I still maintain that NCAA is trying to deprive me of sleep in tacking on another four games to this already ridiculously large tournament, but here's the first round of the tournament, of which only two games are things people will pay serious attention to.
#16 Albany Great Danes vs. #16 Mount St. Mary's Mountaineers
Listen, I love dogs. They're awesome. I don't know that I've ever met a Great Dane, but I presume they're fine. For the most part, though, fictional Great Danes are pretty questionable. Marmaduke has been the center of "that dog sure is big" jokes for SIXTY YEARS SOMEHOW.
If you insist.
Scooby Doo was the namesake of his crew, but mostly just ran away and hung out with Shaggy, who has presumably moved to either Colorado or Washington in the past few months.
Mountaineers, on the other hand, are hearty enough to mountaineer, so that's good enough for me.
Mount St. Mary's advances.
Mount St. Mary's advances.
#16 Cal Poly Mustangs vs. #16 Texas Southern Tigers.
Mustangs are treated pretty well by popular culture. They seem to show up whenever the designer of a vehicle wants to make that vehicle sound either fast or dangerous, but at the end of the day, they're feral horses. Now, the entirety of my horse knowledge comes from Red Dead Redemption and the one time I rode a horse while on my honeymoon (and I'm positive the horse could have killed me if it felt like it), but "giant cat with claws and teeth like razors" probably beats "feral horse".
Texas Southern advances.
# 12 North Carolina State Wolfpack vs. #12 Xavier Musketeers
A few years ago, Xavier took it all, but I'm actually thinking this one ends up unexpectedly purely because of the way North Carolina State chose to phrase their team name. A lone wolf would probably be pretty easily beaten by a dude-with-a-gun even if said dude is wearing some sort of floppy hat, but my understanding is that muskets come with some not-insignificant load time. Where a single wolf might have gone down, a pack of them is probably going to be chewing on your aorta before you can say "ramrod".
North Carolina State advances.
#11 Iowa Hawkeyes vs. #11 Tennessee Volunteers
I always want Tennessee to do well here for no other reason that it seems like I should want that to happen. Like if I have them advance past the first few rounds, they'll send me a totebag and some pictures of the home they just built for some starving koalas.
I know it's a reference to Tennesseeans who volunteered to fight in early American wars and I don't mean to diminish them, but in the end, Herky the Hawk just looks really angry about something and Iowa City is closer to Chicago than Knoxville, so he might come get me.
We're cool, right? Herky?