here comes the madness!

Lions and tigers and bears!

Lions and tigers and bears!

Lions and tigers and bears!

Or so said Dorothy, Scarecrow and the Tin Man.

Oh, the diversity… now turning to madness… as we have a far grander, sundry swarm participating in this year’s NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament. Indeed as the fictional trio referenced… 

There are the Catamounts from Vermont and Cougars from Charleston, Houston, BYU and Washington State. Still in the big cat kind of family come Bobcats from Montana State and Tigers from Auburn, Clemson and Grambling State. None should be outdone by the lesser domesticated Wildcats, represented this year by Arizona, Kentucky and Northwestern. 

Let us ensure we represent the cats and the dogs both, with this year’s set of Bulldogs appearing via Drake, Gonzaga, Mississippi State, Samford and Yale. (Where is Sam not Stan, by the way?) The Huskies from UConn are expected to be a little more vicious, with the State of North Carolina and Nevada each bringing their respective Pack of Wolves.

Wisconsin is sending its Badgers… although I’m still uncertain in what family the short-legged omnivores fit. Boise State sends the Broncos, ensuring once more a half-tamed horse is solidly represented. 

There exist some other rather large species… Baylor’s Bears, Oakland’s Golden Grizzlies, Bison from Howard, Buffaloes from Colorado, and Rams from Colorado State. There are Longhorns from Texas and even some Antelopes from the Grand Canyon.

There are also the larger than life Gators from Florida, although I still can’t discern quite how a reptile learns how to play basketball. 

I also never quite understand the intimidation by all sorts of birds on the court, specifically the Owls from Florida Atlantic, Bluejays from Creighton, Jayhawks from Kansas, Seahawks from Wagner, nor Eagles from either Marquette or Morehead State.

I suppose even less intimidating are the Peacocks of St. Peter’s, but I really can’t talk (… since they uh, beat my beloved once). 

Then again, also interesting to evaluate on the intimidating athletic scale are TCU’s Horned Frogs and the Jackrabbits from South Dakota State. Dare I say, each has hops.

Indeed there are more in a bird kind of family… the South Carolina Gamecocks and Oregon Ducks.

There are some creative families represented… Blazers from Birmingham, Tar Heels from North Carolina, and anyone of Irish-Gaelic descent from St. Mary’s. 

Then there are those that I’m not quite sure what family to put them in… Hatters and Hilltoppers, Lobos and Lancers, Cornhuskers and the colorful Crimson Tide. 

We also see some seemingly admirable persons represented, at least by title… there are Cowboys, Flyers and Spartans… even both Cavaliers and Volunteers. There are, interestingly, also, two units of actual Dukes. Let me add I’m not as certain on the admiration appropriate for Raiders and Red Raiders nor any shade of actual Devils. Some things weren’t meant to be all that celebrated. 🙂

Still, the Illini come as their own state, while the State of Iowa comes in a storm. Also arriving as a fun favorite is Long Beach State, whose nickname is (wait for it) the actual Beach.

Let us not forget the Aztecs nor pair of Aggies, the latter of which is always a fascinating one to look up. And once again we see the Zips; there may be no better name. 

Last but not least hail this semi-humble blogger’s beloved Boilermakers. What is a Boilermaker? Its origin comes from the perceived burly trade of a 19th Century blacksmith. They were strong and tough and good at what they did. Here’s to hoping in the 21st Century, it means something victorious and even more.

Let the madness begin, friends! As always, grateful for the diversity.