MBB: The ‘science’ of Mascotology

Stephen Buszka

I know, I know. You need to pay off that bookie because you trusted Mascotology and picked ‘Nova to knock off Kentucky last Friday. It is befuddling. How can a team of Wildcats led by demigod Jay Wright lose to Wildcats not led by demigod Jay Wright? There must have been something wrong. There was. If you have been fortunate enough to visit the luxurious restroom facilities on campus, you may have noticed Volume I, Issue II of SGA’s “The Pit Stop Press.” It is on that page that the secret to Villanova’s defeat lies: “Villanova’s previous school mascots included the Day Hops and the Pelicans.” The Day Hops? For real? The Pelicans? Are you serious? It’s nearly impossible for a school to shed the stigma of such pathetic former mascots.

Another game that has posed a problem to the theory of Mascotology is Nevada’s defeat at the hands of Ohio State. Unfortunately, the Mascotology computers had a tough time factoring the stupidity of the Pack leader, Head Coach Mark Fox, into the equation. Stupidity in this case is defined as not fouling the Buckeyes with under 10 seconds left and a three-point lead. What is the worst that can happen: the Buckeyes score three points? It’s not any worse than what happened anyway. It would have been much harder for Ohio State to make the first free throw, miss the second, get the rebound and then make the put-back, as opposed to making a 3 and then going on to do something like blowing out Nevada in overtime.

Finally, I do not expect to get a Visa Check Card anytime soon. Apparently the Fighting Irish really need their pot of gold. They lost on the luckiest weekend of the year. Besides, having an actual pot of gold sounds pretty sweet.

Mascotology was bound to miss a few predictions; not one on Facebook.com or ESPN.com has a perfect bracket. The important thing is to learn from mistakes. On that note, here are this week’s predictions:

No. 3 Oregon Ducks over

No. 7 UNLV Rebels

The Rebels ran themselves right into the Sweet 16. With the Yellow Jackets in the dust, the Rebels meet the Ducks in St. Louis, Mo. Temperatures are looking to be fairly moderate, so the fact that the Ducks failed to fly south this winter (because they were undoubtedly confused by unusually warm temperatures in the fall due to global warming) won’t be much of an issue. While the Rebels are on a roll, the Ducks’ playbook may be too much for them to handle. A new playbook, recently installed by Coach Gordon Bombay, featuring the Flying V offense will drive the Rebels quackers. (Sorry, but I had to throw that in there.)

No. 5 USC Trojans over

No. 2 UNC Tar Heels

Even with protective masks, Tar Heels need to fear the surging Trojans. The Trojans have spears and motivation. One would think that, given the success of the football program, fans would know that USC is from Southern California, not South Carolina in contrast to what one boisterous CBS color commentator joked: If the Trojans do not defeat the Tar Heels, UNC will be too wounded to compete against Georgetown (assuming the Hoyas take care of business, which they will) in the Elite Eight.

No. 1 Florida Gators over

No. 5 Butler Bulldogs

The Bulldogs’ victory over the Maryland Terrapins is enigmatic. However, the game makes more sense when one sees that the team’s leading scorer, D.J. Strawberry, was only 3-of-10 shooting. It’s like Strawberry was drugged or something. (I promise that is the last Strawberry joke.) Butler fought hard for that win and deserved it. Too bad it’ll suffer defeat at the hands – the jaws, rather – of the Gators, who showed that they can clamp down when it matters.