Well here we are. It all began back on November 7th. So much uncertainty. So many expectations. Who could predict how the NCAA basketball season would unfold? There were early-season favorites not living up to their potential. Mid-majors working their way up the Top 25. It was North Carolina, then Ohio State. There was Kentucky. Then there was Syracuse. Then back to Kentucky.
And now Selection Sunday has come and gone and all the big names are right there. Except one. Perhaps the biggest name. Dick Vitale hasn’t been able to sleep. Digger Phelps put on a yellow tie and then grabbed a pink highlighter before an intern thankfully noticed. Doug Gottlieb got choked up, and not just because someone told him that no one really knows why he’s considered an expert. Or why he’s on television. Or why he thinks it’s ok to wear an ill-fitting camel blazer. It’s been an emotional 24 hours.
Drexel got snubbed. That’s right. How could the selection committee not put the Dragons in? How dare they. Drexel!
RPI of 66. Strength of schedule ranked 213. Didn’t win their conference tournament.
It’s a travesty, for sure. Yet it seems that’s all these guys want to talk about. Which is the point. No one knows what they’re talking about!
Except me. You might remember our Nickname Brawl from 2009 and we’re bringing it back! We’ve got some great entries this year. Some real thinkers. A few ridiculous names. And of course a few snoozers. Thanks to my research team Wikipedia for all the help.
Here we go!
Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils vs. Western Kentucky Hilltoppers
Hoo boy, right away we’ve got a winner. Love the Delta Devils. I’m not crazy about the devil nickname, but damn, toss a little geography and science into the mix and I am in. MVSU Devils? Stupid. Delta Devils? Brilliant. A delta, if you were not aware, is a landform that is formed at the mouth of a river, where that river flows into an ocean, sea, estuary, lake, or reservoir. Learning!
Bonus points for this incredible, albeit slightly terrifying, logo and we’ve got our first winner. Oh, and Jerry “World” Rice is a proud alum. And a hell of a dancer. Sorry, Hilltoppers, although your campus is on a hill, you and your big red blob of a team is sent packing.
1. Kentucky Wildcats vs. 16. MVSU Delta Devils
Ahh the Wildcats. How I’ve missed you generic, boring, not-fierce-at-all nickname. It’s a shame we can’t go through each college and revamp their mascots and nicknames. Nowadays, everything gets branded. People actually take the time to think about history, geographic location, cool stories, and then go from there. 150 years ago? “Hey guys. Sorry, chaps. We need a nickname for our beloved ole University of Kentucky. So here are our options: birds of prey, big cats, colors. OK, who wants to go first? Wildcats? Sounds good. Let’s go gamble and start multiple families.”
Even though they’ve put an awesome unibrow on their mascot in honor of Anthony Davis, it’s still not enough. Delta Devils move on.
8. Iowa State Cyclones vs. 9. UConn Huskies
Cyclones. Great nickname. For some reason, I always associated cyclones with tornadoes, but really they are hurricanes. So Iowa State, do tell. Why the Cyclones? Upon doing hours of research I was unable to determine why ISU chose the cyclone as its nickname. However, I did discover that because a cyclone was difficult to depict as a mascot, you know, because it’s mainly wind and flying houses and eyes and rain and screaming weathermen, they chose a cardinal as their mascot—named Cy. Oh man. Dislike. I’m a fan of the Cyclones, but Cy? Not OK. Regardless, a husky doesn’t stand a chance.
5. Wichita State Shockers vs. 12. VCU Rams
Stop it, Wichita State. Not cool. This is a family site. I think.
Oh, it has something to do with wheat farming. And their school motto is Thinkers, Doers, Movers and Shockers. Remind me not to visit Kansas. I’m not ready to think, do, move or shock.
I think Rams is a solid nickname. Let’s google it. An uncastrated male sheep. Oh. This is really getting out of hand.
I’m going with the Shockers. Stop.
4. Indiana Hoosiers vs. 13. New Mexico State Aggies
Just did some digging and the Hoosiers are looking great. I was skeptical at first. Hoosier. What does that even mean? Can it bite? Does it have talons?
I was aware that it was a nickname for someone from Indiana, but then I found this: “…the leading theory as advanced by the Indiana Historical Bureau and the Indiana Historical Society has ‘Hoosier’ originating from the upland South region of the U.S. as a derogatory slang term for a rough countryman, a country bumpkin.”
Now I’m not advocating any derogatory slang anythings, but it’s been a long time, and clearly the people of Indiana have embraced this nickname and are proud to be called Hoosiers. But I’m picturing a real bumpkin. A filthy, cursing country boy. Maybe a few rifles, several sticks with bandanas on the end. Tobacco. Just tough. The Aggie is done. Hoosiers big.
6. UNLV Runnin’ Rebels vs. 11. Colorado Buffaloes
So when I first looked up UNLV, the nickname was listed as just Rebels. Now my memory isn’t the best, but I do recall the Runnin’ Rebels of the early 90s. So what’s the deal? Well apparently, only the basketball team is known as the Runnin’ Rebels, no other sport at UNLV. This seems odd. Other sports run. Football, soccer, cross country, track. All those teams run. I guess it doesn’t make sense for the swim team or like sport shooting, but still.
Now for the Buffaloes. Can’t beat that nickname. Plus, great sub-nickname: Buffs. Found this: “The nickname was selected by the campus newspaper in a contest with a $5 prize in 1934, won by Andrew Dickson of Boulder.” Nice work, Andrew! Buffaloes, frequently known as America’s wildebeest (fact check: true), in general are pretty badass. They are to be feared. They stomped Mufasa up with little to no regard for Simba’s presence, or his desire to not have his dad trampled.
3. Baylor Bears vs. 14. South Dakota State Jackrabbits
This is why I love the tournament. What other event would force me to google South Dakota State and then google the following: “jackrabbits mean”, “jackrabbits fast”, “jackrabbits teeth”, “jackrabbit full house uncle joey puppet”? Not to mention if you actually google just “jackrabbit” you get a few NSFW hits. Hey universities, yeah you too Wichita State, let’s vet these nicknames a little more vigorously moving forward. Sound good?
But let’s get to it. A bear versus a rabbit, or more precisely, a hare. Listen, jackrabbits have large ears and can hear bears and potentially avoid them. But seeing as how we’re locking them together in a gym, the bear wins. Gruesome.
7. Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. 10. Xavier Musketeers
I was shocked to look back and realize that when we did the 2009 Brawl, Notre Dame failed to make the tournament, thus eliminating the potential for the Irish to wreak havoc on the bracket. Let’s take a look at ND. There are several versions and accounts as to why Notre Dame is called the Fighting Irish. They’re all pretty solid, but this one is my favorite: “…in 1899, during a game between Notre Dame and Northwestern, the Irish were leading 5-0 at halftime when the Wildcat fans began to chant, ‘Kill the Fighting Irish, kill the Fighting Irish,’ as the second half opened.” Real clever, Northwestern. I can’t believe I wanted to go to your journalism school (translation: applied, was rejected).
The Musketeers are fine, if unspectacular. They did well in ’09, but this year I’m feeling the Irish. Maybe the Musketeer is sharpening his sword pre-bout and Tommy O’Doyle scumbags him, club to the knee. Then takes his winning lottery ticket and convinces his hometown that he’s actually a musketeer. It’s possible.
Irish move on.
2. Duke Blue Devils vs. 15. Lehigh Mountain Hawks
I’ve discussed my aversion to “devils” and I’m not planning on flip-flopping. Plus, I like this Mountain Hawk nickname. You know who doesn’t like the Mountain Hawks? Lehigh University. Guys, come on, you arethe Mountain Hawks. Apparently there was some recent debate about whether Lehigh should retain their original nickname, the Engineers.
I’m already on record saying I like the Mountain Hawks. Just take a look. Do you know what that eye is telling me? Murder.
Still, Blue Devils move on. If Lehigh doesn’t even like its mascot, how am I supposed to send them through?
BYU Cougars vs. Iona Gaels
I’ve been through the cougar name before. It’s become a mess. Thanks E!, Demi Moore, Courtney Cox, and of course, you, Maria del Rosario Cayetana Alfonsa Victoria Eugenia Francisca Fitz-James Stuart y de Silva. You’ve taken a solid nickname and turned it into a shrieking-, mainstream-, Ryan Seacrest-laughing-disaster. That being said, they still have teeth and the ability to menace. That photo turned out to be a fake, but I still like it. Moving on.
What’s a Gael? The Gaels or Goidels are speakers of one of the Goidelic Celtic languages: Irish, Scottish Gaelic, and Manx. Well there you go. But, and this is important, do they fight? Because we already have some Irishmen who are willing to fight, and have the ability to overcome the brutish cheers of those hooligans from Northwestern. I’m bored with this…
1. Michigan State Spartans vs. 16. Long Island University Brooklyn Blackbirds
I’m always happy when a strange team gets into the tourney. A lot of the time they have great names. Sort of like minor league baseball teams. The teams know that no one wants to come see them, so they come up with a great name, cool colors and logo. I put the Blackbirds in that category. Blackbirds sounds cool, and though I’ve never seen LIU Brooklyn’s uniforms, I’m guessing they are pretty sweet.
But it’s still a bird, and, though quite melodious, is able to be captured from the air by a Spartan and eaten alive. I’m so tired of the Spartans, but that Tom Izzo keeps coaching them up, preaching rebounding and other dreck. I’m sure they’ll do well, but I’m not happy about it.
Spartans onto the round of 32.
8. Memphis Tigers vs. 9. St. Louis Billikens
Yes! I’ve been waiting for this. Not the Tigers. Stripes, teeth, Asia rules. We got it. What is a Billiken! Let’s get to it.
“The Billiken was a charm doll created by an American art teacher and illustrator, Florence Pretz of St. Louis, Missouri, who is said to have seen the mysterious figure in a dream.”
I just don’t know what to do with this. I had such high hopes for the Billikens. I didn’t know what it was, but it sounded cool. This is what I get for trusting the Midwest.
Tigers knock over the statue, tear up the doll, wipe that stupid made-up grin off that stupid made-up face, and join the Spartans.
5. New Mexico Lobos vs. 12. Long Beach State 49ers
Now I don’t know what a Lobo is, but I think I have an idea.
In the life-altering biopic Without Limits, starring the undervalued Billy Crudup as Steve Prefontaine, Pre, fresh off his heartbreaking fourth-place finish at the 1972 Munich Olympics to that bearded cheater Virén, walks out of his trailer, sees his former flame Mary has stopped by, and then turns his attention to a German Shepard, which the viewer is led to assume, is his pet. He tells Mary, “this is Lobo.”
Go ahead, brain. Lobo must be some type of canine—dog or wolf. Nailed it! Spanish for wolf.
Solid. They could have gone with just New Mexico Wolves, but they honored their proximity to Mexico, and used the Spanish term instead. Respect.
49ers are greedy and I’ve seen White Fang, gold miners and wolves do not mix. Now, I have been on a big Gold Rush kick lately, but still, I gotta go Lobos for this one.
4. Louisville Cardinals vs. 13. Davidson Wildcats
Horrible matchup. I don’t care about either of these nicknames. I like Steph Curry, though, and dislike Rick Pitino. Wildcats move on.
6. Murray State Racers vs. 11. Colorado State Rams
Not another Ram. Can I get through an hour without thinking about castration? Thanks.
Now let’s move on to the Racers. I’m intrigued. Good stuff. Originally known as the Thoroughbreds, Murray State decided this name was too long and cumbersome for headlines, etc. The name went through several changes: T-Breds, Breds, Race Horses, and finally Racers. I like that Thoroughbreds was too cumbersome, but Race Horses was apparently an improvement.
However you spin it, Murray State is a race horse, which I really like. Even though fairly common, you don’t see it utilized very often. And race horses are pretty impressive. Oh, and Rams, notice it’s the Racers, no mention of the Geldings, so yeah, they’re right there with you.
3. Marquette Golden Eagles vs. 14. BYU Cougars
My issues with the Golden Eagles are well documented in the 2009 Brawl. I know I said earlier about my disdain for the generic cat nicknames, but birds of prey nicknames might be worse. I’m going Cougars here.
7. Florida Gators vs. 10. Virgina Cavaliers
Good matchup. Neither of these teams competed in the ’09 tourney. Alligators are terrifying. You cannot escape them, either. For years I told people that even though gators can run like 90 MPH, as long as you run in a zig-zag pattern in front of them they can’t catch you. But then those smug Mythbusters smugly told me that I was an idiot.
Onto the Cavaliers, or Cavs, or, and maybe the best sub-sub-nickname, the Wahoos or sub-sub-sub-nickname the ‘Hoos. I like everything about the Cavs. A cavalier is a pirate. Fine, whatever. Pirates are cool. But Wahoos? Incredibly cool.
Still, it’s an alligator. And they will bite and spin. Gators move on.
2. Missouri Tigers vs. 15. Norfolk State Spartans
Spartans are tough, we get it. Tigers cannot beat swords and armor. I saw it in Gladiator. They get stabbed. It’s grotesque. Spartans moving on.
Back in 2009, I made it quite clear that any school that chose a color for a nickname would be given a swift boot. Syracuse might be a slightly different scenario. They are a color. But their mascot is Otto, who is an orange, the fruit. Alright let’s see if dogs can eat oranges. Maybe it’s the same as chocolate or certain kinds of gum. Maybe, just maybe Syracuse could roll out an orange-flavored gum. Or one of these babies.
Alright fine, I’m really pushing it. But I’m a proud SU alum, as well as a UPenn alum, which means that I’m an Orange and a Quaker. Both dead here. So let a guy dream!
Forget it, Bulldogs win.
8. Kansas State Wildcats vs. 9. Southern Miss Golden Eagles
Earlier we had the Golden Eagles against the Cougars. Now we have the Golden Eagles against the Wildcats. For consistency I will scroll up to see which team I picked (spoiler: I did not scroll). Golden Eagles win. Animals!
5. Vanderbilt Commodores vs. 12. Harvard Crimson
Man, talk about your elitist, book-reading matchups. Harvard snuck into the tournament by barely winning the Ivy League, while the Vandy Commodores, led by Jay Cutler’s college haircut, impressively won the SEC tourney beating heavily favored Kentucky.
And once again, we have a color. This time against a pretty solid team in the Commodores, which was Cornelius Vanderbilt’s nickname. That’s a great nickname. We don’t see those anymore. It’s always Murph or Sully or Fitz. We need to get back to that.
Corneliuses moving forward.
4. Wisconsin Badgers vs. 13. Montana Grizzlies
Now here’s an animal matchup I can get behind. Badgers are nasty little creatures. Grizzlies obviously are pretty terrifying. I always bring up Grizzly Man, and whenever I do, my internal monologue starts sounding like that German narrator. It’s happening to you, too, now isn’t it?
This is my favorite line (aside from the part where that woman is holding the watch they got out of the bear’s stomach and she astutely notes that it’s “still ticking”): “Amie was my friend and she was Timothy’s friend. She was his girlfriend, but most important, she was his friend.”
Friends. Can’t live with ‘em, can’t live without ‘em. Grizz win.
6. Cincinnati Bearcats vs. 11. Texas Longhorns
Boring. We had this exact matchup in the ’09 Brawl, won convincingly by the ‘Horns. Bearcats are possibly the most terrifying creatures known to man, but they are natural sleepers. Not that kind of
sleeper. Longhorns take the Cats.
3. Florida State Seminoles vs. 14. St. Bonaventure Bonnies
Blowout city. I haven’t even looked up what a Bonnie is, but I can imagine. Let’s see what we’ve got. So from 1927 until 1992 St. Bonaventure was called the Brown Indians. Oh no. I’ve made it clear in the past that I’m not a fan of Native American nicknames for colleges. No tribes or peoples are being honored by any college trotting out a guy on a horse or by doing the chop and chant. It’s insulting. With that being said, I’m going Bonnies on this one, simply because St. Bonaventure had the good sense (though 75 years too late) to change their racist school nickname. The same can’t be said for FSU.
St. Bonaventure Appropriately Politically Corrects move into the round of 32.
7. Gonzaga Bulldogs vs. 10. West Virginia Mountaineers
I’m liking the Mountaineers this year. I know, I’m surprised, too. See in 2009 I was picturing more of a cold, Himalayas-type mountaineer. I was thinking those crazy shoes with the long spikes on the bottoms and oxygen deprivation. I wasn’t picturing this. And that’s on me. It’s something I have to live with.
I’m really liking this new Mountaineer and of course he could tame a Bulldog. What dog wouldn’t want to live with that guy?
Mountaineers 2.0 take the Bulldogs.
2. Ohio State Buckeyes vs. 15. Loyola Maryland Greyhounds
Not worth your time, trust me. OSU has some of the most loyal fans in the country. On Monday Night Football, the players are always saying THE Ohio State University. Guys, give it up. Ohio is boring, I’ve been there. That’s like saying THE original beige. You can make as many different shades of beige and at the end of the day it’s still beige.
And greyhounds are awesome. You shouldn’t race them or gamble on them. They don’t dig it. But damn can they run. You know who told me about the zig-zagging in front of an alligator? A greyhound. But he was probably like 1,000 yards in front of the gator and could do all the zig-zagging he wanted and the gator would just be like “brah eff this.”
The Greyhound literally runs circles around THE Buckeye, upon which it then micturates.
Lamar Cardinals vs. Vermont Catamounts
A Catamount. Is a cougar. Well I’m bowled over. Hey colleges, knock it off. Don’t get fancy on me. If you’re going to be dull, be dull, don’t try to sprinkle some paprika on a turd, I still ain’t hungry.
While finding out what a catamount was, I stumbled across this: “Other names include catamount, panther, mountain screamer and painter.” Read that again, University of Vermont. I understand that catamount might be appropriate for your “region” but take this one in… Mountain Screamer. I would pick them to win the whole thing.
By the way, I’ve been looking ahead at this bracket and it’s a winner. Some real potential here. But back to this matchup. Hate to do it, but the spicy turds win. Sorry Lamar. Go cuff yourself to Khloe again.
Cal Golden Bears vs. University of South Florida Bulls
In 2009 I discovered that there is no such animal as a golden bear, but rather it came about from some stupid flag story. I like the Bulls here. Their ability to trample and gore is only superseded by their ability to then immediately resume grazing.
1. North Carolina Tar Heels vs. 16. Vermont Catamounts
I think UNC could stand to learn a few things from Indiana. Indiana goes Hoosiers. North Carolina goes Tar Heels. Can someone clue me in? Is this nickname a point of pride for people from North Carolina? If it is, then don’t read the next sentence. Tar Heels get mauled by the Mountain Screamers Paprika Turds.
8. Creighton Blue Jays vs. 9. Alabama Crimson Tide
“Roll damn Tide!” That’s all I can think about whenever I hear the Crimson Tide. I love that guy. I don’t care if that’s not OK. He makes me laugh. And his idea, while destructive and idiot, is super funny. To follow all of this up by then calling a radio station and admitting to it, using his real name, makes him a legend. I haven’t been following the story so I don’t know if he’s in jail or on probation or what, and I’m never going to follow up on it.
His memory will remain pure in my mind. And on days when I’m listening to people in meetings say things like “it is what it is” and “to Bill’s point” I can imagine myself standing up, pounding the table and mountain screaming ROLL DAMN TIDE! and walking out.
That being said, they’re a color and they lose. Good job, Jays.
5. Temple Owls vs. 12. USF Bulls
I think the Bulls could really make some noise. In case you were wondering how I’m picturing this matchup, replace all of the people in Pamplona with owls. The owls are wearing human clothes! They all look like Harry Potter’s owl! And it’s a massacre. It’s a horrible vision. I wouldn’t wish this image on my greatest enemy. OK I would.
Owling never took off. Temple’s Owls don’t, either.
4. Michigan Wolverines vs. 13. Ohio Bobcats
The Wolverines are always a good pick. I said Badgers were nasty. Wolverines are messed up. They just love to gnash their teeth and tear. And claw. Slash.
Bobcats are pretty cool but he ruined it for them.
Wolverines take it.
6. San Diego State Aztecs vs. 11. NC State Wolfpack
I’m back. I just spent 20 minutes reading about Bobcat Goldthwait. That guy. Right?
This is a great matchup. It’s too bad that these two have to face off in the first round, because they’re both potential Final Four teams. The Aztecs are a little harder to place into a matchup, which might ultimately be their demise. Do I make it one Aztec warrior? A whole group? Does it need to be a warrior? That seems judgey.
Wolfpack is easier, obviously. NC State did the right thing when they decided on the Wolfpack instead of just the Wolves. A pack is way better. And I know this. I’ve had my fair share of run-ins with wolves, both lone and in packs. The packs are worse. This lone wolf is great, though. And maybe a little desperate. I get it, man, I’ve been there too.
3. Georgetown Hoyas vs. 14. Belmont Bruins
Seems like there are a lot of bears today. Aaaaand there it is. The German accent. Thanks, Werner.
7. St. Mary’s Gaels vs. 10. Purdue Boilermakers
Who would’ve thought? TWO Gaels. I went 29 years without knowing what a Gael was and now I can’t get away. The Boilermakers are a staple of the Brawl. They just work. Izzo really should switch schools. I get that Spartans isn’t too bad, but it seems like Izzo is more of a Boilermaker kind of guy.
The Gaels, fighters or not, don’t stand a chance against the Boilers.
2. Kansas Jayhawks vs. 15. University of Detroit Mercy Titans
Well there they are. I knew we would have a team come out of nowhere. The Lumberjacks of Stephen F. Austin shocked the world in 2009 and I can absolutely see the Titans having a similar run. The Jayhawks didn’t even show up for this one.
Let’s break down what the Titans have going for them:
- They are from Detroit. Badass. I’ve seen 8 Mile.
- In Greek mythology, they are a race of powerful deities. Maybe this should have been first.
- Unless there’s a play-in game I’m not seeing involving the Olympians, they’re not losing.
- Keep reading. I’m crazy. They might lose.
Round of 32
16. MVSU Delta Devils vs. 8. Iowa State Cyclones
Nature against Nature. We don’t see these very often. But really, what is a Delta, devil or not, going to do against a Cyclone? Help it? Because that’s what I’m seeing.
5. Wichita State Shockers vs. 4. Indiana Hoosiers
I’m glad I can finally get rid of the Shockers. Wheat or otherwise. Bumpkins, who coincidentally, have an understanding of wheat from what I’m told, just own them.
Hoosiers move on.
11. Colorado Buffaloes vs. 3. Baylor Bears
Hey American Wildebeest, welcome to America. No lions here. That’s a bear. “And what haunts me, is that in all the faces of all the bears that Treadwell ever filmed, I discover no kinship, no understanding, no mercy. I see only the overwhelming indifference of nature.” Alright I have to stop.
7. Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. 2. Duke Blue Devils
Anytime Duke loses it’s a good thing. The Fighting Irish are looking good so far. They are scrappy, boozed up and always looking for a fight. Unless they are crying or eating sheep eyeballs or dying of pneumonia and becoming teachers. Excuse me for a second.
OK. Irish win.
1. MSU Spartans vs. 8. Memphis Tigers
Again with the Spartans against Tigers. Knock it off, selection committee.
5. New Mexico Lobos vs. 13. Davidson Wildcats
Considering Davidson snuck into this round, taking advantage of my hatred for Rick Pitino, then they have no shot against the Prefontaine Lobos. Hey Lobo!
Lobos move on.
6. Murray State Racers vs. 14. BYU Cougars
Good showing by BYU. They were a play-in team and they’ve moved on to the round of 32. This year’s VCU? No way.
Love the Racers. I realize the Cougs could stalk the T-Breds, but I see a lot of running and kicking and stomping. With hooves. Plus, Cougars are good at night, right? Right. But so are race horses. Thank you, Seabiscuit.
Racers in the Sweet 16.
7. Florida Gators vs. 15. Norfolk State Spartans
I refuse to have two Spartans in the Sweet 16. I’m sorry, Norfolk State, this isn’t about you. It’s about wanting to see the Racers face the Gators. Sorry.
16. UNC-Asheville Bulldogs vs. 9. Southern Miss Golden Eagles
I have to admit I didn’t think I’d have a Bulldog in the Sweet 16, but here we are. The other day I was at the vet when this woman walked in with a bulldog. Fairly young, well behaved (the dog). But still, a bulldog. So this woman starts talking to one of the vets and she has a British accent! Might have been Australian. Either way, the moral of the story is, bulldogs can surprise you.
5. Vanderbilt Commodores vs. 13. Montana Grizzlies
Need to find out if Cornelius was a hunter. He hunted fortune. Heyo! I couldn’t find anything that says he enjoyed hunting in any capacity. Which makes me nervous. Because Grizzlies…
I bet if he chose to be Fox Man he would still be alive. Werner, if you’re reading this, please make a sequel.
Grizzlies take it.
11. Texas Longhorns vs. 14. St. Bonaventure Bonnies
Now I made some grandiose, judgmental statement when I chose the Bonnies over the Seminoles in the first round. But I won’t be doing that here. A Bonnie is not a thing. A Longhorn has long horns. It’s over Bonnie! Put him in a body bag!
10. WVU Mountaineers vs. 15. Loyola Maryland Greyhounds
The Mountaineers are so crafty. Killing things and sewing them into hats. They won’t do that to the Greyhounds, but I’m guessing they will lure them in with jerky and keep them as loyal pets.
Mountain Men onward.
16. Vermont Catamounts vs. 8. Creighton Bluejays
Seriously? ‘Mounts win, ‘Mounts win!
12. USF Bulls vs. 4. Michigan Wolverines
In 2009 the Wolverines did really well. But I like these Bulls. During Big Cat Week, it seemed like all the lions could kill anything they wanted, except elephants and wildebeests. They were always trying to kill them, but they only ever got the sick ones or the babies. They would get beat down by these wildebeests. They would chase them into water and the wildebeests would just wait them out. Stupid lions And what is a wolverine, if not a lion? Exactly.
Bulls take them.
11. NC State Wolfpack vs. 14. Belmont Bruins
I have to make a bear lose. And the Wolfpack is the right time. I’m making it a single Bruin against an entire pack of wolves. Think Ray Bourque against the cast and extras from The Grey.
10. Purdue Boilermakers vs. 15. Detroit Titans
It’s a shame for the Boilermakers, but they’re fighting Greek gods. It’s always a shock when the Boilermakers get bounced.
8. Iowa State Cyclones vs. 4. Indiana Hoosiers
I really liked the Hoosiers, and I feel like with a better draw they could have gone far. But we have some really imposing nicknames this year, and the Cyclones are one of them. If anyone stands a chance at walking into a cyclone and coming out unscathed, it’s a bumpkin. But not this time.
3. Baylor Bears vs. 7. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
You know what this upcoming Saturday is? Drinking St. Patrick’s Day. My Jewish friend just came up to me and asked what we were doing on Saturday. This time of year everyone wants to be Irish, or at least drink like an Irishman. Not everyone wants to drink like a bear. River water is mostly full of amoebas. Trust me, my mom is a science teacher.
Irish move on.
1. MSU Spartans vs. 5. New Mexico Lobos
Whenever I see similar brackets online the Spartans are the inevitable winner. Well I don’t like that. You’re telling me a Spanish Wolf can’t beat a Spartan? Maybe Pre couldn’t beat Virén and Mohammed Gammoudi (Gammoudi elbows!), but that doesn’t mean he passed those losing traits onto his dog Lobo. That’s right, Lobo’s a winner! Lobo!
6. Murray State Racers vs. 7. Florida Gators
Love this matchup. For some reason horses, especially race horses, are tough. They claim that Secretariat would pose for photos before and after races. He also bedded Diane Lane. No joke.
But alligators can pull things into the water, like deer and stuff. Am I thinking of crocodiles? Nah.
Gators pull the Racers into the swamp.
16. UNC-Asheville Bulldogs vs. 13. Montana Grizzlies
The Bulldogs have been a Cinderella story for sure. But they’ve also had a cake draw. Now if you’re wondering if I’ve ever been to Montana and seen a grizzly, the answer is yes. What does this have to do with anything? Grizz win!
11. Texas Longhorns vs. 10. WVU Mountaineers
This is a no-brainer. The Mountaineers have been one of my favorite entries this year. And if the Hoosiers are out, you better believe their mountain men, country-first brothers are not going to lose to a bunch of cattle.
16. Vermont Catamounts vs. 12. USF Bulls
I’m proud of the ‘Mounts. I gave them a lot of grief in the early rounds but they stayed the course. Unfortunately I’m into Bulls today.
11. NC State Wolfpack vs. Detroit Titans
Another slamdunk for the Titans. The wolfback brought out the big guns and had Liam Neeson come and give the pre-game pump-up speech, but it didn’t work. Those deities were just too strong.
Titans in another romp.
8. Iowa State Cyclones vs. 7. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Are there hurricanes in Ireland? Is that an insensitive question? My brain wants to tell me that there aren’t, but it’s betrayed me before. I just don’t think the Irish, no matter how feisty they’re feeling, can weather this type of storm. It’s not long and drawn-out like plagues and famines, which is where the Irish excel. OK that was insensitive. I’m going to stop.
Cyclones are our first Final 4 team.
5. New Mexico Lobos vs. 7. Florida Gators
I think this might be it for the Lobos. Location is really key here. Is the game out in New Mexico, where the Lobo can speak their native language or is it in the swamps of south Florida where the Lobos could not speak Spanish? Wait.
I’m going Gators. Poor Lobo.
13. Montana Grizzlies vs. 10. WVU Mountaineers
I realize I’ve talked a lot about grizzlies today, but that really is neither here nor there. This group of Mountain Men were wronged by me in 2009 and I am going to rectify that mistake and put them through to the Final 4. Plus, they have rifles. Which are used to shoot bears. And they have sewing kits, which are used to turn bears into coats and occasionally, depending on the fanciness of the mountaineer, rugs.
12. USF Bulls vs. 15. Detroit Titans
Are the Titans even trying? No, they are not. The Bulls give it a go, they doubled-up on the ring in the nose, got all decked out, but it’s not happening. Detroit Titans round out our Final 4, joining the Iowa State Cyclones, Florida Gators, and WVU Mountaineers.
8. Iowa State Cyclones vs. 7. Florida Gators
Now this matchup has some real world application. Stay with me here. Hurricanes happen routinely in Florida. It’s not good. Yet, gators live in Florida. You with me? So when we all watch the news, how come we never hear any stories about alligators being wiped out by hurricanes? How do they weather these storms?
It’s like the age-old question: Where do cats go when it rains? How often do you see a cat outside when it’s raining? Yeah, exactly. Gators get it. And my guess is that they also know the answer to the cat/rain quandary.
All along I saw the Cyclones in the final, but the Gators wait them out, continue living, wait out however many eyes a cyclone has, and come out just fine.
I’m stunned. Gators win.
10. WVU Mountaineers vs. 15. Detroit Titans
The Final 4 always has one great game and one clunker. This is the clunker. It’s like Butler in last year’s final. Sorry, my gall bladder just started hurting thinking about that UConn/Butler game.
Mountaineers are savvy, tough, and love being dirty. But Titans are titans, and they don’t need to get dirty.
7. Florida Gators vs. 15. Detroit Titans
I’m as shocked as everyone else to see where we ended up. The Gators only chance in this matchup is if they have someone, anyone, who can walk among the gods, hold conversations with them, tell them what is what.
What’s that? There is a man?
It needed to end this way. And the battle is epic. But in the end, the Titans rise above, take the title and offer the Gators’ only chance a parting gift.
Congrats to the University of Detroit Mercy Titans!