With the selection of 65 teams to compete in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament made official on Sunday, March 14, March Madness is officially here. Many of you are agonizing over your brackets for the office pool, Yahoo! fantasy league groups (guilty), or just for bragging rights with friends and family. And while serious players pour hours of careful research into their bracket picks, many of us who don’t follow NCAA men’s basketball beyond one or two favorite teams might as well have our dogs choose teams for us. In the interest of public service, we give you the teams in this years tournament that your dog would choose if they could. Naturally, they all have dog (or wolf) mascots!
Gonzaga University Bulldogs: The Bulldogs come into the tournament at 26-5, ranked #22 in the country, and seeded 8th in the West regional. One of two Bulldog teams in the tournament, Gonzaga is no stranger to being a Cinderella. Last year they made it to the Sweet 16; in 1999 they made it all the way to the Elite 8. They’ll play Florida in the first round.
Butler University Bulldogs: Eleventh-ranked Butler (28-4) is seeded fifth in the West (maybe this should be the Bulldog bracket) and faces a Texas team, the University of Texas-El Paso, in the first round. Though the Bulldogs flamed out in the first round last year, they’ve made it to the Sweet 16 three times, most recently in 2007. Undefeated in conference play, the Butler Bulldogs are one of the stronger “dog” teams this year.
Wofford College Terriers: The Terriers are seeded 13th in the tournament’s East region and are real underdogs, if you’ll pardon the expression. Wofford comes to the Big Dance on a 25-8 record and riding a five-game winning streak. The Terriers will have to be as scrappy as their mascot if they want to make to round two—they face the University of Wisconsin in the first round.
University of Washington Huskies: Sports Illustrated.com’s Stewart Mandel picks the Huskies, seeded 11th in the East, to be his “bracket buster.” They’re the champions from a tough conference (the Pacific 10) and are on a hot streak—seven straight wins, with six of those coming on the road. Another great Cinderella pick for your bracket, the Huskies face Marquette University in round one.
University of New Mexico Lobos: The Lobos are the highest-ranked (#8) and highest-seeded (3rd in the East) of all the canine teams. The Lobos beat Brigham Young University to win the Mountain West Conference, and if regional top seed Kentucky stumbles, these wolves could take advantage. New Mexico faces the Montana Grizzlies in round one.
by Jay Robison