I’ve never been a fan of college basketball, but I am a big fan of mascots. Thus, I’ve taken the idea from Slate and ran with it (though frankly, they’ve done a much better job than I do). Forget “bracket-ology,” studying rosters, strength of schedules and a given team’s record on the third Tuesday of every month when it’s rained in the 90 minutes preceding tip-off. Forget rankings, conference tourneys and what the Vegas odds makers. THIS is how March (Mascot) Madness is going to go down: in real life, which mascot would eat/maim/runover the other?
You’d better hold onto to your black and gold socks, Mizzou fans, because I have the Jayhawks losing in the first round!
Feel free to steal my picks above for your own bracket, but I’d like a 10 percent royalty on any winnings. Will keep things on the honor system, okie doke? I won’t bore you with a blow-by-blow run down of every game, though I thought through each match up very carefully (the UConn Huskies are used to inclement weather, and thus are very well prepared to face a Cyclone shaped like a bird from Ames, Iowa). But let’s cut to the chase and take a look at my Final Four:
Baylor Bears over Mizzou Tigers: This is a tough Big XII rematch. On the surface, they’re pretty evenly matched. No, I’m not talking about shooting percentages or points off the bench; they’re both large land mammals with big teeth and fearsome claws. Heck, both even like to spend time in the water (and frankly, that little trick is what is going to give Mizzou the edge over the BYU Cougars in the fourth round)! It will be neck and neck the entire game. In the end, though, I think the win is going to go to Baylor simply because of the weight/height advantage (though the Tigers have a slight edge in speed/natural jungle camouflage/props in Siegfried and Roy magic shows). I’m sorry, Mizzou fans. Don’t blame me, blame Mother Nature.
Alabama Crimson Tide over the Montana Grizzlies: No one will expect a 13 seed to make it this far, and alas, the Grizzlies will go no further. Elephants never forget, so they will bring up that one really embarrassing thing that the Grizzlies told the Crimson Tide back at camp years ago, even though they pinky swore they’d never tell anyone. I’m sorry, Montana, but you’re knocked out of the tournament AND everyone knows you wet the bed.
NCAA Tourney Championship: Baylor Bears vs. Alabama Crimson Tide: I bet you’re expecting a replay of the previous round, simply because a bear and grizzly are the exact same, so they should have the same outcome, right? Well, you’re right – ‘Bama is going to beat Baylor for the championship – but not for the reason you’re thinking.
You see, the Baylor Bears went to the summer camp across the lake from the Crimson Tide and Montana. Even though they met briefly during the Intra-Camp Olympics (the Bears from Waco won the three legged race AND capture the flag that year, but the Zips from Akron cheated and took home the prize for best popsicle stick sculpture), they didn’t have enough interaction for the Crimson Tide to get any gossipy dirt on the Bears. The fact that an elephant never forgets is irrelevant.
What is relevant, however, is that while the mascot of Alabama is a pachyderm, that’s not what “Crimson Tide” refers to. The nickname is shout out to huge patches of sea water that occasionally turning red due to a poisonous algae. Normally, this wouldn’t be a problem, because, as we all know, bears typically do not frequent the toxic shores of southern Alabama. No, they prefer spend their Spring Breaks at the Dr Pepper Museum not far from their campus. Ah, but the finals games are played in New Orleans, a metropolis famous for its inability to hold back the tides. The levees will break, and Alabama will cut down the nets as the tournament champion. As the Bears drown in poisonous waters from the Gulf.
Man, New Orleans just cannot catch a break!
Let me know if you disagree with any of my picks in the comments; I’ll be happy to defend my matchup!