March Madness Mascot Brawl

In life, there are the great thought provoking questions that mankind has pondered for years, such as “what’s the meaning of life,” “what does it mean to be good,” and “does the Rock really think he can act?” The question we pose in this article is not one of those questions. Far from it, but hey, you’ve clicked on the link and read this far, so we’re just gonna keep rolling with it.

Each year 68 teams earn the right to play in the NCAA Basketball Tournament, but which team would win if the competition was a fight between the schools’ mascots, instead of basketball? Noted abnormally tall bracketologists Austin Mangelsdorf and Jamey Schilling are back for a second straight year to let you know the answer.


Jamey’s take:

Midwest Region

We begin my section with the Midwest region. Right off the bat I’m going to say that a Jayhawk was the term for militant bands affiliated with the free-state cause around the Civil War, not the blue and yellow bird plastered on everything KU related. This leads me to believe that the Kansas marketing folks are ignorant, stubborn or both. Seriously, you don’t turn on National Geographic and see specials on Jayhawks running in the wild. That’s an immediate red flag for me, and why Gunrock the Mustang, the horse mascot from UC Davis wins easily. Seriously, how dope of a name is Gunrock?

The big storyline for this region is the natural disasters that, despite their tragic life threatening implications, are turned cute, and assigned as university mascots. My round of 16 features an Iowa State Cyclone vs. a Miami Hurricane. I googled it, and apparently they’re very similar, so the cyclone gets the nod because I like the song of the same name we all regrettably danced to in high school. A cyclone is disastrous, which gives them an easy win in any fight.

Meeting them in the Elite Eight, are the Iona Gaels. A Gael is a burly Irishman, which we can assume has bar brawl experience. I’m still trying to decide if this mascot is racist or not, at least it’s not as bad as the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. He’ll fight, and he’ll beat a cowboy and a Gamecock on his way to the Elite Eight, but a Gael isn’t going to beat a Cyclone straight up in a fight. Welcome to the Final Four Iowa State.


South Region

Every part of me wants the Seton Hall Pirates to be Somalian Pirates with Machine Guns, in which case, I’d give them the championship. But their logo is an old school pirate, so that’s what we’re working with. A pirate is likely going to be fierce, brute, and also, probably kind of a dick, that’s a good combination for a heavyweight fighter. I’d take a pirate over a Blue Raider, Tiger, and Razorback any day of the week. I’ll put em in the Elite Eight.

Alright, I’ll say it, I don’t think I’ll every understand what a Demon Deacon is. To me it sounds like some possessed from Poltergeist, which I can totally get behind. He makes it to the Sweet Sixteen before losing to a bruin. You can be possessed, but I’ve seen the Revenant, if my boy Leonardo DiCaprio can’t beat a bruin, no chance a Deacon does, even if he is possessed. The Flyers are too weak, the Blue Raiders are too vague, but the Bruins are just right. Tell Goldilocks to watch out, because the UCLA Bruins are making it to the Final Four.

Overall, a Cyclone will then beat a Bruin. Iowa State makes it to the Championship.


Austin’s take: 

Before we start, I have to establish that the wildcat is a super overrated mascot. Three of the teams in these two regions have a wildcat as their mascot. I just want people to realize that this isn’t a puma, or a mountain lion we’re talking about here. This thing weighs somewhere between 11 and 18 lbs which is the size of a fat house cat. While it may be vicious and have an intimidating name, it doesn’t matchup well with any human or large animal. Just wanted to establish that before we begin so nobody complains.

Alright let’s do this.



In my completely unbiased opinion the most important matchup out of the East is OBVIOUSLY Marquette vs. South Carolina. Marquette wins this for two main reasons, the first of which is that while Gamecocks can in fact fly, if they’re not being raised to be eaten (thanks Google), Golden Eagles can freaking soar, and have the ability to dive bomb said Gamecock. Secondly, SC produces officially licensed shirts that say the phrase “I Love Cocks,” and that cannot go unpunished.

Further down the bracket we have the Providence Friar. As someone who attends a Big East school, I have (unfortunately) been exposed to the Providence Friar numerous times. He more closely resembles a Dementor who has come to suck out your soul. If you drew spirals on his cheeks he’d basically be the mask from the Saw movies. I realize that it can be difficult to make human mascots seem not creepy (Wake Forest Demon Deacons), but I mean, c’mon. The Friar is able to ride his ghoulish looks into the sweet sixteen where he faces the Blue Devils. When you talk about a favorable matchup, this has to be at the top of the list. Biblical advanced stats tell us that there is pretty much a 100% chance that the Friars will be down at half before God comes in to carry them to a triple digit margin of victory.

The winners out of the east are the Florida Gators, based off of the fact that for three straight rounds they are facing a member of a military unit from before the 20th century. Do you really think they’re going to know how to take down a full grown alligator? As Will Ferrell famously said in The Other Guys, “GATOR DON’T PLAY NO S***.” So yeah, Gators make it to the Final Four after dominating the human competition. If the Fighting Steve Irwins were a team (RIP) then it might be a different story, but alas even the terrifying depiction of the Providence Friar won’t affect the Gator, as they apparently have pretty bad eyesight (again, thanks Google).



The “Gonzaga sucks in the tournament” narrative reaches an all-time high as they lose in the second round to the Commodores of Vanderbilt (disclaimer: NOT the 70’s and 80’s funk/soul group that gave us great hits such as “Easy” or “Brick House”).

We also have what I’m assuming (I did no research whatsoever) is a record number of Gaels in the tournament this year with a grand total of two (Gaels = Gaelic speaking people = Irish people). Add in the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame and the fact that St. Patrick’s day directly coincides with the first round of the tournament, and you have an all time drunk/angry group of mascots. Unfortunately for the Fighting Irish, their mascot is a Leprechaun, which is pretty much only helpful if you’re trying to hide your cereal from some very persistent kids. The poor Leprechaun doesn’t stand a chance against a Tiger, and the ensuing battle will be a blood bath.

The Mountaineers of West Virginia are my pick to make it out of the West, even though they have a tough schedule. I realize that a Tiger should probably beat most human competition, but this tournament is being played in North America, which gives a Mountaineer a geographical advantage. It’s this geographical advantage that carries the Mountaineers past the Musketeers of Xavier, as both mascots appear to have similar weaponry. You know that the Mountaineer has a little moonshine in his system, so he’s ready to take on anything.


Championship Game

In the championship game we have the Florida Gators vs the Iowa State Cyclones. On one hand, we have a massive reptile that can grow up to 19 feet. On the other we have a force of nature that can span large portions of a given hemisphere. The Gator was able to make it all the way to championship game pretty easily as it only had to face human adversaries, but now it must go against a massive tropical storm, which is probably the worst possible matchup imaginable. For those who don’t know, a Cyclone is pretty much a Hurricane, which makes it public enemy number 3 in the state of Florida (right after the infamous “Florida Man” and humidity, in that order). Unfortunately for the Gators, the powerful winds of the Cyclone will cause this game to a BLOW out (I’m so sorry) in every sense of the word.


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