Inspired by Inside Higher Education's "alternative" NCAA bracket (Holy Cross takes it all!), my beloved and I decided last week to launch an experiment of our own. Given that weekend two of basketball heaven is upon us, it seems like a good time to publicly reveal our choices (click for larger version):
Careful perusal of the bracket reveals our strategy: teams with dog mascots win. Sounds easy, but this bracket actually required pretty intense deliberations. Here are some of our guiding maxims:
Fast break dogs always beat big man dogs (hence, SIU Salukis beat Albany Great Danes).
Dog pets always beat animals, even if those animals are dogs (e.g., Great Danes beat Nevada Wolfpack).
In a matchup with no dogs of any kind, animals beat non-animals as well as animals they could legitimately eat (hence, Gators beat Wildcats).
Wealthier or stronger people mascots beat other people teams (e.g., Vandy Commodores beat GW Colonials).
The category of mythical mascots is tricky (e.g., Va Tech Hokies, Georgetown Hoyas). Hokies and Hoyas aren't anything. We decided that schools with no mascots (e.g., Illini!) lose to teams with mythical mascots (e.g., Hokies) but that Hoyas are a special kind of mythical mascot because they have adopted a dog image; hence, they are quasi-bulldogs and go far in the tournament. (But, of course, they lose to the Great Danes because the Great Danes embrace their dogness and don't have to make up silly names like "Hoya").
So, where did this all get us? So far, the Dogs Win bracket is in last place in the pool. But, we still got 26 out of 48 correct picks. Not bad! And we have picked the Salukis to go all the way, so you never know. Only time (and Kansas coach Bill Self's tendency to fall apart in the tournament) will tell...
Next year, a cat bracket. We promise.