Which NCAA Mascot is Most Fearsome? Part 2
Welcome back to our breakdown of the 2013 NCAA men’s basketball tournament based school nicknames and mascots. In Part 1, we looked at the Midwest and West Regions based on "FARM" ("Ferocity Above Replacement Mascot") and crowned two regional champions, the Oklahoma State Cowboys and Iowa State Cyclones.
Next up: the South and East Regions, plus the Final Four and National Championship game. Who will be crowned the tournament's most ferocious team? Let's get to it.
South Region - Round of 64
No. 1 Kansas Jayhawks vs. No. 16 Western Kentucky Hilltoppers
The Jayhawks have a relatively low FARM (though the story behind the Jayhawk name is interesting), but benefit from an easy matchup with the Hilltoppers. According to an article on the WKU website, the Hilltoppers got their name from the school moving up the hill to a new location in 1911. The Jayhawk is a combination of two birds - “the blue jay, a noisy, quarrelsome thing known to rob other nests, and the sparrow hawk, a quiet, stealthy, hunter.” Advantage: Jayhawks
No. 8 North Carolina Tar Heels vs. No. 9 Villanova Wildcats
Villanova’s logo is a pretty ferocious looking cat, with sharp fangs and claws prominently displayed, giving it a relatively high FARM. On the other side, there are several different stories behind the nickname Tar Heel, but the most common one is that it’s just the name of someone from the state of North Carolina. While that person might have a gun, we don’t know that to be the case. A check of the school’s mascot doesn’t really help UNC’s case -- it’s a ram. Advantage: Wildcats
No. 5 VCU Rams vs. No. 12 Akron Zips
Poor Zips. While they have a unique nickname, it’s lacking in FARM. According to Akron’s website, the origin of the nickname is based on a rubber shoe. That’s right, a shoe. We’re going to go ahead and assume that a Ram will absolutely annihilate a poor, defenseless rubber shoe. (Note: Akron’s mascot is Zippy the Kangaroo. This does not help its case.) Advantage: Rams.
No. 4 Michigan Wolverines vs. No. 13 South Dakota State Jackrabbits
No matter how fast those pesky Jackrabbits run, they are no match for the mighty Wolverine (no I’m not talking about the X-Men character, although hello Hugh Jackman). Michigan looks like it will be going a long way on the strength of its high FARM. Wolverines are pretty damn ferocious. Advantage: Wolverines
No. 6 UCLA Bruins vs. No. 11 Minnesota Golden Gophers
The Bruin isn’t a scary bear (he is a hairy bear, he beat a hasty retreat to his lair), but a bear should beat a gopher. Imagine the two of them meeting in the wild. You really going to put your money on the gopher? It’s a bear. A bear has a pretty strong FARM. Advantage: Bruins
No. 3 Florida Gators vs. No. 14 Northwestern State Demons
This is another tricky one. I’m sure that Demons have magical mystical powers that can be used for evil purposes. And based on the representation of the mascot in the school’s logo, that is one evil-looking demon. But we’re giving the edge to the Gators to gobble up the Demons before they can unleash their powers. Both have high FARMs but chomp wins out. Advantage: Gators
No. 7 San Diego State Aztecs vs. No. 10 Oklahoma Sooners
This is a great one matching up two human mascots with positive FARM. The logo of SDSU shows a spear or an arrowhead, so they are embracing their warrior qualities. The Sooners travel by covered wagon. The smart money says go with the warriors with spears over the settlers in the pretty little surrey with the fringe on the top. Advantage: Aztecs.
No. 2 Georgetown Hoyas vs. No. 15 Florida Gulf Coast Eagles
It's another big upset of the Round of 64. Check out this article from the Georgetown website answering the question of “What is a Hoya?” It is not helpful. A Hoya is...honestly it’s unclear. We could use the Bulldog that has become Georgetown’s de facto mascot, but that seems unfair to the FGCU Eagles. Eagles are scary birds with a decent FARM. Advantage: Eagles.
South Region - Round of 32
No 1. Kansas Jayhawks vs. No. 9 Villanova Wildcats
Kansas squeaked through to the next round by virtue of an easy first round matchup. The Wildcats are a terrible matchup for the Jayhawks. Cats over birds. It’s just science. Advantage: Wildcats
No. 4 Michigan Wolverines vs. No. 5 VCU Rams
This would be a fun matchup to watch in nature if you’re into that sort of thing (and of course there is a website devoted to that if you’re interested). Rams are strong and tough and have a FARM high enough to win most matchups. But once again, the Wolverines prove stronger and tougher. Advantage: Wolverines
No. 3 Florida Gators vs. No. 6 UCLA Bruins
Another tough matchup in the Round of 32. Both Gators and Bruins have high FARMs. If you were to encounter either of them in the wild, you’d run for your life. But if they faced each other? That’s another story. The Gators have a slight advantage in that they can approach from below and take the Bruins out by the legs. Based on this ridiculous logic, Florida wins by another chomp. Advantage: Gators
No. 7 San Diego State Aztecs vs. No. 15 Florida Gulf Coast Eagles
The Eagle might be able to avoid the Aztec for a while by flying around but eventually, the Aztec warrior and his spear will hunt the Eagle down. A hunter always catches its prey. Advantage: Aztecs
South Region - Regional Semifinals
No. 4 Michigan Wolverines vs. No. 9 Villanova Wildcats
Talk about a bloodbath. This regional semi has all the makings for a classic wild animal fight club. Both have FARMs that are off the charts. But an angry Wolverine has got to be a scary beast. According to ChaCha.com, “wolverines have a reputation of being able to kill animals much larger than themselves, so I think they’d beat a wildcat.” Done and done. Advantage: Wolverines
No. 3 Florida Gators vs. No. 7 San Diego State Aztecs
This is not an easy one, but ultimately you have to assume that a human with a weapon can defeat an animal. Even one with as high a FARM as a Gator. Advantage: Aztecs
South Region - Regional Finals
No. 4 Michigan Wolverines vs. No. 7 San Diego State Aztecs
The end has finally arrived for the vaunted Wolverines. They had great matchups up until now, where they now encounter a human with a weapon. Humans with weapons defeat animals. Even another ferocious animal might have given the Wolverines a shot. But the Aztecs win out and advance to the Final Four. They don't have the highest FARM but took advantage of favorable matchups.
South Region winner: San Diego State Aztecs
East Region - Round of 64
Play-in game: No. 16 LIU Brooklyn Blackbirds vs. No. 16 James Madison Dukes
This is a tough play-in game to call, but since Blackbirds have the power to swoop in and peck at a person or animal, this is potentially terrifying. Advantage: Blackbirds
No. 1 Indiana Hoosiers vs. No. 16 LIU Brooklyn Blackbirds
A Hoosier is simply someone from Indiana and the school has no mascot to provide additional information about how it looks. Given this, we almost gave the No. 16 seed the upset. Then we remembered that the great Ron Swanson is a native of Indiana. And Ron Swanson would certainly handle any Blackbird that stands in his way. It’s just logic. Advantage: Hoosiers
No. 8 NC State Wolfpack vs. No. 9 Temple Owls
Even a single wolf would defeat an owl. But a pack of wolves? That’s just not fair. Is there anything more intimidating than a pack of wolves? FARM is off the charts here. NC State moves on easily to the next round. Advantage: Wolfpack
No. 5 UNLV Runnin’ Rebels vs. No. 12 Cal Golden Bears
Bears have a fairly high FARM, but have a tough matchup with a gun-toting, large-mustached Runnin’ Rebel. An armed human is going to defeat the animal, even one as strong as a golden bear. Advantage: Runnin’ Rebels
No. 4 Syracuse Orange vs. No. 13 Montana Grizzlies
Colors really have no chance, but even looking at the mascot doesn’t help Syracuse. While Otto the Orange is compellingly entertaining with his giant orange body and skinny legs, he’s no match for the Grizzlies and their high FARM. Goodbye, Syracuse. Advantage: Grizzlies
No. 6 Butler Bulldogs vs. No. 11 Bucknell Bison
Bulldogs are feisty dogs, but Bison are large animals. While they don’t appear overly threatening at first glance, Wikipedia provides this information: “The bison's temperament is often unpredictable. They usually appear peaceful, unconcerned, even lazy, yet they may attack anything, often without warning or apparent reason.” The sudden nature of the attack gives the Bison a surprisingly high FARM. Advantage: Bison
No. 3 Marquette Golden Eagles vs. 14 Davidson Wildcats
We have to go with a predator eagle over the feisty wildcat. Eagles have high FARM for birds. The wildcat would eventually give in to the tenacious eagle’s attack. Advantage: Golden Eagles.
No. 7 Illinois Fighting Illini vs. No. 10 Colorado Buffalo
I’m sure the committee didn’t intend this, but looks like we have an actual historical matchup here. Armed humans defeat animals. And we all know how this ends: badly for the buffalo. Advantage: Fighting Illini
No. 2 Miami Hurricanes vs. 15 Pacific Tigers
If this were Life of Pi, then we could make an argument that a tiger could survive a storm at sea. But since we’re not a book or a movie, even one as good as Life of Pi, we’re sticking with Mother Nature destroying everything in her wake, even the strongest of tigers. Advantage: Hurricanes
East Region - Round of 32
No. 1 Indiana Hoosiers vs. No. 8 NC State Wolfpack
A pack of wolves is fierce and has an extremely high FARM. Yet we believe that if there is one person who could vanquish a pack of wolves singlehandedly, that person is Ron Swanson, Indiana native. Advantage: Hoosiers
No. 5 UNLV Runnin’ Rebels vs. No. 13 Montana Grizzlies
We’ve said previously that armed humans typically defeat even the most dangerous predator. The Grizzlies have one of the highest FARMs, but have come up against the only non-mother nature opponent that can vanquish them. Tough break, Grizzlies. Advantage: Runnin’ Rebels.
No. 3 Marquette Golden Eagles vs. No. 11 Bucknell Bison
This wasn’t an easy one to pick, given the Bison’s large size. But we think the Bison will eventually succomb to the tenacity of the Golden Eagle. It’s a gut call more than anything based on the Eagles’ slightly higher FARM. Advantage: Golden Eagles
No. 2 Miami Hurricanes vs. No. 7 Illinois Fighting Illini
This isn't complicated. Hurricanes destroy everything in their path. The Fighting Illini are no exception. Advantage: Hurricanes
East Region - Regional Semifinal
No. 1 Indiana Hoosiers vs. No. 5 UNLV Runnin’ Rebels
It’s Ron Swanson against the Runnin’ Rebels. Both have magnificent mustaches. Both are fearless. Both love meat (note: we’re assuming the Rebel loves meat, we don’t know that for a fact). We love Ron Swanson but we’ve already taken his heroism as far as it can go. He singlehandedly defeated a pack of wolves in the previous round and is likely celebrating with all of the bacon and eggs. Advantage: Runnin’ Rebels
No. 2 Miami Hurricanes vs. No. 3 Marquette Golden Eagles
The Eagles can fly as fast as their wings can take them, but they can’t escape Mother Nature. Advantage: Hurricanes.
East Region - Regional Final
No. 2 Miami Hurricanes vs. No. 5 UNLV Runnin’ Rebels
It was a great run for the Runnin’ Rebels but Mother Nature once again vanquishes all. Hurricanes are a devastating opponent, with wind speeds exceeding 150 MPH. The Runnin’ Rebel doesn’t stand a chance.
East Region Champion: Miami Hurricanes
The Final Four
We have our Final Four, ladies and gentlemen: Oklahoma State Cowboys, Iowa Cyclones, San Diego State Aztecs and Miami Hurricanes. Let’s see how the semifinals and finals play out, FARM style.
National Semifinal 1: No. 5 Oklahoma State Cowboys vs. No. 10 Iowa State Cyclones
Even a fully loaded weapon won’t help the Cowboy survive the path of an oncoming Cyclone. Mother Nature simply cannot be defeated. Advantage: Cyclones
National Semifinal 2: No. 7 San Diego State Aztecs vs. No. 2 Miami Hurricanes
Once again, the spear that served the Aztec so well through the previous rounds is useless against a Hurricane. Looks like another win for Mother Nature. Advantage: Hurricanes
National Championship: No.10 Iowa State Cyclones vs. No. 2 Miami Hurricanes
It’s Mother Nature against Mother Nature. The immovable object against the irresistible force. Two sides of the same coin. How do we choose? Science! According to NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), hurricanes and cyclones are actually the same thing and the only difference is the geographic location where the storms occur. In the Atlantic and Northeast Pacific, we call the storm a “hurricane.” In the South Pacific and Indian Ocean, they’re “cyclones.” We’re going to go with the term that’s used here in America because we can. Jingoism wins out in the end. And because hurricanes are damn destructive. Advantage: Hurricanes
Congratulations, Miami Hurricanes, you are the 2013 NCAA basketball champions!