We’ve reached our final region. The remaining 16 teams in the 2017 Mid-Major Madness Mascot Melee can be found below, and they hail from the midwest (kind of...as I said, we took some liberties).
It all starts with the mascot who we all expected to earn the 1 seed here, Big Red out of Western Kentucky. The field does not include the abomination from Saint Louis. If you’re mad about that, leave your complaints in the comments so I can delete them.
Before we get to the full video, a quick note, because I know you won’t read to the bottom of the page:
Voting is now open and will remain open until end-of-day Tuesday. You can vote here.
Midwest bracket reveal:
1. Big Red (Western Kentucky) vs. 16. Beaker (Morehead State)
The thing we all love about Big Red is that no one really knows what he is. SB Nation has covered the topic and was not able to shed much light on it. Western Kentucky describes him as a “huge, furry, lovable creature.” That’s all we really know, and it is correct. As for Beaker, he likes to do the chicken dance and as his name might indicate, he has a fantastic beak. I should also note that Beaker enj-
Sorry, quick note about this matchup: I’ve just been informed that Big Red has been granted his release from Western Kentucky.
8. Kasey (UMKC) vs. 9. Don the Mastodon (Fort Wayne)
Former Temple (and NBA) coach Don Casey should like this one. Kasey, the adorable kangaroo from UMKC, draws Don, the lumbering mastodon of Fort Wayne. It’s a matchup of strength vs. agility. Power vs. cuteness. Kangaroo vs....extinct elephant thing. It’s time to pick a side.
5. Kaboom (Bradley) vs. 12. Crusader (Valparaiso)
Speaking of mascots that are hard to identify, Kaboom draws a strong 5 seed and its newest conference rival, the Crusader of Valparaiso, is its first-round opponent. Kaboom is, allegedly, a gargoyle, but one that walks around and is jolly. It’s weird as hell and we’re certainly here for it. Then there’s the Crusader, a mascot shrouded in mystery. The helmet over his face is a nice touch, surely adding an extra dose of intimidation. He might scare the kids, but hey — life in the MVC is anything but child’s play.
4. Rudy (Dayton) vs. 13. Grey Dawg (Southern Illinois)
Human mascots are always a gamble because there’s a huge risk that they come off as creepy. Especially if your human mascot is a pilot and most of his face is obscured by goggles. Somehow, Rudy (named as a play on U.D.) avoids this and has become one of the staples of the college basketball mascot world. Rudy faces Grey Dawg, a very good dawg, whose history may be more interesting than his present. For example, this is what he used to look like:
That would have been a 1 seed.
6. Rufus (Ohio) vs. 11. Bruiser (Belmont)
Everything you need to know about Rufus:
As for Bruiser, he is truly an adorable bruin mascot. More so than any mascot in, say, Los Angeles. He also plays the drums. Let’s see you do that, Joe Bruin.
3. Sparky (UIC) vs. 14. Magnus (Cleveland State)
How often do you see a dragon step up and help his community? Well, if you live around the UIC campus, perhaps quite often. For example, you can take a look at some photos here of Sparky helping the local fire department in support of Special Olympics Illinois. The world’s only red, furry dragon does good things. Magnus is an excellent mascot as well, but like Grey Dawg, he would have benefitted by keeping his old style. Take a look at his evolution, courtesy of clevelandstate.tumblr.com:
I think 3 is a muppet and 4 is a ninja turtle, but both are strong.
7. Dunker (Murray State) vs. 10. Pete (Youngstown State)
Murray State is called the Racers. The mascot is a horse. The university is in Kentucky. You can piece Dunker’s story together. But there’s something about a horse that walks upright that just makes for a great mascot. Check out the photo gallery for more Dunker fun. Meanwhile Pete makes the field for a couple reasons. First off, he’s an adorable penguin. Secondly, he is a penguin and you don’t often find penguins in Ohio. You can read the backstory here, but to be honest, I’d rather just look at pictures of penguins.
2. Jack Rabbit (South Dakota State) vs. 15. Victor (Northern Kentucky)
You didn’t really think we’d leave out our floppy-eared friend, did you? Between the ears and the hat, Jack is easily one of our favorite mascots. According to the Summit League, he actually went over 100 years without a name. When he finally got one in 2010, the jackrabbit was called...Jack. Not the most original, but it gets the job done. Speaking of non-original names, Victor E. the Norseman is the 15 seed in the Midwest. The mustachioed marvel made his first NCAA Tournament appearance this year and he carries a sword and shield. Well done, indeed.
Action C (Central Michigan)
Not even effing close:
Billiken (Saint Louis)
FULL MID-MAJOR MADNESS MASCOT MELEE BRACKET: