do against bison? and (3) what would bison do against a naval officer?Commodores aren’t very intimidating without their warships, and while bison are strong swimmers, they can’t really do much damage in the water. We must enact tiebreaker laws and I assume you know which mascot is less stupid.

3. Florida State Seminoles vs. 15. North Dakota Fighting Hawks

There’s a reason why the Florida State mascot, Osceola, has hawk feathers on his spear. He didn’t borrow them.

Midwest Region

5. Iowa State Cyclones vs. 8. Miami Hurricanes

This is like if a bull shark had to fight a great white shark. They’re essentially the same thing, but one dwarfs the other and causes significantly more mass destruction. Miami moves on.

6. Creighton Blue Jays vs. 7. Michigan Wolverines

The Blue Jays have gotten this far not because of their fighting ability, but because of the lameness of their opposition, the Ducks and Gaels. Against Wolverines, this is arguably the worst blowout of the entire tournament.

South Region

8. Arkansas Razorbacks vs. 12. Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders

Razorbacks already dispatched the Seton Hall Pirates, and since raiders are simple a variation of a pirate, this matchup is redundant and yields the same result.

3. UCLA Bruins vs. 15. Northern Kentucky Norse

Brown bears are quite common in Scandinavia and Norsemen actually had to fight them on occasion to ensure survival. While the Norse are equipped with battle axes and spears, it’s hard to see them winning, especially if “Bruins” is plural.

ELITE EIGHT

East Region

2. Duke Blue Devils vs. 16. New Orleans Privateers

New Orleans’ privateers were some of the most maritime fighters in history and Jean Lafitte’s men were invaluable in the War of 1812. But Lafitte was (presumably) killed in a battle and Blue Devils are immortal, so this is a Duke victory.

West Region

3. Florida State Seminoles vs. 13. Bucknell Bison

Our stand-in for the Colorado Buffaloes has finally met it’s match. Seminoles never hunted, much less saw bison, but Native American tribes similarly equipped with spears and stallions were highly successful against bison. It’s difficult to admit, but I don’t see the bison winning this fight.

East Region

7. Michigan Wolverines vs. 8. Miami Hurricanes

Hurricanes already wiped out two groups of horrible people in the Spartans and Jayhawks. Unlike those overmatched opponents, this tropical storm has to take out not just Wolverine, but multiple Wolverines. This would be a fun matchup, but the Wolverines would slash through the eye of the storm.

South Region

3. UCLA Bruins vs. 8. Arkansas Razorbacks

This is why we do MASCOT FIGHTS. In one corner, you have a giant, vicious, possibly demonic pig creature. In the other corner, you have a whole pack of roaring brown bears ready to tear through anything. This is a toss up, but I’m going with the mascot with 4-inch long claws.

FINAL FOUR

2. Duke Blue Devils vs. 3. Florida State Seminoles

While Seminole warriors are practically unkillable, Blue Devils are literally unkillable.

3. UCLA Bruins vs. 7. Michigan Wolverines

If this was a brown bear fighting an actual wolverine, UCLA would move on. But since I’ve unofficially considered Michigan’s mascot to be Wolverines as seen in the X-Men franchise, this isn’t particularly close. A bear could do some damage against Logan, but this would never over rather quickly.

NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP

2. Duke Blue Devils vs. Michigan Wolverines

As mentioned many times over, Blue Devils are immortal, so it would take a demon killer or another immortal being to stop them. I don’t want to spoil anything about Logan, but even with Adamantium skeletons and the healing trait, these Wolverines aren’t immortal.

It’s painful to say, but the Duke Blue Devils are your MASCOT FIGHT National Champions.