Panthers (or Pumas or Catamounts or Mountain Lions or whatever else that species is going by these days) are kind of intimidating on their face, but I'm tempted to dock them points for essentially sharing a mascot with Penn State. I just prefer a bit more variety in my mascot bracket. The fact is, every time I think of Panthers, I think of Pumas, which makes me think of The Pumaman.
When. You want. The flavor of bacon in a dip.
Granted, a good episode of MST3K, and if that were any justification for advancement in the mascot bracket, Pitt would be much better off. But I'm pretty sure that there isn't an Aztec named Vadinho to do all the actual fighting here, and the Trojans are armed. Probably. Right? I think they had arms. Yes. Anyway, UALR advances
#8 Butler Bulldogs vs. #9 Old Dominion Monarchs
I'm puzzled as to why a university in Norfolk is Monarchist, but I'm going to just go ahead and pretend that there's a subdivision of Norfolk that's been the one place in the nation that's held out since the Revolutionary War and absolutely refuses to acknowledge that fireworks shows are fun and that the obvious health concerns that should come to mind when considering hot dogs are better left ignored because that would get in the way of hilarious contests. We've already covered bulldogs, so all that's left is to determine whether the Monarchs are of the "capable of leading a nation into battle" variety or of the "languishing in their halls while the world moves on without them" variety. Oh, also, apparently my concepts of monarchs are based on whether Gandalf has convinced Theoden that he shouldn't be hiring guys named "Wormtongue" as advisors yet. To hell with it. The monarchs have a crown wearing lion, which can beat a bulldog. Old Dominion advances
#5 Kansas State Wildcats vs. #12 Utah State Aggies
An epic matchup for the ages between slightly more aggressive cats and agricultural students. I really have no idea how to make this one interesting. Some hacky jokes about who owns who in cat/person relationships? Wry comments about Utah that really aren't fair, given that I've never been there and that I like the people that I've met that are from there? I guess the agricultural students could do something about the cat's food supply. Or the Big Blue Bull that Utah State utilizes as a mascot would probably gore the poor thing. Either way, the Wildcats remain an unimpressive mascot, and Utah State advances
#4 Wisconsin Badgers vs. #13 Belmont Bruins
I'm led to believe that badgers will rip your face off. That's probably true. I'm not sure what I'd do if I encountered one in the wild. I have very little in the way of "wild animal encounter" knowledge. I'd like to think I'd fare well if I had to (for some reason) be in the wilderness suddenly, but that is a lie. I would be eaten pretty much instantly by anything that happened across me. Even the wildcats. But then, Belmont's got brown bears. Or Bobby Orr. Bears are even better at killing me, and Orr revolutionized how defensemen play the game. Either way, I don't see how I can give this to the Badgers. Sure, they'd kill me, but this isn't about me. This is about whether it would kill a bear, or Bobby Orr. It would not. Belmont advances.