March Madness: A gender perspective



by Martha Groppo

My brackets are looking pretty good. And I don’t mean the things I got gum stuck in when I had braces.

I’ll admit, last year’s bracket strategy of granting wins to my favorite teams didn’t work out well. How do you decide if you like Tennessee or Florida better? Yuck.

As you can imagine, that strategy utterly fails if Duke wins and you are a girl raised in Lexington. It’s not that I have no skills in prediction. I’ll actually pay attention to basketball headlines. It just tears me up letting some teams win—even on my brackets.

This year, I had a new strategy: filling out brackets based on mascots.

That’s right. Who has the toughest mascot? This might be a somewhat ironic approach for someone who was terrified of virtually every mascot (including and especially Chuck E. Cheese) as a child, but I’ve done rather well.

Were you surprised that Morehead beat Louisville? Thanks to my statistic-void, unemotional strategy, I wasn’t. Honestly, which is tougher: a cardinal or an eagle? Richmond’s win over Vanderbilt was likewise unsurprising. The Commodore is a pretty classy mascot, but Richmond wins massive creepy points for being known as the Spiders. And yes, the Spiders trumped the Eagles on my bracket.

The Tarheels get some intimidation points for the ambiguity of their mascot—and it, whatever it actually is, certainly beats out Long Island University’s Blackbird.

The Washington Huskies’ win over the Georgia Bulldogs was predictable.

Huskies pull entire sleds. Bulldogs just sit there and look so ugly they are cute. At least the Volunteers weren’t forced to play, but have you ever seen a wolverine? They are terrifying. Unfortunately, they are a little less terrifying than Devils, even if they are blue and have pointy chins.

There is room for some strategy — I chose to picture the Princeton Tiger as a circus animal doing tricks rather than Shere Khan. Buckeyes when viewed as plant parts may not be intimidating, but everyone’s favorite Christmas candy? Chocolate, butter and peanut butter is a double threat. At least it’s threatening enough to beat the San Antonio Roadrunners.

Of course, the madness is nowhere close to over, so we’ll have to see how my strategy holds up, and how long our scrappy Wildcat can hang in the mascot menagerie.

By Andy Burress

March Madness: It’s not for the faint of heart. It’s not for the troubled soul. If you’re not ready to sit back and go with the flow, then you might want to put all your eggs back into the spring break basket and try again. Once you get back, it’s tournament time. And in these parts, any action conceivably comparable to indifference can and will be considered blasphemy at its worst.

Saddle up ladies and gents, the rest of our year starts now.

Bracketology needn’t be offered at any school. Nor is it necessary to have ESPN play countless hours of suggested tendencies in preparation for the big dance.

But it doesn’t stop there. At a certain point, we start to argue for teams we know have no business even being in the tournament. It’s all part of the madness. Cinderella stories are our fairytales.

We have smart phones, and we will use them. Be prepared to have any and all conversations cut short when the updates start pouring in.

Forget about classes for the next couple of weeks, and work too. There are any number of things we can’t readily fix, but TVs are not to be one of them. If the thing has a screen and receives any kind of signal, chances are it’ll be put to use. If it means stealing an open computer and pretending that quiz is breathing down our necks, we’ll lie and feel guiltless, so long as we get some of that basketball action. Creativity will flourish as a means to the greater good.

In madness we trust. Live for the final seconds.