Welcome back to the quest to find the mightiest school mascot.
The Round of 32 proved to be revealing. Apparently, I wildly overreacted to the Ohio State Buckeyes’ victory over the Iowa State Cyclones, since the buckeye was eaten by a cougar in its matchup with Houston (weird because cougars are carnivores). The Michigan Wolverine has shown far more courage than expected. It has now defeated a Florida Gator and a Montana Grizzly so far. The wolverine has easily had the toughest road of any team. The team with the easiest road? The Virginia Tech Hokies. They first defeated an early twentieth century doll (Saint Louis Billikens) and then a harmless amount of fire (Liberty Flames). Despite being an undefinable interjection, none of their wins have been major upsets. We’ll see if that changes.
Without further ado, let’s look at the Sweet 16:
Duke Blue Devils over Virginia Tech Hokies
Please don’t tell me we’re about to find out that the true way to defeat Satan is to yell “Hokie!” at him until he disappears in a cloud of black smoke. This game represents a significant increase in the strength of competition for the Hokies, and it would probably take a literal, divinely ordered miracle to win this matchup.
LSU Tigers over Michigan State Spartans
This would be one of the most exciting matchups. The ancients would make gladiators and tigers fight in an arena for sport in front of massive, cheering crowds. I really hate to pull this card out, but “Spartan” could mean literally anyone living in the ancient city of Sparta and not necessarily a Spartan warrior. So based on the likelihood of the Spartan being inexperienced at fighting tigers, I have to give the win to the tiger.
Florida State Seminoles over Gonzaga Bulldogs
Here’s a brief history of bulldogs. Originally, some wolves decided to follow humans around, realizing that eating humans’ scraps was easier than hunting their own prey. These craven canines eventually became fully domesticated and were bred to become less angry and less threatening. One of the more extreme examples is the lowly bulldog, who has become an animal that could not function in the wild. In fact, all the other wild animals would laugh when they saw one. Bulldogs are some of humanity’s cruelest inventions.
Texas Tech Red Raiders over Michigan Wolverines
I must confess, I underestimated the true inner strength of the wolverines. They have bested every mighty predator in their path. But recent environmental history has shown that these animals often find defeat at the hands of humans. The fight would probably end with the sound of a revolver firing as the red raider rides away victoriously.
Virginia Cavaliers over Oregon Ducks
The duck has found a way to pull off two consecutive upsets, albeit over a badger and an anteater. While this is impressive, humans on horses have proven nearly unstoppable in this tournament. I think the cavalier would have little trouble dispatching his feathered opponent.
Purdue Boilermakers over Tennessee Volunteers
The ultimate blue-collar matchup. Both the boilermaker and the volunteer would be willing to put in the time and labor to finish the job. However, I feel that the boilermaker would be slightly more motivated to win here. The boilermaker works to keep food on the table and a roof over his head. The volunteer is just doing this for fun. Once again, the boilermaker wins on sheer desire.
Auburn Tigers over North Carolina Tar Heels
I don’t know how many more times I need to say this, but tigers eat people. Tigers attack people, bite them, and claw them until they are dead, and then eat their flesh to satisfy their hunger. When tigers look at humans, their think, “I want that in my digestive system.” This will only be a fight for one of the combatants; for the other, it will be a meal.
Houston Cougars over Kentucky Wildcats
I am getting extremely tired of cats fighting. Wildcats, panthers, pumas, catamounts… If schools think having a feline mascot makes them uniquely intimidating, they are wrong (the sole exception being tigers). This battle is between a relatively strong cat and a cat of average strength. It does not matter in a larger context, as the presence of tigers in this tournament makes this matchup insignificant. Both cats just wish they were as strong and terrifying as a tiger.
As the tournament progresses, I must take a moment to recognize the one mascot that would absolutely have won had this team been invited to participate: the Tulsa Golden Hurricane. In recorded history, the world has yet to see a golden hurricane, but one can only imagine the vast destruction that one would bring. Imagine winds of over 50 miles per hour, blowing raindrops of solid gold through the air, and smashing windows, cars, and houses. The gold would fill streets and alleyways and flood whole neighborhoods. It is unclear whether the gold-related destruction would decrease or increase local property values. Regardless, no living thing could withstand such an event.
It’s a shame that Tulsa only finished with an 8-10 record in the American Athletic Conference.