Round-Up Ready: March Madness Edition

It’s that time of the year again, March Madness! In case you aren’t sure what all the fuss is about, Rob Delaney offers a unique explainer of the madness, and this supercut from the characters of Mad Men effectively captures some of the madness.

A large part of the enjoyment of March Madness, comes from filling out a bracket, there is no shortage of advice for filling out a bracket (see here, here, here, here, and here), following the ups and downs, the Cinderellas (and all these other buzzwords), the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat (perfectly displayed in this 2006 UCLA vs. Gonzaga game) throughout the tournament. However, if for some reason the traditional bracket scheme doesn’t add enough excitement for you, Slate offers alternative ways to gamble on the tournament.

Who will be crowned the cutest animal. My money is on

Who will be crowned the cutest animal. I am going with Giraffes for the upset over Otters.

If college basketball is not your thing, there are alternative tournaments that are available that try and capitalize on the true March Madness. Be it MTV’s Musical March Madness, Vulture’s Best Sitcom of the Past 30 Years, Land Robots and Flying Drones, or Star Wars’ This is Madness Tournament, there is a bracket/tournament for everyone, especially for animal lovers. Buzzfeed is presenting Animal March Madness, which seeks to crown the next cutest animal (animals who have already been the big thing are excluded, i.e., cats, dogs, owls, pandas, dolphins, penguins, sloths, and hedgehogs). The Buzzfeed post inspired an Assistant Professor of Human Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University, Katie Hinde, to create a bracket using *simulated* head to head combat and competition among mammals, as an access point for talking about mammals.The match-ups are previewed in the video below, and here is a link to a blank bracket.

Each round/battle features a discussion of the various traits and adaptations that might serve that mammal well in the battle, for example in the third round match up between the Lion and the Polar Bear she tweets “Lion: Claws, Jaws, & Leap; Polar Bear Claws, Jaws, & Reach… & Heavier #2013MMM”, ultimate winner, The Polar Bear (Without tall grass for Lion to stalk and surprise blitz Polar Bear, lion was at a major disadvantage). This tournament combines the joys of simulated animal battle and the thrill of betting on an underdog, or naked mole rat, as the case may be. And speaking of mammals, Radiolab is running a bracket to come up with a name for our hypothetical common placental mammal ancestor. So make your picks, enjoy the tournament, and don’t feel too bad if you don’t pick a perfect bracket, at 1 in 9,223,372,036,854,775,808 (based on random selection), the odds are not in your favour.

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