We continue with our analysis of the all-mascot bracket with the Round of 32. Will the surprising success of double digit seeds continue? Or will the high seeds battle back?
Round of 32
(1) Kansas Jayhawks vs. (8) Colorado State Rams
Before CAM the Ram was chosen, Colorado State used a black bear cub as their mascot. So, in a way, the ram is a direct, albeit distant, descendant of a bear.
Winner: Colorado State Rams
(12) South Dakota State Jackrabbits vs. (13) Hawaii Rainbow Warriors
Past ferocity can’t carry the Rainbow Warriors through the second round. Not having an official mascot has caught up to them and their Cinderella story ends early.
(11) Wichita State Shockers vs. (14) Buffalo Bulls
The official name of the Buffalo Bull is Victor E., a little too cocky for a team with only two tournament appearances in the last decade.
(10) Temple Owls vs. (15) UNC Asheville Bulldogs
Temple started as a night school and the nocturnal owl was easily chosen as a representation of the dedicated students. Plus, Hooter the Owl (the other Temple mascot) has a big birthday celebration with a bunch of other mascots every February.
Round of 32
(8) Saint Joseph’s Hawks vs (16) Holy Cross Crusaders
When asked for advice to give young athletes, Iggy suggested that they “Bleed Purple.” While it’s an impressive amount of school spirit, it’s a missed chance to teach young kids about the importance of hard work and not quitting. Which, incidentally, are the two things that the Hawk personifies in its non-stop flapping.
(4) Duke Blue Devils vs. (5) Baylor Bears
Irving Berlin once described the Blue Devils as “strong and active, most attractive.” Though he was unquestionably talking about the French Blue Devils, it still sounds pretty nice.
(3) Texas A&M Aggies vs. (6) Texas Longhorns
Bevo’s first football game was a 21-7 victory in 1916. They beat Texas A&M.
Winner: Texas Longhorns
(2) Oklahoma Sooners vs. (10) VCU Rams
The official mascot of the Sooners is a covered wagon known as the Sooner Schooner. In 1915, an old woman shouted at a group of excited and rowdy students to sit down and be quite. She called them roughnecks in true old-timey spirit. In a true display of respecting your elders, the group adopted the name and today the RUF/NEKS steer the Schooner around the stadium. And rumor has it they’re the oldest men’s pep organization in the country.
Round of 32
(1) North Carolina Tar heels vs. (8) USC Trojans
The story behind the choosing of a ram is a story of one man’s determination. Head cheerleader Vic Huggins decided the school needed a mascot. Coincidentally, Jack “Battering Ram” Merrit was a popular player on the team. Vic thought a ram would work, went to the University’s Business Manager, asked for $25 to buy one and ordered a ram from Texas. Actually…it sounds like a pretty smooth process.
(12) Chattanooga Mocs vs (13) Stony Brook Seawolves
The Seawolf is part of the cultural history of the Tlingit tribe, a group indigenous to the Pacific Northwest Coast. Seawolves are said to bring good luck if anyone is able to see one. And sometimes a little luck is all that’s needed for a win.
(3) West Virginia Mountaineers vs. (11) Michigan Wolverines
The Mountaineer is not required to grow a beard, but whoever portrays him usually does anyway. That’s true dedication to the role. A mongoose is fierce, but people don’t suggest that you fear the beard for nothing.
(2) Xavier Musketeers vs. (7) Wisconsin Badgers
Bucky’s full name is Buckingham U. Badger. The Library of Congress has given Buckingham an official birthday: October 2nd, 1940. But all of these strengths ultimately fall short because the Xavier Musketeer has a sidekick named the Blue Blob. He is a blue blob.
Round of 32
(1) Virginia Cavaliers vs. (8) Texas Tech Red Raiders
Virginia is usually represented by the ‘Hoo, but in the past they had two dogs named Beta and Seal. Beta was considered a full member of the student body and regularly attended lectures on Plato. Seal was welcomed in restaurants that had signs reading “No Dogs Allowed (except Seal).” Adorable.
(5) Purdue Boilermakers vs. (13) Iona Gaels
A Gael is any person who has Irish-Gaelic ancestry, an appropriate nod the school’s Irish heritage. But you can ride on the Boilermaker special for free on Fridays in the fall. That’s an alliteration we can all get behind.
(3) Utah Utes vs. (10) Seton Hall
Swoop is the name of the red-tailed hawk mascot for Utah. But Swoop and Ute don’t rhyme and they’re just close enough to make that an issue.
(2) Michigan State Spartans vs. (10) Syracuse Orange
Sparty’s costume is made out of vinyl and the same type of fiberglass molds that the Muppets are made from. He costs nearly $8,000 and is completely washable.