Long before there was bracketology, before there was a Road to the Final Four, before school children burning effigies of Dick Vitale was recognized as a legitimate medium of performance art, there was mascotology, a jealously guarded secret of the phenomenologists.
Mascotology, unlike the left-brained, analytical, cognitively oriented methods employed by bracketologists, relies upon a wholistic, right-brained, apperception of the energetic vibrations emitted into the universe by team mascots to determine the winners of March Madness games. Indie Sport was recently privileged to have been granted access to the Ainokea sect of mascotology, where, in a ceremonial rite of passage, we were indoctrinated in the rudiments of the art.
Thus equipped, we are now prepared to scientifically test the hypothesis that mascotology will be as good as, if not better than, traditional forms of bracketology in predicting the winners of NCAA basketball tournament games this season. For each game throughout the tourney, we will predict the winner based upon which team's mascot would kick the other's derriere in a death match, all other factors being equal. And there will be no hiding here. Results will be posted.
Some choices will be obvious. For example, a Gator swallows a Buckeye every time. You can look it up. Other choices will be true tests. What happens when the Trojans meet the Big Red? Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know, you scallywags, but we're talking basketball here. The answer can only be revealed to the mascotologist when he or she becomes one with the vibe, which has a unique wavelength for any given matchup.
So, here goes, region by region. We'll keep you updated as the madness unfolds.
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Duking it out for the #16 seed in the East are the Mountaineers (Mt. St. Mary's) and the Eagles (Coppin State). One has a gun: Mt. St. Mary's.
The winner gets the Tar Heels (#1 North Carolina). You ever been under the heel of an entire state? Carolina crushes them.
The Volunteers (#2 Tennessee) shoot down the Eagles (#15 American). See above.
The Hoosiers (#8 Indiana) go up against the Razorbacks (#9 Arkansas). Hmmm, man versus pig. Go with Indiana.
We've got Bulldogs (#7 Butler) and Jaguars (#10 South Alabama). Seems like a no-brainer upset here. We'll take the Jags.
The Cardinals (#3 Louisville) fly circles around the Broncos (#14 Boise State) before running the poor beast into exhaustion.
The Fighting Irish (#5 Notre Dame) confront the Patriots (#12 George Mason). The Patriots get one shot, then have to reload. Never bet against an Irishman in a street fight, especially close to St. Patrick's Day. Notre Dame prevails.
The Sooners (#6 Oklahoma) tangle with the Hawks (#11 St. Joseph's). We keep getting men with guns taking on birds. Same result. The Sooners shoot down St. Joe's.
The Cougars (#4 Washington State) lie patiently in wait for the Eagles (#13 Winthrop) before devouring them. It's what cats do.
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The Jayhawks (#1 Kansas) take on the Vikings (#16 Portland State). The Vikings haven't been around since the 10th century. They won't be around at the end of this one either.
The Hoyas (#2 Georgetown) get a sniff of the Retrievers (Maryland-Baltimore County). Hoya means "what," and Georgetown is represented by a bulldog. Go figure. The bulldog thrashes the retriever, but it's legal here.
Next up are the Runnin' Rebels (#8 UNLV) versus the Golden Flashes (#9 Kent State). Man harnesses energy. Take the Rebels.
More Bulldogs (#7 Gonzaga) and a bunch of Wildcats (#10 Davidson). Rock, paper, scissors-- big cat eats little dog. Take Davidson.
Tigers (#5 Clemson) and more Wildcats (#12 Villanova). Ooh, this one's going to be ugly. Take the bigger cat.
The Badgers (#3 Wisconsin) and the Titans (#14 Cal State Fullerton). Have you ever seen an angry badger? The little ankle biter chews through the hapless giant and the Titans fall fast and hard.
The Commodores (#4 Vanderbilt) meet up with the Saints (#13 Siena). Aren't saints dead and commodores in charge? I'll go with the living. Take Vandy.
Finally, the Trojans (#6 USC) versus the Wildcats (#11 Kansas State). Let's see, an army of men and a bunch of cats. O.J. and his friends prevail.
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The Bruins (#1 UCLA) take on the Delta Devils (#16 Mississippi Valley State). Bears feed on creatures lurking in shallow waters. The Bruins feast.
The Blue Devils (#2 Duke) lock up with another set of Bruins (#15 Belmont). Don't be fooled. The Blue Devils are the elite mountain infantry of the French Army. Even the French Army can shoot a bear. Duke guns down Belmont.
The Cougars (#8 BYU) and the Aggies (#9 Texas A&M). Who do you take, an angry farmer or an angry cat? I'll take the farmer. Aggies gig 'em.
The Mountaineers (#7 West Virginia) face the Wildcats (#10 Arizona). Didn't we just do this one? The 'Cats are dead meat.
More Bulldogs (#5 Drake) meet the Hilltoppers (#12 Western Kentucky). Upset special. Man shoots beast and Western Kentucky moves on.
Ah, the Musketeers (#3 Xavier) take on . . . what, not again, the Bulldogs (#14 Georgia). Hide the children. The Musketeers slash through the canines.
More dogs. The Huskies (#4 Connecticut) meet the Toreros (#13 San Diego). Sounds like a lot of bull to me. U Conn mushes on.
Finally, the Boilermakers (#6 Purdue) drive their train right over the Bears (#11 Baylor) frozen on the tracks. Road kill for the Big 10.
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The Tigers (#1 Memphis) and the Mavericks (#16 Texas-Arlington). A maverick is an unbranded calf that's been separated from it's mother. Need I say more?
The Longhorns (#2 Texas) take on the Governors (#15 Austin Peay). Who's more dull witted? A steer or a politician? Hook 'em, Horns!
The, uh, Bulldogs-- I kid you not-- (#8 Mississippi State) butt heads with the Ducks (#9 Oregon). Duck soup for the Dogs.
We've got Hurricanes (#7 Miami) and Gaels (#10 St. Mary's). One is a storm, the other just sounds like one. Miami blows them away.
Here's one for all you intellectuals. The Cardinal (#3 Stanford) in a shady match-up with the Big Red (#14 Cornell). Cardinal being a more robust hue, it'll be the former Indians in a rout.
The Spartans (#5 Michigan State) eat a kettle full of Owls (#12 Temple) and advance, a little wiser for the experience.
The Golden Eagles (#6 Marquette) and yet another bunch of Wildcats (#11 Kentucky). Gotta be consistent here. It's the Cats hanging around til the end and then pouncing in an upset.
And last but not least, we've got the Panthers (#4 Pittsburgh) and another bunch of Golden Eagles (#13 Oral Roberts). Are you getting as tired of this scenario as I am? Patience, the herd is being culled. Pitt feasts.
Okay, that's it for now. I'm all vibed out. Should you pick up mascotological prognostications from the energetic field that conflict with those posted here, please channel them into comments so that we may better understand this rediscovered art. We'll keep you up to date as the results roll in.