An uncategorized observation:

  • Aesop would be intrigued by the men’s first round match-up between the University of Maryland Terrapins and South Dakota State University Jackrabbits. I do wonder what he’d think about the tortoise as about a 10 point favorite over the hare, though

 

Geography-based observations:

  • As a Florida fan, I was drawn to their potential match-ups in the women’s bracket. As a 5-seed, they play their first- and second-round games at the home of the 4-seed in their pod: first against the 12-seed, then, against the winner of the 4/13 game in their region. The 4 in that region is Syracuse, so both teams will play their first round games at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse. Florida’s first-round opponent is the University at Albany (formerly SUNY-Albany), which is a mere two hours to the east. Should the Gators progress to the next round, their opponent will have a decided home-court advantage, whether facing hosts Syracuse or the Orange’s first-round opponent, Army, located just over three hours away in West Point, NY

I created this nifty table sorting all 132 teams in both the men’s and women’s brackets, and highlighting each based on its respective region. Based off it:

  • Of the 50 states, 11 are not represented in either tournament: Alaska, Delaware, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming
  • California has four teams in the men’s tourney, but they are divided among each of the four regions; Florida has five teams distributed among all four regions on the women’s side
  • New York leads all states with 11 participants between both tournaments; as hinted at above, four of these are in the same region in the women’s bracket
  • Alabama leads the way with three schools participating in the women’s tourney and none in the men’s; Georgia (1), Idaho (1), Illinois (1), Mississippi (1), Missouri (2), New Mexico (1),South Carolina (1), and Washington, DC (1) are also only represented on the women’s side. Iowa (3), Louisiana (1), Massachusetts (1), and Rhode Island (1) only fielded contestants in the men’s tourney
  • In the men’s tourney, Texas has three schools (Texas, A&M, and Baylor) in the same region (West). The first two would meet in the second round; the winner of that game would only meet Baylor in the Elite Eight, to determine the region’s champion
  • In both tournaments, each representative from Indiana has at least one fellow participant from the Hoosier State in its region: Indiana and Notre Dame can only meet in the Elite Eight match-up in the men’s East region, while Purdue and Butler would have met in the Sweet Sixteen in the Midwest, before Purdue’s unexpected first-round exit at the hands of Arkansas-Little Rock. In the women’s tournament, Indiana and Notre Dame would be on track for a second-round match-up in the Lexington region, with the winner eligible to face Purdue in the Elite Eight
  • All seven of California’s and Pennsylvania’s respective participants are from seven different schools; Indiana’s seven participants are from four institutions
  • Schools participating in both tourneys: UConn, Miami (FL), Hawaii, Indiana, Notre Dame, Purdue, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan State, Seton Hall, Buffalo, Syracuse, Iona, UNC Asheville, Oklahoma, Oregon State, South Dakota State, Middle Tennessee State, Chattanooga, Texas A&M, Texas, Baylor, West Virginia, and Green Bay. That’s 24 schools, or 48 of the 132 teams (36.36%)

 

Nickname-based observations

Back in November I took a look at cat- and dog-based nicknames with respect to college football. I did so again, this time with both brackets (I removed gender-specific references, e.g. Lady and Sugar Bears, Cowgirls, etc., for simplification):

  • 13 of the 68 (19.12%) men’s teams have nicknames of dogs (Bulldogs-5 and Huskies-1) and cats (Wildcats-4, Panthers-2, and Jaguars-1)
  • 12 of the 64 (18.75%) women’s teams are similarly inspired (Bulldogs-3, Tigers-3, Wildcats-2, Huskies-2, Great Danes-1, and Cougars-1)
  • 11 of all 132 teams use birds as an identifier (I counted Iowa’s Hawkeyes because, while not technically a bird, they employ a bird for their logo; conversely, I omitted Kansas’ Jayhawks because, while they use a bird in their logo, the nickname actually refers to the denizens of Kansas, particularly leading up to and during the Civil War. I also omitted Stanford’s Cardinal, as it references the shade of red and not the avian)
  • 11 men’s and 12 women’s teams (23 of 132, or 17.42%) reference other mammals ranging from the incorrectly-named Colorado Buffaloes (they’re actually referring to the genus Bison; the live mascot, Ralphie, is of the species Bison bison) to the water-dwelling Dolphins from Jacksonville University
  • The overwhelming majority of remaining nicknames refer to people, covering various ethnicities (Fighting Irish, Gales), native peoples (Utes, Seminoles), professions (Pirates, Friars), and titles (Commodores, Dukes, Governors)
  • As indicated above, while the men’s tourney is less original in the use of Bulldogs (5 to 3) and Wildcats (4 to 2) than the participating women’s teams, there is greater diversity overall in the men’s bracket. The 68 separate teams there employ 58 unique nicknames. On the women’s side, the 64 teams use 50 different nicknames. I’m not sure whether the most unusual duplication there is the Dukes (Duquesne and James Madison) or the Colonials (George Washington and Robert Morris)
  • I’m a little surprised the Buffalo and South Florida Bulls’ women’s teams didn’t opt for a different moniker altogether, though at least their respective school’s didn’t burden them with the awkward Lady Bulls. The same could be said for the South Carolina Gamecocks and San Francisco Dons
  • I expect there might be some creative headlines regardless of the outcome between Oregon State and Troy in the women’s bracket
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