NCAA Tournament Mascot Challenge: First Four and First Round

Have you ever been filling out a bracket and had absolutely no clue which team to pick?

“Well, option A has a better record and RPI, but team B has more impressive wins and is the hotter team coming into the tournament. Who do I pick?”

Some may go by silly things like stats, resumes or team history. Intellectuals, like myself, know that all of that is nonsense. There is only one tried and true way to choose your bracket:

Which mascot would win in a fight?

There’s no way a Bollweevil (University of Arkansas at Monticello) could ever beat a Mastodon (Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne), so that pick would be obvious. A Tiger versus a Lion, however, might be a much better fight.

So, who will win this year’s NCAA Tournament? I’m glad you asked.

Welcome to the 2018 NCAA Tournament Mascot Challenge!

First Four

We’ll start off with the play-n games. Most of these are easy picks.

NCCU Eagles vs Texas Southern Tigers

How is an Eagle going to beat a Tiger? Sure, it could fly away, but that only prolongs the fight. Perhaps the Eagle can evade the Tiger long enough to get this game into overtime, but the second it is within reach, the Tiger is going to pounce.

Texas Southern Wins


LIU-Brooklyn Blackbirds vs Radford Highlanders

I’m going to assume that a Highlander is someone from…high land? Unless of course,  their mascot name is derived from the Oscar Winner for “Greatest Movie Ever Made”, as claimed by Ricky Bobby, “Highlander”. I’ll go with the former.

If someone has the high ground and is fighting a Blackbird, they have the advantage. After all, it is a human fighting a crow or raven type bird. The Blackbird won’t go down without a fight, pecking at the Highlander as best it can, but in the end, it will be all for none.

Radford Wins


UCLA Bruins vs St. Bona Bonnies

I had to look up what a Bonnie is. Apparently, it is an attendee of St. Bonaventure. So a college student versus a Bear. Like that will even be a close competition.

One knows Calculus and Quantum Physics, and the other is a 1300 pound fuzzball of death.



ASU Sun Devils vs Syracuse Orange

Okay, so technically, the Orange is short for Orangemen, but that’s beside the point. In this scenario, I’m pitting an actual orange against a Sun Devil. Is the Sun Devil related to the sun god Ra of Egyptian mythology? I digress.

The Orange will stand no chance in this fight, as the Sun Devil will just peel it and feast on its citrusy goodness.

Arizona State Wins

First Round

Now onto the REAL competition.


Virginia Cavaliers vs UMBC Retrievers

If the Virginia Cavaliers are anything like the Cleveland Cavaliers, there’s no way they could defend Air Bud. I mean, have you seen those movies? Retrievers are freak athletes. If Virginia had LeBron James, perhaps it would be a different story.

Who’s a good boy?


air bud again

Creighton Bluejays vs Kansas State Wildcats

Much like the Eagle versus Tiger fight, this one will come down to stamina for the Bluejay. Sure, it can delay the inevitable, but eventually, that Wildcat is going to get ahold of it.

By the way, there are like 29 teams with Wildcats as their mascot in this tournament. Just so you know.

Kansas State Wins


Kentucky Wildcats vs Davidson Wildcats

Remember what I just said about Wildcats? This fight is a difficult one, as it pits two of the same species against each other.

The Davidson Wildcat is a fierce one, as it made a deep run in the tournament one year (they had this kid named Stephen Curry, not sure if you’ve heard of him) but fell just short of the promised land. The Kentucky Wildcat, however, is the ruler of whatever wild these cats are from. It has won more fights than the Davidson Wildcat has even participated in, by a very large margin.

Kentucky Wins


Arizona Wildcats vs Buffalo Bulls

Let it be known that on the Selection Sunday Show on TBS, the crew that was hosting called this team the Buffalo Bills. They are, in fact, not the football team from Buffalo, NY, but a college team nicknamed the Bulls. Cudos for trying, I guess. Sure didn’t show any media bias there, by literally not knowing one of the teams in the tournament. I bet they didn’t botch Trae Young’s name. Okay, I’ll calm down a bit. Let’s move on.

A Wildcat is going to give a fight to any competitor. A bull, however, may be too big of a foe to conquer. A Bill might be easier, but I said I would get off that topic (I lied). The Bull is going to run away with this one, pun intended.

Buffalo Wins


Miami Hurricanes vs Loyola Chicago Ramblers

What is a Rambler? Well, according to, the Ramblers got their name after a comment that the Loyola Chicago football team “rambled on from place to place”, so that doesn’t give me much to go on. Hurricane winds can get up to 150 miles per hour.

Good luck “Rambling” away from that storm, fellas.

Miami Wins


Tennessee Volunteers vs Wright State Raiders

Volunteers are nice. All they do is give. They give their time and effort to a cause that they believe in, for no pay or even reward other than that warm feeling they get for doing good deeds. Raiders, on the other hand, are quite the opposite. All they do is take.

And they take the win in this case. Nice guys finish last.

Wright State Wins


Nevada Wolfpack vs Texas Longhorns

With Nevada being the Wolfpack, does that mean multiple wolves against a lone Longhorn? Or are there multiple Longhorns as well? Either way, the Longhorn will fend off a few Wolves with its…long horns.

The Wolfpack will prove to be overwhelming, in the end. Unless, of course, it is a one-man wolfpack.

Nevada Wins

one man wolf pack

Cincinnati Bearcats vs Georgia State Panthers

Have you ever seen a Bearcat? They’re not that impressive. Have you ever seen a Panther? They would tear up that little Bearcat like a chew toy.

Unless that Bearcat was from Brookland, AR (my alma mater). We would beat anyone.

Georgia State Wins


Throwback to Senior Pics


Xavier Musketeers vs Texas Southern Tigers

Could a musket stop a tiger? Trick question. This Tiger has a full stomach after eating that Eagle in the First Four and is thus taking a post-lunch nap. The Musketeer has the advantage here.

Hard to win a fight when you’re sleeping.

Xavier Wins


Missouri Tigers vs Florida State Seminoles

I don’t know if a Tiger has ever met a Seminole. It would be odd to see a wild Tiger in the continental United States (or even weirder in Alaska or Hawaii for that matter).

In this battle, I like the human fighter versus the beast. We are at the top of the food chain, after all.

Florida State Wins


Ohio State Buckeyes vs South Dakota State Jackrabbits

How is a nut going to beat a creature that could eat a nut? Sure, a Jackrabbit might not be able to crack it open, but the nut can’t even fight back.

How dumb of a mascot is a Buckeye in a contest like this?

South Dakota State Wins


Gonzaga Bulldogs vs UNCG Spartans

Bulldogs can be vicious little monsters, but their slobber has nothing on the lifelong training of a Spartan. They’re taught to kill from birth. I mean, have you seen “300”?

Bulldogs just breathe loudly.



Houston Cougars vs San Diego State Aztecs

The Aztecs were an advanced society in Mesoamerica but were defeated by some white guy with a cold (well, not exactly, but you get the point). Could they face off against a flesh-hungry cougar (assuming it’s the cat and not an older woman)?

I think so. Aztecs win in a bloodbath against those women from (not an endorsement).

San Diego State Wins


Michigan Wolverines vs Montana Grizzlies

Hugh Jackman could easily fight a Grizzly Bear. Too bad the Michigan mascot isn’t based on X-Men.

As long as these Grizzlies aren’t from Memphis (worst record in the NBA. Also, why didn’t Memphis change their nickname when they moved from Vancouver? No one has ever seen a Grizzly in Memphis), they’ll win this matchup with ease.

Montana Wins


Texas A&M Aggies vs Providence Friars

Are Friars even allowed to fight? An Aggie would be so quick with that trigger finger that he’d blow the hair off of that monk if he had any on the top of his head.

Wait, who would shoot a Friar though? They’re such peaceful people. I think. Well, people from Texas will shoot anything for sport, and basketball is, in fact, a sport.

Texas A&M Wins


North Carolina Tar Heels vs Lipscomb Bisons

If you have tar on your heels, you’re likely not going to move very fast. Bison, however, can move very fast and are much larger than a human heel. This one isn’t even close.

Seriously though, how was a Heel with Tar on it supposed to win against anyone?

Lipscomb Wins


Villanova Wildcats vs Radford Highlanders

Again with the Highlanders, I dig the human element against the utterly inferior felines. I also think Villanova should change their nickname to the SuperNovas, because that would be the single coolest nickname in college sports. And it would win this contest.

Wildcats, on the other hand, will not.

Radford Wins


Virginia Tech Hokies vs Alabama Crimson Tide

A Hokie is basically a turkey, right? What’s a Crimson Tide, for that matter? Technically, it’s when the ocean turns red because of an algal infestation (Karenia brevis), but that’s not what they meant. They were just referring to their team’s crimson uniforms. So is this fight an Elephant vs a Turkey or algae vs a turkey?

Either way, that Turkey is as good as cooked.

Alabama Wins


crimson tide
If only Alabama were this pretty…


West Virginia Mountaineers vs Murray State Racers

The Racers can run in circles and avoid the Mountaineers to an extent. They are professionals, after all. However, all it will take is one musket shot to the leg and that horse is down for the count.

The one-toothed Hillbillys advance.

West Virginia Wins


Wichita State Shockers vs Marshall Thundering Herd

Apparently, the Shockers are not “things that shock” but people who harvest wheat. How dumb is that?

If this was a Thunder vs Lightning debate, it would be a lot more fun, but alas, it’s wheat vs Buffalos. That’s not even a fight.

Marshall Wins


Florida Gators vs UCLA Bruins

This is an interesting matchup. Could a bear kill an alligator? If the fight went to the water, the gator will obviously win, but since this game is in Dallas, we’ll say it’s on dry land.

If the bear was able to flip the Gator over or hold its snout closed, it could prevail. However, I will take the sheer jaw strength of the Gator as the ultimate advantage. One chomp to the leg and the bear will be down for the count as the Gator finishes the job.

Florida Wins


Texas Tech Red Raiders vs SF Austin Lumberjacks

The Lumberjack’s biggest flaw is that he wants to earn an honest living.

The Red Raiders will have no mercy on him.

Texas Tech Wins


Arkansas Razorbacks vs Butler Bulldogs

We’ve seen some bulldogs already in this competition, and they didn’t fare so well. This time they face off against a slobbering wild boar.

No bacon today, as the Hogs advance.

Arkansas Wins


Purdue Boilermakers vs CSU Fullerton Titans

Though a boilermaker may sound intimidating, the Titans were basically the size of mountains. It’s hard to see anyone taking down Fullerton in this competition.

They’re poised to make a deep run. I mean, they birthed the gods, so.

CSU Fullerton Wins


Kansas Jayhawks vs Penn Quakers

A bird vs the guy on the oatmeal box? That doesn’t sound like a fair fight.

This one is a landslide for those friendly settlers from the Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island, and Pennsylvania colonies (history tune-up for all you that haven’t had American History in a while).

Penn Wins


Seton Hall Pirates vs NC State Wolfpack

What an interesting fight. The pirates have cannons and swords but likely have missing legs and eyes. The wolves have razor-sharp teeth but are basically just big fluffy puppies.

The Wolfpack would take down much of a pirate’s fleet if the fight was on land, but the Pirates would still prevail. If this battle were at sea, the pirates wouldn’t even break a sweat.

Seton Hall Wins


Clemson Tigers vs New Mexico State Aggies

A battle between a farmer and a vicious killer. This won’t end well.

The Tigers are going to eat the Aggies before they can even grow a crop.

Clemson Wins


Auburn Tigers vs Charleston Cougars

Again, if these Cougars are those of the animal kingdom, this will be a good fight.

These are both big, strong cats, but Tigers are bigger and stronger than their Cougar counterparts. Sher Khan prevails, so long as there isn’t fire present (are you guys still following with the pop-culture references?).

Auburn Wins

sher khan

TCU Horned Frogs vs ASU Sun Devils

These Sun Devils aren’t as full as the Tigers were after their First Four matchup. These Sun Devils are ready to kill again.

The Sun Devil would be able to defeat the Horned Frog, as he is impervious to all of the Frog’s tricks. He won’t kiss the Frog to turn it into a prince. Instead, he’ll just zap him into oblivion.

Arizona State Wins


Michigan State Spartans vs Bucknell Bison

More Spartans and Bison. Again, Spartans are trained killers, whereas Bison as just big fuzz balls.

As long as it’s not a war with the Persians, I’m taking Sparta.

Michigan State Wins


Rhode Island Rams vs Oklahoma Sooners

The Sooners were cheaters, and history shows that cheaters never win unless they’re the New England Patriots. The Rams would wait to get their land, like respectable Oklahomans.

Wait, is Oklahoma’s mascot the Sooners or the Trae Youngs?

Rhode Island Wins


Duke Blue Devils vs Iona Gaels

What is a Gael, you might ask? Well, it is a person of Irish-Gaelic decent.

So, basically, Devils versus Catholics. This could be interesting. The Irish-Gaels will likely be drunk in the fight, so I’m going with the Devils. Unless the Devil goes down to Georgia. Good thing this game is in Nashville.

Duke Wins


Make sure to check in for the Round of 32, out as soon as I can get it typed up! If you enjoyed this, make sure to let me know on Twitter (@ChaseGage1). Any of these that you would change? Come yell at me! I’ll always fight back.

See you in the Second Round!

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