Wednesday, March 16, 2011

March Madness 2011: Nature Blog III

This marks my third year of creating the Nature Bracket for the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. For those of you new to this, here’s the skinny: each year, I make two brackets. In one, I make “informed” guesses about how teams will fare in the tournament. I base these picks on personal biases, teams’ histories (mark it – Kansas will choke at some point), and gut feelings. But the second… well, unlike some girls who make picks based on favorite colors or cutest mascots, I choose victors based on this premise: if the mascots were to actually battle in nature, who would win? It’s like that Spike show Deadliest Warrior except with college mascots. I have no idea why it started – just another output from that fount of randomness that is my brain. But for whatever reason, it’s provided great enjoyment for friends, family, and even me.

Given that this is my third time around, I’ve learned there are obstacles to preparing this blog:

1. Volume. There are 32 first round games – oh, my bad, second round games now that we have this “First Four” crap. Even when most teams are well-known, I still have to spend a good 30-45 minutes researching.

2. Curveballs. See also “First Four” crap. I’m 8 minutes away from having the full field of 64 available, and stupid VCU and USC are playing pretty close. As a result, I’m having to work late, and I’m tired.

3. Step Plus Abs. I went to that class at the gym, and holy crud, it was hard, and I am tired. But the biggest obstacle…

4. Television. The new Karate Kid with Will Smith’s son is on right now. I can’t look away. (And a parental aside: kind of disturbingly violent. Oooh, Jackie Chan just hurt the bully kid! UGH. Focus, Roberts. Wait, OMG – he’s kicking all these kids’ asses! This is AWESOME. Guess my parental disclaimer on violence is a bit hypocritical now.)

5. High Standards. I have a confession to make that borders – nay, belly flops – on pompousness. How can I possibly top two years of hilariousness? How do you outdo gems like these?

From 2009: On the Dayton Flyers: “Is this a… commuter? Paper advertisement? Grrrr…. I’m going with WVU. Either way, a rugged mountain person could kick a business traveler’s (or promotional handout’s) ass."

Also from ’09: On UNC’s predicted loss to LSU: “I’m going to stay true to nature’s course and pick the Tigers of LSU to best UNC. You will be a plaything for tigers, what with your heels stuck in tar and what not.”

From 2010: On advantages of being a “golden” mascot: “Oooh, new rule: if a mascot is Golden, they often have an advantage. Note to self: the next time I establish a university, we will be the indestructible Golden AK-47s. Hell yeah!”

And another ’10: Why I think Bears best cats, cougars, and tigers and why I’m neurotic about spelling: “Give me 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.”
So seriously… how can I do this? How can I write with the quality all three of you have come to expect? Well, as I pondered the answer to this question, I decided to take a picture of the Scoreguide and the Karate Kid movie I’m watching. Bring a little verisimilitude to the blog for y’all. Well check out what it caught:

That’s right. That’s a subtitle that says, “No mercy in competition,” said by the bad guy who teaches kids to fight in a mean way. Without honor. But now little Dre is going to learn Kung Fu – a way to make peace with your enemies - from Jackie Chan… er, Mr. Han, the maintenance man. And man, is this movie promising. But there is no mercy in competition or blogging. So here I go!

The East

Second Round:

16 UTSA Roadrunners over the 1 Ohio State Buckeyes. So say the Ohio state tree, a buckeye, starts to fall down. Well, a)a roadrunner could out run it and not be smothered and b)I just hate, hate, HATE Ohio State.

9 Villanova Wildcats maul the 8 George Mason Patriots, much to the delight of haters of America.

12 Clemson over 5 West Virginia. Though Miners are tough S-O-Bs, their lungs are all gunked up, limiting their cardiovascular health to outrun menacing, hungry Tigers.

13 Princeton Tigers over 4 Kentucky Wildcats. To be honest, this is a hunch pick: though I’d imagine Wildcats to be scrappier than Tigers, these Tigers went to an Ivy League school, so they must be pretty smart.

11 Marquette over 6 Xavier. Now this is a departure for me – generally, Xavier does well in my bracket since they’re Musketeers, i.e. they have MUSKETS. But when do bullets not kill eagles? When they’re GOLDEN EAGLES off of whom bullets ricochet.

14 Indiana State over 3 Syracuse Orangemen. Syracuse’s mascot just pisses me off. Is it talking about over-tanned dudes? Luckily, a little Wikipedia work yielded this gem about Indiana State: besides being Larry Bird’s alma mater, ISU’s mascot is the Sycamores… a tree. So what? WELL, before they were known as the Sycamores, they were known as the FIGHTING TEACHERS. For real. I’m a teacher, and you know what? Sometimes, I want to fight. I think this is too awesome to pass up – fighting teachers/trees/furry woodland creatures (today’s version – LAME) over fake baked men.

7 Washington Huskies over the 10 Georgia Bulldogs. Huskies just seem to be a majestic dog, and while bulldogs make adorable puppies, huskies seem to be more engineered for killing with finesse.

15 LIU over 2 UNC. Tarheels are an annoyance in this bracket, and they’re also a powerhouse, so they’re a perennial issue for me. My logic: a)their heels are stuck in tar, so they can’t catch any birds or flee from an attack and b)do y’all watch Glee? Didn’t Kurt sing a beautiful version of the song “Blackbird”? Well, that’s LIU’s mascot. WINNER!

Third Round:

Villanova Wildcats best the UTSA Roadrunners who, despite cartoonish cleverness, cannot outrun a wildcat. The all-tiger battle of Princeton vs. Clemson leads to a Clemson win – they’re the higher seed and consequently the better tiger. I’ll allow personal biases to trump logic so that the Indiana State Fighting Teachers/Trees/Woodland Creatures to best Marquette Golden Eagles. Then, the Huskies take down the Blackbirds, whose beautiful song cannot save them from the Huskies’ teeth.

Sweet Sixteen and Beyond:

I will keep it real: I am TIRED. So in summary: Clemson is my final four pick from this region. The Tigers beat the Wildcats of Villanova, and later they defeat Indiana State’s Fighting Teachers, who, in another illogical choice on my part, defeat Huskies… but then get eaten by Tigers. And by “Tigers,” I mean the debacle that is Texas school finance, but I need not get all political here.

ANYHOO… I’ll post about the West, Southwest, and Southeast regions tomorrow. (By the way, in the time I’ve drafted this, the VCU-USC game has finished and I’ve watched about an hour and 45 minutes of this movie. This is ridiculous.) Hopefully by then my wit will be at its sharpest.

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