Friday, March 25, 2016

2016 Murphspot Mascot Bracket - East Region

#1 UNC Tar Heels vs. Florida Gulf Coast Eagles

I'm generally pretty generous with birds, eagles in particular. I don't know whether that's a reaction to watching some sort of nature documentary a while ago and seeing an eagle tear into a fish or out of a sense of patriotic duty.

Also, freaky bird teeth.

Don't get me wrong. Azul seems great, but Rameses just seems like something an eagle would not physically be capable of dealing with.

UNC advances.

#8 USC Trojans vs. #9 Providence Friars

Oh, Friar Dom.

Listen, I know that this is supposed to be about which mascot would defeat its opponent in battle. And USC has a horse named Traveler with a dude with an actual sword, so he should win here against what is, in effect, a monk.

Well, he was a monk. Now he's a monk who has your soul.

But the Trojan's attacks are only physical. Friar Dom's charge is Terror Itself. His wounds are emotional. Friar Dom is the Fear Prototype. Remember when you were a kid, and you heard stories about the bogeyman, or the Jersey Devil, or a driver who had driven into the lake and makes a nightly walk to the cemetery where his cenotaph is located, or Geraldo Rivera? 

That's what Friar Dom is. I'm not making a metaphor. I'm saying he's behind it all. 

Providence advances.

#5 Indiana Hoosiers vs. #12 Chattanooga Mocs

Indiana doesn't have a mascot. They've got a team name, though, so I'll assume that their mascot is just a person of my choosing who happens to be an Indiana native. I could have gone with the protagonist of Cat's Cradle, here, but I feel like the more rational choice is Fort Wayne native and Darrin Prime, Dick York.

I'm surprised as well, Dick.

The Mocs have Scrappy Moc, who is actually sort of menancing for a mockingbird.

I'm saying this is a little aggressive for what amounts to a tiny little songbird,.
Usually I'd give Dick York the advantage here, but considering Scrappy's gaze and the likelihood that our chosen Hoosier will be too busy dealing with whatever Agnes Moorehead is up to, I think this has to go to the Mocs.

Chattanooga advances.

#4 Kentucky Wildcats vs. #13 Stony Brook Seawolves

My favorite part of writing these things is discovering new mascots when teams that haven't been in the tournament for a while make it. So here I'm left with a choice between a fairly standard wildcat and a *mythical wolf from the sea*. And somehow, a mythical wolf from the sea from a folk tale from across the continent. Good on you, Stony Brook.

The most terrifying section of the myth involves the Seawolf learning how to don a baseball cap.

I'll even let the fact that the mascot's name is a terribly predictable "Wolfie" and the fact that Wolfie the Seawolf's Wikipedia page is a mess of what I presume are Stony Brook students inserting themselves into Tlingit myth slide. I'll let a lot slide for something other than another Wildcat or Bear.

Stony Brook advances.

#6 Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. #11 Tulsa Golden Hurricane

In one sense, this should be pretty easy for the Golden Hurricane. Commanding the weather is a pretty powerful ability, and at first blush there isn't much the Fighting Irish should be able to do to resist it. One imagines that Captain Cane could wreak havoc on some coastal Irish cities.

But we're not in coastal Irish cities. We're in landlocked South Bend, which is under assault from a storm-man from Tulsa of all places. So let's go to the videotape.

In searching for "mythical Irish figure fights something from the sea", the closest analog I could find was Cú Chulainn's interaction with Fand. Fand's flying around as a bird (as otherwordly sea deities are wont to do), minding her own business, when Cú Chulainn throws a rock at her and her sister despite being warned by his wife that the birds he's aiming at are pretty clearly above his current level and he'd do well to either leave them alone or go gain more XP somewhere else.

I'm going to say the bracket has failed here in not pitting Notre Dame against any of the schools with a dog as the mascot.

He hits Fand, then falls down ill and has Fand and her sister show up in non-bird form and beat him with a whip until he's nearly dead. So far, things are looking pretty good for the sea. 

Cú Chulainn recovers over the course of a year and they reconcile (by which I mean ahem) and comes back to help Fand and her sister out, which I guess we could interpret as Notre Dame having some sort of advantage over Tulsa? I'm not going to get into the affair that happens next, as I'm sure Notre Dame and Tulsa students and alumni would appreciate that I didn't.

The moral of the story is that I was looking for an excuse to incorporate the Pogues somehow.

In the end, though, the Notre Dame Leprechaun isn't quite a mythic hero and Captain Cane is more of a conjurer than a bird woman, so the Golden Hurricanes march on.

Tulsa advances.

#3 West Virginia Mountaineer vs. #14 Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks

It's General Purpose Woodsman vs. Lumber and Paper Industry Woodsman! The matchup we've all been waiting for. 

The weapon (and bicep) advantage goes to Stephen F. Austin. At minimum, that's a heavy and effective axe and there's the very real possibility that it's sentient. As for the Mountaineer, I'm thinking he's going to be less effective in single combat, but might be able to pull something off by setting traps and relying on his superior knowledge of the terrain. 

The lumberjack is in this for a paycheck, which I think doesn't stand up against the Mountaineer's expertise.

West Virginia advances.

#7 Wisconsin Badgers vs. #10 Pitt Panthers

Oh hey, an actual "animals that could plausibly meet" battle. 

There are tenacity arguments to be made in Bucky's favor, though even that has some doubts considering his sensible outerwear. 

To be fair, having been to Wisconsin, it can be a bit chilly.

The Pitt Panther, on the other hand, is an apex predator. There's not much to say beyond that.

Pitt advances.

#2 Xavier Musketeers vs. #15 Weber State Wildcats

I know I've been pretty down on Wildcats here, and I could spend a paragraph spouting some nonsense about the relative inaccuracy of period muskets, but I'm going to assume that The Musketeer is both competent in using his weapon and is getting some sort of marksman's bonus from his sweet mustache.

Also, I sort of assume he can use his hat for brief bouts of flight,.

Xavier advances.

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