It’s that time of year again: Mascot Madness! That’s right, the 68 mascots in this NCAA Tournament are facing off in the same bracket format as the actual tourney itself. The seeding is the same, but upsets and great matchups are sure to come. Let’s get to the South Regional to start it off.
South Regional First Round:
- (1) Florida vs (16) Albany
- After winning the play-in game, the Great Danes face a tough test against the Florida Gators. Let’s compare:
- Florida- Albert the Alligator:
- Albany- The Great Dane:
- Breakdown: The Great Dane’s recent scuffle with a fellow mascot doesn’t help his already weak cause. Albert the Alligator is one of the most iconic mascots in all of sports. Like most 1 vs 16 games, this one’s a blowout. Florida wins.
- (8) Colorado vs (9) Pittsburgh
- Ralphie the Buffalo and Roc the Panther battle in an intriguing 8/9 matchup.
- Colorado- Ralphie the Buffalo:
- Pittsburgh: Roc the Panther:
- Breakdown: In football season, the Buffaloes have a live mascot. During basketball season, they go with the costumed one. Either way, they beat Pitt in this one. Ralphie is much more lovable and much less creepy than Roc. Colorado wins in a close one.
- (5) VCU vs (12) Stephen F. Austin
- Rodney the Ram and the Lumberjack collide in an entertaining matchup between intimidating mascots.
- Rodney the Ram:
- The Lumberjack:
- Breakdown: Rodney the Ram is a cool, intimidating mascot, but we’re talking about a real lumberjack here. A 12-seed always upsets a 5, and this just had to happen. SFA chops up the Rams. Stephen F. Austin wins.
- (4) UCLA vs (13) Tulsa
- Joe Bruin hopes to avoid an upset against Captain Cane.
- Joe Bruin:
- Captain Cane:
- Breakdown: The UCLA Bruin represents simplicity and tradition. Captain Cane is a weird-looking superhero. The bear is tops. UCLA wins.
- (6) Ohio State vs (11) Dayton
- Brutus the Buckeye hopes to knock off Rudy Flyer in this first-round matchup.
- Brutus the Buckeye: Rudy Flyer:
- Breakdown: This one isn’t even close. Rudy Flyer is extremely creepy and has the tendency to scare small children and adults alike. He must be eliminated from the tournament before it’s too late. Brutus wins in a blowout.
- (3) Syracuse vs (14) Western Michigan
- Otto the Orange faces Buster Bronco.
- Buster Bronco:
- Breakdown: I would love to say this one is close, but it’s not. Otto the Orange is one of the most famous mascots in the NCAA. Buster Bronco has no chance. Syracuse wins.
- (7) New Mexico vs (10) Stanford
- Lobo Louie and the Tree do battle in hopes to get to the Round of 32
- Lobo Louie:
- The Tree:
- Breakdown: It’s a tree. As much as Stanford fans like to hype it up, it’s only a tree. Lobo Louie is far more impressive. New Mexico wins.
- (2) Kansas vs (15) Eastern Kentucky
- Big Jay:
- The Colonel:
- Breakdown: With all respect to the Colonel, who looks pretty cool, Big Jay is one of the best mascots in the game. The mythical 15 over 2 upset will not happen this time. Kansas wins
South Regional- Round of 32 Games
- (1) Florida vs (8) Colorado
- Breakdown: The Gator survives in a matchup that wasn’t even close. Roc the Panther would have had a better chance against Albert here. Too bad he couldn’t win against Ralphie. Florida wins
- (12) Stephen F. Austin vs (4) UCLA
- Breakdown: The Lumberjack’s Cinderella run continues as he upsets Joe Bruin to advance to the Sweet 16. Lumberjacks are infinitely cooler than teddy bears like Joe. Stephen F. Austin wins
- (6) Ohio State vs (3) Syracuse
- Breakdown: I want to go with Brutus here because if I eliminate a tree it only makes sense that I eliminate an orange, right? But something about Otto keeps him alive. Can’t put my finger on it, but SU lives in Mascot Madness. Syracuse wins
- (7) New Mexico vs (2) Kansas
- Breakdown: This one’s tight. Louie Lobo is cool and pretty intimidating, but I think I have to go “Chalk” here. Kansas wins
South Regional- Semifinals (Sweet 16)
- (1) Florida vs (12) Stephen F. Austin
- Breakdown: Albert Gator vs the Lumberjack. It’s a tough call. In the end, the Lumberjack’s run ends here. The intimidation factor doesn’t work against Albert, he’s too experienced for that. Florida wins
- (2) Kansas vs (3) Syracuse
- Breakdown: Both of these mascots have Final Four potential, but only one will make it to the Elite Eight. Otto had a nice win over Brutus, but Jay is just too cool to lose in the Sweet 16. There’s a reason the Missouri mayor wanted to change the state bird to the Kansas Jayhawk a few years ago. Kansas wins
South Regional Final (Elite Eight)
- (1) Florida vs (2) Kansas
- Breakdown: Two legendary mascots who could both have been in the Final Four if they were in different regions. In the end, I’m going with the more recognizable mascot, and that one resides in the land of palm trees. Florida wins and goes to the Final Four.
Check back tomorrow for the next region!