Battle of the Mascots

With the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament underway, the entire nation's attention turns to hardwood courts across the land. By now, everyone's filled out their brackets, and predictions have been made. If history has taught us anything it's that, in most cases, the better team will win the game, but one of the best parts about the tourney is the Cinderella stories, where underdogs capture people's hearts as they make bold and unexpected runs toward the Final Four. Team match-ups aside, we got to thinking, what would happen if the actual wild animals represented by the mascots of many of the teams in this year's tournament were to face off in the wild? Here's a look at how first-round games involving wild-animal mascots should play out, and what might happen if these match-ups occurred in real life. CLICK 'NEXT' AND LET THE GAMES BEGIN! Outdoor Life Online Editor

UCLA BRUINS First-round opponent: Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils What should happen in the tourney: Rumor has it that UCLA is going to play only four guys at a time to keep their players fresh for Round 2. Even if this is true, they should cruise. What would happen in real life: What is a Delta Devil? Is that the guy that aspiring blues musicians sell their souls to at The Crossroads? Regardless, they look pretty mean, and I'm pretty sure one could take down this big, goofy, smiling bear. Outdoor Life Online Editor
BELMONT BRUINS First-round opponent: Duke Blue Devils What should happen in the tourney: As much as everyone loves to hate Duke, there's no way they're losing this game. What would happen in real life: See, this is a far more ferocious bruin, compared to UCLA's. Shows some teeth. It could certainly tear a Blue Devil limb from limb. Outdoor Life Online Editor
BYU COUGARS First-round opponent: Texas A&M; Aggies What should happen in the tourney: Obviously, these 8-9 games are virtual toss-ups, but I like BYU here. The Big XII always manages to disappoint against mid-major teams. What would happen in real life: I'm not entirely sure what an Aggie is, but it doesn't sound very tough. Advantage: Cougar. Outdoor Life Online Editor
WASHINGTON STATE COUGARS First-round opponent: Winthrop Eagles What should happen in the tourney: Washington State has been battle-tested all season in arguably the toughest conference in the country (the Pac 10). There's a reason they got a No. 4 seed, and they'll ground the Eagles. (Sorry.) What would happen in real life: Ah! Our first head-to-head wild-animal battle, and it's a good one! Honestly, I think the relentless aerial attack of a taloned bird of prey could wear down any ground-based animal, even the stealthy, athletic cougar. Outdoor Life Online Editor
ARIZONA WILDCATS First-round opponent: West Virginia Mountaineers What should happen in the tourney: Gotta like 'Zona here. Karma's bound to catch up to Bob Huggins for leaving another team of Wildcats (Kansas State) after just one year. What would happen in real life: The Mountaineer carries a flintlock, doesn't he? Gun trumps sharp teeth and claws every time. Outdoor Life Online Editor
KANSAS STATE WILDCATS First-round opponent: USC Trojans What should happen in the tourney: A match-up of the country's two best freshmen, USC's O.J. Mayo and K-State's Michael Beasley, who has been dubbed Player of the Year by a number of pundits. I've gotta go with the Kansas State Beasleys here. What would happen in real life: All that armor Trojans wear should keep a wildcat at bay long enough for the Man of Troy to get a little swordplay in. Outdoor Life Online Editor
VILLANOVA WILDCATS First-round opponent: Clemson Tigers What should happen in the tourney: Clemson is coming off a mighty impressive ACC tournament, and many feel that 'Nova barely squeaked into the Big Dance. Look for the Tigers to continue their torrid pace. What would happen in real life: Since the tiger is a tiger and a wildcat can't make up its mind what the heck it is, the tiger gets the nod here. Self-assurance is a powerful weapon. Outdoor Life Online Editor
KENTUCKY WILDCATS First-round opponent: Marquette Golden Eagles What should happen in the tourney: Kentucky's taken its lumps in head coach Billy Gillespie's first season, but I like them to win at least two games in this tournament. Call it a hunch. What would happen in real life: See the above Washington State Cougars/Winthrop Eagles pairing for my feelings on birds of prey vs. ill-tempered felines. Outdoor Life Online Editor
DAVIDSON WILDCATS First-round opponent: Gonzaga Bulldogs What should happen in the tourney: It's time for Davidson to officially take the title of Mid-Major Darling from the original Mid-Major Darling. What would happen in real life: Good god, another freakin' wildcat?! I know bulldogs were originally bred to be pretty tough sons of guns, but I see mostly plodding, overweight bulldogs these days. I like the wildcat here, in a walk. Outdoor Life Online Editor
BAYLOR BEARS First-round opponent: Purdue Boilermakers What should happen in the tourney: Baylor's another team who barely made it into the tourney, but I like them to win at least one game, thanks to a lot of veteran leadership. Plus, Perdue is terrible. What would happen in real life: By "boilermaker," are we talking about the beer-whiskey concoction or a dude who builds boilers? In either case, I suppose the stronger it is, the less chance the bear has, but I'll take the bear in both cases. Outdoor Life Online Editor
WISCONSIN BADGERS First-round opponent: Cal State Fullerton Titans What should happen in the tourney: This Wisconsin team plays classic Big Ten basketball, which is to say they're barely watchable. Nonetheless, there's little chance they'll lose this game, coming off their conference championship win. What would happen in real life: If by "titan," you mean that big, mean-looking elephant in their logo, I should say a badger (even a rabid badger) would prove to be little trouble. Outdoor Life Online Editor
ORAL ROBERTS GOLDEN EAGLES First-round opponent: Pittsburgh Panthers What should happen in the tourney: Pittsburgh finally won a Big East Tournament, after appearing in something like 399 of the last 400 BET finals. They have their floor general, Levance Fields, back at full strength and they're clicking on all cylinders right now. Don't be surprised if you see them in the Final Four. What would happen in real life: This is one case where my cat-bird theory doesn't hold. OR's mascot looks like Foghorn Leghorn, for God's sake. Outdoor Life Online Editor
AMERICAN EAGLES First-round opponent: Tennessee Volunteers What should happen in the tourney: This year's Patriot League representative has already scored a victory by gaining a seed better than 16. Now, that's impressive. Don¿t expect their luck to continue. What would happen in real life: Like I said about the Mountaineers of West Virginia, if you've got a gun, you've got the upper hand. Outdoor Life Online Editor
MEMPHIS TIGERS First-round opponent: Texas-Arlington Mavericks What should happen in the tourney: No. 1 seeds don't lose to No. 16 seeds. End of story. What would happen in real life: Again, I bet the Maverick has a firearm of some sort. Outdoor Life Online Editor
OREGON DUCKS First-round opponent: Mississippi State Bulldogs What should happen in the tourney: Look for Oregon's athleticism to wear down the Bulldogs- and for their uniforms to blind them. What would happen in real life: The ducks would have to be the favorite here, if they were still using the ridiculously ripped, dream-haunting mascot of a few years back. But they've reverted to the Donald Duck-inspired mascot, which would get torn apart by a bulldog, regardless of what shape the pooch might be in. Outdoor Life Online Editor
TEMPLE OWLS First-round opponent: Michigan State Spartans What should happen in the tourney: If Drew Neitzel has an off night for the Spartans, we should be looking at a big 12-5 upset here. What would happen in real life: Like the Trojans, the Spartans wear too much armor. The owl would get tired of trying to sink its talons into that helmet over and over again. Outdoor Life Online Editor
ARKANSAS RAZORBACKS First-round opponent: Indiana Hoosiers What should happen in the tourney: Indiana has certainly been playing some uninspired hoops since its head coach, Kelvin Sampson, was fired amidst controversy. However, look for freshman Eric Gordon to put on one good show for a national audience before heading off to the NBA draft in a couple of months. What would happen in real life: Again, I'm not entirely sure what the heck a Hoosier is, but everyone knows razorbacks are mean-spirited buggers. I like the pig here. Soooey! Outdoor Life Online Editor
SOUTHERN ALABAMA JAGUARS First-round opponent: Butler Bulldogs What should happen in the tourney: It's become a cliche to say that USA should win this game because it's being played in Birmingham, but there's no denying Butler is the superior team here. What would happen in real life: Sigh. Another overweight bulldog? Outdoor Life Online Editor
ST. JOSEPH'S HAWKS First-round opponent: Oklahoma Sooners What should happen in the tourney: This should be another case of a Big XII team underperforming in March. Plus, St. Joe's has been hot of late, defeating West Region No. 3 seed Xavier twice in the past couple of weeks. What would happen in real life: Can a Conestoga wagon travel faster than a zeroed-in hawk diving from the heavens? I think not. Outdoor Life Online Editor

Could a Bruin really take a Delta Devil? And what the heck is a Delta Devil, anyway? We settle the college mascot score with our Battle of the Mascots!