2011 East Bracket, 2nd Round (1st Round)
I don’t know what I hate more: this expanded play-in format or the UAB Blazers. Back when the play-in was a 16 seed there was no way either mascot would beat a #1, so there was nothing to worry about. But now we’ve got frickin’ 12’s and 13’s that actually might have a shot, like when five Blazers take on 12 Mountaineers. Those damn dragons from Birmingham (not the one in England, ironically) screw up my bracket every time they get in because all the knight schools are so frickin’ weak…yeah, I’m looking at you Rutgers. I put the Buckeyes over them in the Sweet 16 through rationalizations like: Brutus has a 12-to-1 advantage; Newark, NJ is still chilly this time of year (dragons are reptiles, aren’t they?); and even though a buckeye nut is technically inedible, everybody prefers their nuts roasted, right?
Get it right next year, NCAA. Blacklist the bracket-killing Blazers!
Cleveland, OH-Those Roadrunners from San Antonio already entered unfamiliar territory a couple of days ago when they sprinted into Dayton to snack on some Hornets. Now Rowdy has to wander further into Buckeye territory and his reward…16 inedible, anthropomorphic nuts staring him right in the face (see photo above). You had a good run, Rowdy…pun intended.
Cleveland, OH-Looking for Gunston, that green Elmo knockoff that pranced all over our better judgement when George Mason made that Final Four run back in 2006? Yeah, well, “The Patriot,” that Benjamin Martin–William Wallace hybrid pictured above, took care of that problem…you know…Mel Gibson-style. If he’s willing to put down one of his own, and he gets a one mascot advantage over Will D. Cat from ‘Nova? “Freeeeeeeeeeeedooooooooooooom!”
Tampa, FL-Well, Clemson definitely gets the shorter commute, but by the time this dirty dozen hunting party of Mountaineers descends from West Virginia they’ll be itchin’ to collect some tiger pelts to go with those coon-skin hats. (I know a tiger pelt would clash with that tassled, mountain man get-up, but are you gonna tell him that?)
Tampa, FL-Everybody knows a tiger would kick the cat piss out of any other member of the feline family, and the wildcat is no exception. (*sniff, sniff* Anybody else smell that ammonia?) But, Kentucky is much closer to Tampa than Princeton, so that quartet of tigers is already going to be fatigued when they square off with a baker’s dozen-worth of wildcats. With better than a three-to-one advantage, those wily wildcats will prove too much for those majestic, old tigers.
Cleveland, OH-Everybody pictures musketeers as the Frenchy, Musketeers of the Guard, that would take any man in a sword fight and look good doing it. Xavier’s D’Artagnan is modeled after that stereotype. But, musketeers were more commonly regiments of soldiers outfitted with muskets. I know we should introduce these Francophiles to duck blinds and ten-gauge shotguns, but when a half dozen Golden Eagles from Marquette practically fly right into Xavier’s (Cincinnati, OH) backyard, they’ll know what to do with those muskets.
Cleveland, OH-This is the battle of the identity crises. Syracuse dropped the “men” from Orangemen back in 2004 because they wanted to distance themselves from a controversial Protestant group in Northern Ireland with the same name. Yeah, like anybody was going to mix them up with a school in central New York. What really happened is they were probably feeling some internal pressure from a gaggle of sexually repressed feminists that infest every college, and they caved the same way they did when they axed the Saltine Warrior back in ’78. Spineless, just like an orange. Sycamore Sam from Indiana State is supposed to be a “happy forest creature.” What?! After how many happy forest mushrooms? I’d like to eliminate both of these disgraceful mascots, but I guess you could beat the happy out of most forest creatures with a 14-count bag of citrus.
Charlotte, NC-Is it just me, or does Harry the Husky look like the love child of a bear and Martin Scorsese? Washington might be bringing superior numbers, but Georgia clearly holds the geographic advantage. What to do when confronted with such a stalemate? Consult YouTube, of course. Despite the size disadvantage, the bulldog lands a ton of body shots while making all sorts of noise to keep the judges attention. The husky did get in a couple of good jabs towards the end of the round, but the judges award the match to the bulldog in a tight decision.
Charlotte, NC-Does anybody like blackbirds? They’re ugly, noisy and are always picking the entrails out of road kill. Nice choice Long Island. Does anybody know what a Tar Heel is? It either refers to the traditional tar and turpentine industry in Carolina, or the reluctance of soldiers from North Carolina to retreat in the Civil War. How that evolves into a Ram with some tar on his mitts, only UNC could answer. Regardless, feathers will fly when this pair of blackbirds fly into Rameses’ territory.
Winner: Tar Heels