Hello! I hope everyone is enjoying the opening day of the NCAA tournament! I love this time of year. After April 5, we have only the NBA for a couple of months, then a slow, agonizing summer of baseball. Yawn…
But let’s focus on the here and now. Here are my Nature Bracket picks for the East and South regionals.
East: One great thing about the Nature Bracket is that here, it isn’t so atypical that a 1 seed is powerless against a 16 seed. That is the case when the 16 East Tennessee State Buccaneers face – and defeat – the 1 Kentucky Wildcats. (Some of you might be thinking, “A Wildcat could totally take a pirate. Those teeth! That speed!” Well, make your own nature bracket. Besides, I’m going to cite the pirate’s storied history of playing against the rules and overall wiliness. It will take ETSU far, as you’ll soon see.) Next, 9 Wake Forest over 8 UT Longhorns, and not just because I’m an Aggie bound to dislike Texas, but because of Wake’s mascot: the Demon Deacons. I still don’t totally understand this most paradoxical of mascots, but whatever it is, if it unites the good and evil sides of the cosmos, it must be formidable. Next, 12 Cornell’s Big Red Bears will defeat 5 Temple Owls. I know my pick will make this guy happy!
Then, I pick the 4 Wisconsin Badgers over the 13 Wofford… Boston Terriers. Gee, that’s just embarrassing for those guys, huh? And what a pitiful, albeit probably amusing, fight. A badger and a terrier? I’ll pause for a minute while you ponder the majesty that the Nature Bracket provides.
Okay. We’re back! Give me the 6 Marquette Golden Eagles in a patriotic win against the 11 Washington Huskies. I’ll take 14 Montana Grizzlies against the 3 New Mexico Lobos (that’s wolves in Spanish), and, in a violation of the previous same-mascot-pick-higher-seed rule, I’ll pick 10 Mizzou Tigers over the 7 Clemson Tigers. Go Big 12! Finally, the 15 Bears of Morgan State take down the 2 West Virginia Mountaineers. (This is a very bear-heavy side of the bracket, I’ve noticed.)
In the Second Round, even though Wake Forest combines good and evil, ETSU’s Buccaneers say, “WHATEVER! We’re going to float away from you on our boat!” and sneaks away for a win. The Bobblehead Big Red Bears of Cornell will defeat the Wisconsin Badgers as smart people enjoy yet another victory over the stupid. In a trend of what’s to come, I’ll take the Montana Grizzly Bears over Marquette, and the Morgan State Bears over the Mizzou Tigers. (Admittedly, I’m unresearched here, but I’m going to assume that if that bear makes it to the tiger, the tiger is effed. Bears are heavy, strong, and cantankerous.)
Sweet 16! In an all-bear matchup, I’ll take the higher-seeded Montana over Morgan State. Cornell meets it match in the ETSU “WHATEVER! We’re going to float away from you on our boat” Buccaneers. This shapes up for the Elite 8 matchup of ETSU against Montana. And just who do you think I’m picking?
Now, finally, the South, in what is quite possibly the most boring quadrant of the Nature Bracket I’ve ever encountered. The Blue Devils of 1 Duke will defeat the 16 Arkansas-Pine Bluff Golden Lions. They’re devils, after all. They give the pirates their “whatever it takes” attitude. The Bears of 8 California will defeat the 9 Cardinals of Louisville. Then, it pleases me that in the all-Aggie matchup of 5 Texas A&M and 12 Utah State, I can unabashedly pick TAMU! The 13 Siena Saints will take down the 4 Purdue Boilermakers because a)I’m not totally sure what a Boilermaker is. (An alcoholic beverage? An occupation?) and b)well, they’re Saints. God is on their side. Besides, Saints are so in right now!
Continuing with the “God is on their side” idea, I’ll take 6 Notre Dame over 11 Old Dominion’s Monarchs. (By the way, those are lions…? I didn’t know if we were talking kings or butterflies, but, either way, Notre Dame is on a streak right now, plus God really does seem to be on their side.) And, guess what? More freakin’ bears. I guess there were some pretty strong Affirmative Action groups for bears that really pressured the selection committee. Anyhoo, that’s 3 Baylor over 14 Sam Houston State’s Bearkats, because if the bear catches the bearkat, the bearkat is toast. Also, I despise it when things that should be spelled with Cs are spelled with Ks. Next, I’ve always said (as far as you know) that, if given the chance to pick a Spider, I would. Enter 7 Richmond, whose Spiders will poison the 10 Saint Mary Gaels, despite the fact that a Fighting Irish-Gaels matchup could have resulted in an Irish jig or Gaelic speaking contest. Damn. Oh well. Finally, the 2 Villanova Wildcats will chew up the 15 Robert Morris Colonials. Plus, I like how you can abbreviate their school. Nova. So snappy.
Second Round: Duke’s demonic powers will thwart the Cal Bears, and, sad for me to say, if I’m true to the “logic” of the nature bracket, that means Saints of Siena defeat my Texas Aggies. It pains me more to pick Baylor over Notre Dame, but they are bears, and sober bears at that. You can’t tell me a Fighting Irishman isn’t hammered. Villanova Wildcats will then squish the Richmond Spiders.
Sweet 16! Good triumphs over evil, and the Siena Saints come marching in – and all over Duke! Ho hum, by the way, another bear mauling: Baylor Bears defeat the Nova Wildcats. Then, for the Elite 8 matchup, I pick Baylor over Siena. (Let’s be real, here. These Saints have fought against Aggies and Blue Devils. They’re tired, and, besides, I’m pretty sure being in Heaven is way better than being in the Final Four.)
So, my Final Four: Michigan State, Xavier, ETSU, and Baylor.
I know Xavier has muskets, but I’m going to go with… SPARTA!!!!
(I do think, however, Sparty may need to be tested for a little HGH. Just sayin'...)
Then, the ETSU Buccaneers will shoot and sail their way away from the Baylor Bears. Woot!
Now hold up… look at that. The ETSU Buccaneer looks like one of those blue things from Avatar. AND Avatar – though I haven’t seen it – is so in right now. So you guessed it… my national champion will be the East Tennessee State University Buccaneers!
And... Nature Blog is done. Phew. I think the first post was funnier (I don't know when I'll top "the Golden AK-47s"), but hopefully you've chuckled at least a few times. Time to curl up and enjoy some basketball... yay!
Now it's time for Luke and I to get ready for a play date with some good friends. I'll post pictures of that later... by which point this bracket will likely be kaput, but oh well. It's fun to put together! : )