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MASCOT FIGHT: Picking the NCAA Tournament

Wildcats vs. Wildcats? Tigers vs. Tigers? Mascots fight to the death for the National Championship

Photoshop via @JackBarsch

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 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 North Carolina Tar Heels, that’s just too bad — we’re here to fight.


16. LIU-Brookyln Blackbirds vs. 16. Radford Highlanders

Highlanders are more or less mountain people, which is much more terrifying than it should be. This tournament started off with an easy win for them as they hunt down the peaceful blackbirds.

16. North Carolina Central Eagles vs. 16. Texas Southern Tigers

As proud as Eagles are, they simply don’t have the power or tenacity to beat the Tigers. Even if they used their speed and aerial abilities to attack from above, the Tigers are more than dexterous enough to make this an easy win.

11. St. Bonaventure Bonnies vs. 11. UCLA Bruins

I’m not too sure what a Bonnie is — probably a woman, though their mascot is a wolf — but they should have been no match for the Bruins, which are gigantic brown bears, the meanest animals in North America. Must have been Bonnie with Clyde pulling off the upset.

11. Arizona State Sun Devils vs. 11. Syracuse Orange

Like the Bonnies, the Orange mascot is a bit ambiguous. But whether it’s a literal orange like their mascot Otto implies, or it’s simply the color, they should have been run out of the building by Satan’s finest warriors, ASU fans. But like the Bonnies, they somehow pulled off the upset.


East Region

1. Villanova Wildcats vs. 16. Radford Highlanders

Mountain people and mountain cats typically live harmoniously together, but the Wildcats advance here because these cats live to kill, which if you have one, you would probably agree.

8. Virginia Tech Hokies vs. 9. Alabama Crimson Tide

According to Virginia Tech’s website, Hokies are basically turkeys. Crimson Tide, according to their logo, are big ass elephants who would easily stomp through a sea of gobblers.

5. West Virginia Mountaineers vs. 12. Murray State Racers

Murray State is in the heart of Kentucky, which makes sense why the team is named after racehorses. Racers, however, aren’t equipped with guns. Mountaineers are.

4. Wichita State Shockers vs. 13. Marshall Herd

Shockers are, unfortunately, not electricity-fueled demons like their logo suggests. Instead, they’re wheat farmers. Farmers squaring up against any herd — let it be wildebeest or cows — isn’t a good matchup. Marshall’s herd of bison are naturally given bonus points.

6. Florida Gators vs. 11. UCLA Bruins

This is a dream matchup that has North America’s two most terrifying creatures going for each throats. The winner of this would probably depend on the location — Bruins would coast to a win in the mountains, whereas Gators would be impossible to beat in the swamp — so we should go with the higher seed.

3. Texas Tech Red Raiders vs. 14. Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks

The Lumberjacks would be a good sleeper team in this tournament because of their bulging axes and sharp biceps, but they have an unfortunate drawing as the Red Raiders are equipped with piratey weapons like guns, swords and cannons.

7. Arkansas Razorbacks vs. 10. Butler Bulldogs

Poor puppy. Pigs are mean as is, but Razorbacks are wild boars who would do awful things to the good boy Butler Blue III.

2. Purdue Boilermakers vs. 15. Cal State Fullerton Titans

A boilermaker is apparently a craftsman highly skilled in working steel. He also wields a giant hammer, according to their mascot. Titans, however, are the children of Uranus and Gaea and they could easily destroy the rest of the bracket in one fell swoop.

South Region

1. Virginia Cavaliers vs. 16. UMBC Retrievers

Another good boy, another victim of the MASCOT FIGHT bracket. This retriever, affectionately named True Grit, is no match for the swordplay of the Cavaliers.

8. Creighton Bluejays vs. 9. Kansas State Wildcats

Wildcats eat blue jays for breakfast, literally.

5. Kentucky Wildcats vs. 12. Davidson Wildcats

We have a tie here, obviously, so we have to resort to the tiebreaker of lower seed wins. Sorry, Steph.

4. Arizona Wildcats vs. 13. Buffalo Bulls

As noted earlier, wildcats are quite the ferocious creature. That said, it’s difficult to see how they can withstand an assault from a forward charging 2,000-lbs. bull. Chalk up another win for the hoofed beasts fighting for our Buffaloes.

6. Miami Hurricanes vs. 11. Loyola-Chicago Eagles

Loyola-Chicago is popular pick in many brackets, but not in this one. No one has a chance at stopping the all-destructive hurricanes that have ravaged the Caribbean and Gulf Coast.

3. Tennessee Volunteers vs. 14. Wright State Raiders

The Volunteers don’t stand much of a chance here, especially if we’re using Smokey the coonhound. Raiders, meanwhile, are pirates, but Wright State’s mascot is actually a wolf named Rowdy. As loving of dogs as coonhounds are, they’re not going to fare well against their ancestors.

7. Nevada Wolf Pack vs. 10. Texas Longhorns

This is one of the rare matchups that actually occurs in nature. Wolves are terrific for the environment, mostly because they keep down the deer population, which helps because deer (and other hoofed animals) tend to destroy ecological systems by overgrazing, which leads to more erosion of land, which leads to overflowing of rivers, which leads to more erosion and more loss of land, and so on. Wolves are truly incredible, and it’s because they’re great at killing large hoofed animals.

2. Cincinnati Bearcats vs. 15. Georgia State Panthers

Bearcats — South Asian raccoon-like mammals described as “bear-weasels” — have some fight in them, but if you’ve seen Ryan Coogler’s recent masterpiece, panthers are as lethal as they are cool.

Midwest Region

1. Kansas Jayhawks vs. 16. Penn Quakers

You may think this is an easy victory for the Quakers, but a Jayhawk isn’t actually a bird — it’s a Kansas-native who did some horrendous acts in the Civil War that shan’t be explained. Equipped with guns and swords, a Jayhawk would easily take care of a Quaker, especially if that old man doesn’t believe in pacifism.

8. Seton Hall Pirates vs. 9. NC State Wolfpack

It would be interesting to see a pack of wolves attack a pirate ship, but this would probably end quickly, because of guns, swords and cannons.

5. Clemson Tigers vs. 12. New Mexico State Aggies

Aggies aren’t anything more than a farmer with a shotgun. Tigers are tigers and can rip apart their poorly-armed opponent.

4. Auburn Tigers vs. 13. College of Charleston Cougars

This matchup sounds close enough because they’re both big cats capable of a killing rampage, but the tiger wins easily because it has significant advantages in size and strength.

6. TCU Horned Frogs vs. 11. Syracuse Orange

Horned frogs aren’t exactly the favorites in this tournament, but against fruit, they should advance just fine.

3. Michigan State Spartans vs. 14. Bucknell Bison

Bison could put a tent in the Spartans’ iconic shield shelf, but these poor buffaloes don’t have much of a defense for spears and swords.

7. Rhode Island Rams vs. 10. Oklahoma Sooners

The Sooners are named after pioneers who crossed over into “Unassigned Lands” (those lands were stolen by the U.S. from Native American people who were only in Oklahoma because the U.S. had forcibly moved them from their ancestral lands in the Southeastern states). Those Sooners absolutely had guns that they were anxious to fire at each other. Rams don’t have guns.

2. Duke Blue Devils vs. 15. Iona Gaels

Gaels are people with origins in Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man. Blue Devils are immortal warriors from Hell.

West Region

1. Xavier Musketeers vs. 16. Texas Southern Tigers

This an unlucky matchup for the Tigers. The Musketeers have guns and make quick work of their opponents.

8. Missouri Tigers vs. 9. Florida State Seminoles

This is arguably the most intriguing matchup of the first round. Tigers may be the most powerful of the big cats. Seminole warriors have been some of the most resilient fighters in North American history, so resilient, in fact, that the U.S. Army had to adopt a horrifying scorched earth policy to win the Second Seminole War in 1842. The Seminoles probably win here because if you can fight off Andrew Jackson (in 1819), you can kill a tiger.

5. Ohio State Buckeyes vs. 12. South Dakota State Jackrabbits

As dominant as their football team, don’t let the Buckeyes fool you: their mascot is literally a nut. Jackrabbits may be the 67th strongest team in this tournament, but they win here because how could they not?

4. Gonzaga Bulldogs vs. 13. North Carolina Greensboro Spartans


6. Houston Cougars vs. 11. San Diego State Aztecs

Let’s just say there’s a good reason why Aztec warriors wore leopard skins around the house.

3. Michigan Wolverines vs. 14. Montana Grizzlies

Last year, the Michigan Wolverines advanced to the championship game because I consider their mascot to be Logan from X-Men. This year, though, Logan jokes aren’t very topical, so Michigan’s mascot will be the animal. That animal, however, stands no chance against a giant grizzly bear.

7. Texas A&M Aggies vs. 10. Providence Friars

It’s not like either would start the fight, but Aggies, equipped with guns more likely than not, would be the winner.

2. North Carolina Tar Heels vs. 15. Lipscomb Bisons

A Tar Heel is apparently someone from North Carolina, like how a Hoosier is from Indiana, or how a Mormon is from Utah. While bison could 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. Poor Buffs.


East Region

1. Villanova Wildcats vs. 9. Alabama Crimson Tide

If we’re going to consider the Tide as a herd of elephants, the poor Wildcats have no chance at survival.

5. West Virginia Mountaineers vs. 13. Marshall Herd

This another matchup that has occurred in nature before. Mountaineers in the Appalachians never saw buffalo herds, but Colorado and Wyoming mountaineers sure did. And they sure almost hunted them into extinction. Poor buffaloes don’t have guns.

3. Texas Tech Red Raiders vs. 6. Florida Gators

Similar to the last matchup, this is a fight that has certainly occurred before. Pirates didn’t necessarily pillage the Everglades, but they quite active in Florida and they spent a fair share of their time raiding coastal lands. When they encountered alligators, the heavily armed raiders likely make gator skin boots.

7. Arkansas Razorbacks vs. 15. Cal State Fullerton Titans

As menacing as wild boars are, they are simply no match for godly titans.

South Region

1. Virginia Cavaliers vs. 9. Kansas State Wildcats

Cavaliers have swords. Wildcats do not.

5. Kentucky Wildcats vs. 13. Buffalo Bulls

The Bulls just defeated the Arizona Wildcats last round, so they should be able to take on Kentucky fairly easily.

3. Tennessee Volunteers vs. 6. Miami Hurricanes

If we’re flexible about what a Volunteer is, Tennessee has a shot against a potential juggernaut. Smokey the coonhound probably can’t beat a hurricanes, but if they consider volunteers to be literal volunteers who helped with hurricane refuge? Those volunteers would likely win the fight long-term, but the Hurricanes advance because they win the immediate battle.

7. Nevada Wolf Pack vs. Georgia State Panthers

This wouldn’t happen in nature, but it could happen in a zoo. The Wolf Pack would have a chance because of their excellent team work and communication. HOWEVER, these Georgia State Panthers aren’t the animals — they’re Wakandan warriors led by T’Challa. They aren’t going to lose any time soon, if at all.

Midwest Region

1. Kansas Jayhawks vs. Seton Hall Pirates

Remember here that we’re considering the Jayhawks as Kansans who did unspeakable things during the Civil War. They face steep competition in the Pirates, though the Jayhawks were fighting in the 1860s, meaning they probably had better weapons than the late 18th- or early 19th-century pirates. Kansas advances.

4. Clemson Tigers vs. 5. Auburn Tigers

Clemson advances because ties go to the better seed.

3. Michigan State Spartans vs. 6. TCU Horned Frogs

Spartans are arguably the best fighters in history relative to their size and time in history. They are fighting frogs.

2. Duke Blue Devils vs. 10. Oklahoma Sooners

It doesn’t matter how unlawful these Sooners are — the Blue Devils are going to destroy them easily.

West Region

1. Xavier Musketeers vs. 9. Florida State Seminoles

If the Seminoles can fight off the U.S. Army, musket-wielding sharpshooters are no match for their arrows and spears.

12. South Dakota State Jackrabbits vs. 13. UNC Greensboro Spartans

It was a miracle SDSU made it out of the first round. They’re not so lucky this time as they end up on the skewer.

11. San Diego State Aztecs vs. 14. Montana Grizzlies

This is one of the most intriguing fights yet. On the one hand, Aztecs are some of the best warriors ever as they took on the Spanish military and fought jaguars like it was nothing. Grizzlies, on the other hand, are 600-lbs. killing machines who eat fully armed hunters for breakfast. Aztecs would probably win if it was a group of them fighting a single bear, but “the Montana Grizzlies” is plural as well, so this ends up as a decisive victory.

2. North Carolina Tar Heels vs. 7. Texas A&M Aggies

Tar Heels, like Jayhawks, are Civil War-era statesman. Aggies are farmers with guns. It’s fairly easy to see UNC dominating this fight.


East Region

5. West Virginia Mountaineers vs. 9. Alabama Crimson Tide

Mountaineers have the advantage of guns and what not, but that won’t do much against a rumbling herd of elephants.

3. Texas Tech Red Raiders vs. 15. Cal State Fullerton Titans

Guns, swords, cannons, or whatever, it doesn’t matter. The Red Raiders are going to get demolished by Cal State Fullerton because Titans can only be killed by immortal beings.

South Region

1. Virginia Cavaliers vs. 13. Buffalo Bulls

Unfortunately for bulls, they don’t typically do well against Spanish swordsman. The Cavaliers would make beef soup out of their opponent.

6. Miami Hurricanes vs. 15. Georgia State Panthers

I’ll be honest, I thought the Canes would ravage the rest of this tournament and easily get to the Final Four. Alas, T’Challa is here and he should be able to survive a mere tropical storm if he can survive (SPOILER ALERT) getting thrown off a cliff by Killmonger.

Midwest Region

This one is especially difficult. Jayhawks have guns. Tigers are tigers. It’s anyone’s preference, and I prefer tigers because they’re cool.

2. Duke Blue Devils vs. 3. Michigan State Spartans

One of the best matchups of the bracket. But before we declare Duke the winner because they have “devils” in their name, we should consider that Blue Devils are named after an elite special unit in the French military in World War 1. If they can defend the Alps from Italian invasion, they should be able to take care of a Greek invasion. It also helps they have WWI-era guns.

West Region

9. Florida State Seminoles vs. 13. UNC Greensboro Spartans

The fiercest warriors of the Southeastern United States against the fiercest warriors in Greece. This is a tough call that could do either way, but I’ll give the benefit of the doubt to the people who didn’t throw babies off a cliff because they had a clef lip or whatever. Florida State moves on.

2. North Carolina Tar Heels vs. 15. Montana Grizzlies

If grizzlies can take down modern day hunters, they can easily dispatch Tar Heels using Civil War-era weapons.


9. Alabama Crimson Tide vs. 15. Cal State Fullerton Titans

There are few things larger or more powerful than a herd of elephants. Unfortunately for the Tide, Titans are one such example.

1. Virginia Cavaliers vs. 15. Georgia State Panthers

Swords have gotten Cavaliers quite far in this tournament, but only because Virginia has had quite an easy run.

9. Florida State Seminoles vs. 14. Montana Grizzlies

The Seminoles have finally met their match in this tournament. It’s tempting to have them easily dispatch grizzlies because they took out tigers, musketeers and Spartans, but we’re talking about the most ferocious animal in North America, sans people. Spears may work on tigers and humans, but something is telling me spears won’t bother grizzlies too much.

1. Kansas Jayhawks vs. 2. Duke Blue Devils

If we consider the Jayhawks as Cival War fighters and Blue Devils as WWI special units, Duke has vastly superior weapons, and, you know, actually won the war they fought.


2. Duke Blue Devils vs. 15. Cal State Fullerton Titans

The Blue Devils won the 2017 MASCOT FIGHT bracket because I erroneously referred to them as immortal guardians of hell. No matter their era, no French soliders, no matter how skilled or special ops they are, is going to stand a chance against Titans.

14. Montana Grizzlies vs. 15. Georgia State Panthers

The Grizzlies have killed most of this tournament by their sheer power and destructive capabilities. But have you seen Black Panther? That subtle smirk T’Challa has at the end is enough to stop the heart of any living creature. That’s before you even get to grizzlies having no counter for the Black Panther’s advanced weapons.


15. Georgia State Panthers vs. 15. Cal State Fullerton Titans

It takes a god to defeat the Titans. T’Challa is that god. Wakanda Forever.