Monday, March 17, 2008
Show some spirit when picking your bracket
By Mike Philbrick
Forget about what the field of 65 is putting on the court, the great equalizer when judging these teams is their respective mascots. That's what you're rooting for -- be it a bird, cat, dog or anthropomorphic blob. Whether you realize it or not, you cheer for the mascot, not the players.
So when you finally decide to sit down and fill out your bracket, using the mascots is definitely the way to go. This is the criteria: What would you (a human that is) be most intimidated by? A simple rule leads to a simple pick.
No need to analyze things like points in the paint, transition defense and that annoying field goal percentage. Think about it -- all that stuff is useless when you're facing off against a Governor and a Longhorn.
Easiest region (to pick) Midwest. After you get rid of all the annoying birds and cats, you're left with a few dogs (literally) and a showdown between
Yosemite Sam a rebel and one ferocious badger. Wisconsin in a walk.
Toughest region (to pick) South. Like most regions, it has more than its share of cats to choose from, but the presence of severe weather (Hurricanes) and what could be a biological weapon of mass destruction (Big Red) made this a tough one to pick. In the end, as one reader noted to us, take the guy who did win the Trojan War back the in day (Spartans) to clean house.
Easiest pick (single game) UNLV over Kent State. The Golden Flashes (or eagles or whatever) would get the Indiana Jones treatment from the Rebels -- and by that we mean shot.
Toughest pick (single game) Kentucky over Miami. While a Hurricane can do quite a bit of damage, you definitely can see it coming and get out of the way. A Wildcat? Just ask any cat-hater out there. Those cats are pretty sneaky.
Biggest upset (in entire bracket) Mississippi Valley State over UCLA. OK, they're going against the mighty Bruins, but that Delta Devil isn't the refined boarding school mascot from Duke. He's from the Bayou and he looks pretty pissed off.
First-round flop Tennessee Volunteers loss to the American Eagles. The Vols ... or Smokey the coonhound ... or whatever. They would be the play-in game in any mascot bracket. Needless to say, the American Eagles (while sounding like a commuter airline) are far more intimidating and go on to the second round.
Sleeper school While the Xavier Musketeers aren't as heavy as they could be in the intimidation category (their on-court mascot is named D'Artagnan) the dude is still packing a sword.
Final Four shockers Washington State Cougars. As we learned in "Talladega Nights," you don't want to show fear to a Cougar, and in the end that ferocity is no match for a magical leprechaun, a feral pig or a covered wagon.
Buy stock in The Oklahoma Sooners. They may not make it all the way, but they have what it takes to make it to at least the Elite Eight. Hey, if you've ever been victim of a covered wagon, you know they can be deadly.
Sell stock in The Kansas Jayhawks. Half blue jay. Half sparrow hawk. Totally unintimidating.
Obvious pick we still like anyway Davidson over Georgetown. Yes, a Davidson Wildcat is far more scary than a Georgetown Bulldog. What? A bulldog, you say? Aren't they the Hoyas? Yeah, they are. It's about time G-Town gets called out for that. What the hell is a Hoya, anyway? Technically, the name "Hoya" means "what" or "such" in ancient Greek and ... this is ridiculous. Their mascot should just be a giant question mark.
1 North Carolina def. 16 Mount St. Mary's
9 Arkansas def. 8 Indiana
5 Notre Dame def. 12 George Mason
4 Washington State def. 13 Winthrop
6 Oklahoma def. 11 Saint Joseph's
14 Boise State def. 3 Louisville
10 South Alabama def. 7 Butler
15 American def. 2 Tennessee
9 Arkansas def 1 North Carolina
4 Washington State def. 5 Notre Dame
6 Oklahoma def. 14 Boise State
10 South Alabama def. 15 American
Round of 16
4 Washington State def. 9 Arkansas
6 Oklahoma def. 10 South Alabama
4 Washington State def. 6 Oklahoma
16 Portland State def. 1 Kansas
8 UNLV def. 9 Kent State
12 Villanova def. 5 Clemson
4 Vanderbilt def. 13 Siena
11 Kansas State def. 5 USC
3 Wisconsin def. 14 Cal State Fullerton
10 Davidson def. 7 Gonzaga
2 Georgetown def. 15 UMBC
8 UNLV def. 16 Portland State
12 Villanova def. 4 Vanderbilt
3 Wisconsin def. 11 Kansas State
10 Davidson def. 2 Georgetown
Round of 16
8 UNLV def. 12 Villanova
3 Wisconsin def. 10 Davidson
3 Wisconsin def. 8 UNLV
1 Memphis def. 16 Texas-Arlington
8 Mississippi State def. 8 Oregon
5 Michigan State def. 12 Temple
4 Pittsburgh def. 12 Oral Roberts
11 Kentucky def. 6 Marquette
14 Cornell def. 3 Stanford
7 Miami (Fla.) def. 10 Saint Mary's
2 Texas def. 15 Austin Peay
1 Memphis def. 8 Mississippi State
5 Michigan State def. 4 Pittsburgh
11 Kentucky def. 14 Cornell
7 Miami (Fla.) def. 2 Texas
Round of 16
5 Michigan State def. 1 Memphis
11 Kentucky def. 7 Miami (Fla.)
5 Michigan State def. 11 Kentucky
16 Mississippi Valley State def. 1 UCLA
8 BYU def. 9 Texas A&M
12 Western Kentucky def. 5 Drake
4 Connecticut def. 13 San Diego
6 Purdue def. 11 Baylor
3 Xavier def. 14 Georgia
7 West Virginia def. 10 Arizona
2 Duke def. 15 Belmont
16 Mississippi Valley State def. 8 BYU
12 Western Kentucky def. 4 Connecticut
3 Xavier def. 6 Purdue
7 West Virginia def. 2 Duke
Round of 16
16 Mississippi Valley State def. 12 Western Kentucky
7 West Virginia def. 3 Xavier
7 West Virginia def. 16 Mississippi Valley State
7 West Virginia def. 5 Michigan State
3 Wisconsin def. 4 Washington State
CHAMPIONSHIP: 7 West Virginia def. 3 Wisconsin