If March Madness Was a Fight to the Death Between Mascots, Who Would Win?

The stadium scene.
March 14 2012 3:13 PM

Badgers or Grizzlies? Cyclone or Huskies?

If the NCAA Tournament were a fight to the death between mascots, who would win?

(Continued from Page 2)

East Region

No. 1 Syracuse Orange vs. No. 16 UNC-Asheville Bulldogs

Another team undone by a nickname change. A band of Orangemen—Syracuse’s nickname until 2004—would have been heavily favored here, but a color, lacking three-dimensionality, is unlikely to pose much of a threat. The only exception we can think of would be a matchup between bulls and crimson.

No. 8 Kansas State Wildcats vs. No. 9 Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles

A classic 8-9 pairing, with the competitors so evenly matched that a standoff seems inevitable. Golden eagles routinely prey on foxes and small cats, while many wildcats’ diets include small- to medium-size birds. Either could prevail, given the element of surprise. We’ll take the vigilant raptors to win in overtime while the wildcats are napping.

No. 5 Vanderbilt Commodores vs. No. 12 Harvard Crimson

Advertisement

Again with the colors. Vanderbilt’s namesake, the shipping magnate Cornelius Vanderbilt, wasn’t actually a naval commander—“Commodore” was a nickname, and he was known for piling up wealth, not enemy bodies. In this matchup, however, military prowess is not required.

No. 4 Wisconsin Badgers vs. No. 13 Montana Grizzlies

Once a sneaky sleeper pick, like Gonzaga, badgers—in particular the honey variety—have burst into the mainstream consciousness of late, and their tenacity is no longer a secret. While they may be nasty and fearless, the badgers would be better-served by caution in this matchup. Grizzlies might seem peaceful, even gentle, but getting too close to them is not a good idea.

Illustration by Charlie Powell.

Illustration by Charlie Powell.

No. 6 Cincinnati Bearcats vs. No. 11 Texas Longhorns

Befitting a team from Texas, the longhorns have a huge size advantage, and unlike the rams, their horns are built to impale. Bearcats, also known as binturongs, have a bearish gait and body shape, but their face—and more importantly, their size—is closer to that of a cat. One of only two carnivores with a prehensile tail, they’re agile tree climbers, so they might elude the bulls for a time by scaling the hoop or the rafters. Territorial, they warn off predators by emitting a popcorn-scented musk, and they can be vicious when cornered. In an up-tempo contest, they’d be a tough out, but these ankle-biters just aren’t built to take down 1,000-pound cattle.

No. 3 Florida State Seminoles vs. No. 14 St. Bonaventure Bonnies

What’s a Bonnie? The logo depicts a wolf, but according to this promotional video, it’s actually a St. Bonaventure student: a Christian who is mentally disciplined, and who “thinks they’re extraordinary” and “going to go places.” Those hopes and dreams are going to get crushed against the Seminoles, whose warriors used guerrilla tactics to confound better-armed militia and U.S. Army forces for eight years in the 19th century’s Second Seminole War.

No. 7 Gonzaga Bulldogs vs. No. 10 West Virginia Mountaineers

Bred for the medieval sport of bull-baiting, in which people placed bets on dogs to bring down tethered bulls by the nose, bulldogs are stocky and tenacious. No lone mountaineer would like to be attacked by a pack of them. But in a five-on-five battle, we trust the humans’ ingenuity.

No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes vs. No. 15 Loyola Greyhounds

Buckeyes can refer either to a type of deciduous tree related to the horse chestnut or to the nuts thereof; the Ohio State mascot implies the latter. The greyhounds, overjoyed with their first-round pairing, must be careful not to choke. 

TODAY IN SLATE

Foreigners

More Than Scottish Pride

Scotland’s referendum isn’t about nationalism. It’s about a system that failed, and a new generation looking to take a chance on itself. 

iOS 8 Comes Out Today. Do Not Put It on Your iPhone 4S.

Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You

Three Talented Actresses in Three Terrible New Shows

The Human Need to Find Connections in Everything

It’s the source of creativity and delusions. It can harm us more than it helps us.

Jurisprudence

Happy Constitution Day!

Too bad it’s almost certainly unconstitutional.

What Charles Barkley Gets Wrong About Corporal Punishment and Black Culture

My Father Was James Brown. I Watched Him Beat My Mother. Then I Married Someone Like Him.

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 17 2014 12:02 PM Here It Is: The Flimsiest Campaign Attack Ad of 2014, Which Won’t Stop Running
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 17 2014 12:13 PM “For a While Liquidity Led to Stupidity”
  Life
The Eye
Sept. 17 2014 12:19 PM Early Cancer Hospitals Were Modeled on French Castles, Served Champagne
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Slate Fare
Sept. 17 2014 9:37 AM Is Slate Too Liberal?  A members-only open thread.
  Arts
Behold
Sept. 17 2014 11:06 AM Inside the Exclusive World of Members-Only Clubs
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 17 2014 12:35 PM iOS 8 Comes Out Today. Do Not Put It on Your iPhone 4S.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 17 2014 11:18 AM A Bridge Across the Sky
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.