Some notable matchups:
- #5 Michigan State Spartans vs. #12 New Mexico State Aggies (Round 1). While I have to admit that Spartans is at least a little more original, I would bet New Mexico State is the only "Aggies" team whose mascot carries a gun. Maybe the only mascot of any kind that has a gun. Also, the Spartan is named Sparty and he looks like Jay Leno. Sparty? Come on. Winner: Aggies
- #8 UNLV Rebels vs. #9 Northern Iowa Panthers (Round 1). Both pretty boring, honestly. But the Panthers mascot is TC Panther. An homage to T.C. Boyle, perhaps? Or a nod to the school's founder whose name was T.C. Something-Or-Other? Nope, it stands for "The Cat". Really. But he's won all kinds of awards at cheer competitions and stuff, so I'll give it to him. Winner: Panthers
- #3 Georgetown Hoyas vs. #14 Ohio Bobcats (Round 1). It turns out, no one is quite sure what a Hoya is. It may have come from this weird Greek/Latin mishmash phrase that students used to say, but no one quite knows why they said it. I can't decide if it's kind of cool that they're willing to use a mascot that they don't even know what it is, or if it's really tooly, like having a tattoo of a Chinese character on your ankle without knowing what it means. Luckily, they're up against one of the most boring and generic mascots ever. Winner: Hoyas.
- #2 Ohio State Buckeyes vs. #15 UCSB Gauchos (Round 1). I think you guys know where I'm going with this. It's a nut. Or a... big seed. Or something. Winner: Gauchos.
- #7 Oklahoma State Cowboys vs. #10 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (Round 1). Normally I would go with the bees on this, because I think it would be the only chance for an insect to make it to the second round. But it turns out the mascot for the the Cowboys is Pistol Pete, a name I recognized from when I read about New Mexico State a few minutes before. It turns out the same guy is the mascot of two different schools. Technically, I can't let him be eliminated in the first round and make it to the second round at the same time. It might cause a rip in the spacetime continuum or something! Winner, by a spatial-temporal technicality: Cowboys.
- #4 Vanderbilt Commodores vs. Murray State Racers (Round 1). I think this is my favorite first round matchup. "Commodore" reminds me of the stuffy British sailors in Pirates of the Caribbean who are always running around with bayonets asking each other how the hell Jack Sparrow has escaped yet again. Racers, on the other hand, refers to racehorses, which sounds like a team you can bet on. Literally. I have to admit, there aren't too many teams named after people instead of animals, that actually sound cool. Winner: Commodores.
- #2 Kansas State Wildcats vs. #15 North Texas Mean Green (Round 1). Normally, I would eliminate a mascot that's a color, instantly. But unlike the Syracuse Orange or the Stanford Cardinal, at least they thought to add some sort of adjective to it. And they're up against one of the most unoriginal things ever, yet another Wildcats. Winner: Mean Green.
- #5 Temple Owls vs. #12 Cornell Big Red (Round 1). Remember Owl from Winnie the Pooh? He was awesome. Winner: Owls.
- #4 Wisconsin Badgers vs. # 13 Wofford Terriers (Round 1). I was about ready to give this to the Terriers because they're so cute. Until I remembered that, when I was in high school, badgers were the funniest damn thing in the world. If there's a "Fighting Mushrooms" or "Garden Snakes" in the tournament next year, I promise to put them through to at least the Sweet Sixteen. Winner: Badgers.
- #7 Clemson Tigers vs. #10 Missouri Tigers, and #5 Texas A&M Aggies vs. #12 Utah State Aggies (Round 1). What the hell, guys? How did this happen? All four of you lose the first round.
- #11 Old Dominion Monarchs vs. #14 Sam Houston State Bearkats (Round 2). Yes, with a 'k'. What the hell is a bearkat? I can only assume it's a cross between a bear and a kat. I bet that kind of unholy hybrid would be pretty good at basketball. Unfortunately, this bracket is rigged. See below. Winner: Monarchs.
- #11 Old Dominion Monarchs vs. #15 Robert Morris Colonials (Sweet 16). AMERICA! Winner: Colonials.
- #1 Kansas Jayhawks vs. #4 Maryland Terrapins (Sweet 16). I know, I know. How did a turtle make it this far?! But look at him. That looks like a pretty badass turtle. And plus, his name is Testudo. Like a combination of testosterone and Menudo. Obviously pretty badass. And, did you know the Jayhawk is a mythical cross between two birds -- the noisy blue jay and the quiet sparrow hawk? So these are some pretty sweet mascots. But ultimately, the power of flight wins out over the power of... plodding. Winner: Jayhawks.
- #15 Robert Morris Colonials vs. #9 Wake Forest Demon Deacons (Final 4). I hate to see America lose this one, but isn't a "demon deacon" like being a double-agent in the ultimate war? Winner: Demon Deacons.
The complete bracket:
- There are too many Golden Somethings. You can't take a boring mascot like a Bear and make it somehow interesting by calling it a Golden Bear. Come on. I think there were four of these.
- If your team name is literally a color, I have no respect for you at all. Figure it out, Syracuse.
- I wish there could have been a matchup between the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and the Richmond Spiders.