#6 Memphis Tigers vs. #11 St. Mary's Gaels
There's a tendency to treat big cats like they're simply very large domestic cats, especially when they do things that cause them to superficially resemble housecats. It's a very dangerous tendency as big cats will kill you.
Come to think of it, housecats probably would too if they could. And, based on my experience with cats, it's entirely possible that tigers spend their nights running around their habitat as fast as they can knocking everything that's not well-secured down and waking up the neighbors.
Pictured: My cat and I anytime we're in the same room.
The point is, cats have murder and destruction in their souls.
The knight, as much of a knight as he is, has some manner of compressed air in his soul.
I realize the knight has weaponry and presumably had at least an elective in how to kill enormous wild animals, but a few hastily assembled readers and a sad "B" on an essay aren't going to do much to stop all of the tigers' very sharp parts from ripping through the mylar.
#3 Michigan State Spartans vs. #14 Valparaiso Crusaders
With these human-on-human matchups, it's tempting to just compare relative training, available arms and armor and the likelihood that any given mascot would actually want to start a fight. So, we have the Spartan vs. the Crusader.
For the moment, I'm going to overlook the color scheme of the Crusader. I'm sure they've gotten enough flak for that.
The Spartan has undoubtedly been training for this for a longer period of time, but he's also got a pretty awful case of Giant Cartoon Mascot Head, which is a fairly large target, even if we accept that this tournament is taking place in the Who Killed Roger Rabbit universe. The Crusader has the sense to keep his visor down, so I'm thinking that his fighting style will be slightly more reserved and he'll be able to tire the Spartan out.
#7 Creighton Bluejays vs. #10 Cincinnati Bearcats
If Jose Bautista slightly adjusted his swing just a little bit further, there would be no sadness in the world.
This one comes in peace.
The Bearcat, on the otherhand, has this statue.
This one pretty emphatically does not come in peace.
If I were walking through a sylvan glen and that swung down at me, I'd fall down, then cry, then probably be eaten.
#2 Duke Blue Devils vs. #15 Albany Great Danes
See? A BLUES devil. Because, see, there's a myth about Robert Johnson involving him trading his soul to the Devil at a crossroads at midnight in order to be awesome at guitar and please laugh at this. I'm very tired. Oh dear.
Moving on, this is the first time I think I've had to deal with the Great Danes, which is a shame because Niels Bohr and Scooby Doo are both pretty awesome.
The Mascot himself is pretty much what you'd expect; he's a large brown dog wearing appropriate footwear and a jersey, but I am a fan of the idea that he's been given a simple collar with a stylized A nametag instead of the overplayed studded leather Hot Topic nonsense. Hopefully, he's been chipped as well, so he'll be able to make his way back to Albany in the event that he gets lost.
Because I'm weary of having to figure out what the Blue Devil is and because Damien the Great Dane seems to have his wits about him, I'm going to say that preparedness is the key to this matchup.