Texas mascot Hook 'Em

I have many regrets in my life, but right now one of the biggest is that I didn’t fill out my dog bracket.

Every year, when the NCAA men’s basketball tournament rolls around, my husband comes down with a touch of March Madness and invites me to play brackets. Even though I do not follow college basketball. Or any college sport, for that matter. Or, well, any sport.

But I play brackets anyway. This year, I intended to pick the teams with the cutest mascots, which meant that I would have called the biggest upset in tournament history, when the No. 1-seeded Virginia Cavaliers were beaten by the No. 16-seeded University of Maryland Baltimore County Retrievers.

Others may analyze basketball teams on blocks and steals. I judge by fluffiness.

My Final Four teams would have been the UMBC Retrievers, the Gonzaga Bulldogs, the Butler Bulldogs and the Murray State Racers (i.e., pretty horses). If only the Virginia Cavaliers had been the Virginia Cavalier Spaniels.

The rest of the tournament teams would break down thusly:

WILD ANIMALS (VICIOUS)

Kentucky Wildcats, Kansas State Wildcats, Davidson Wildcats, Arizona Wildcats, Villanova Wildcats, Cincinnati Bearcats, Missouri Tigers, Clemson Tigers, Auburn Tigers, Texas Southern Tigers, Houston Cougars, Charleston Cougars, Georgia State Panthers, Nevada Wolfpack, North Carolina State Wolfpack, Loyola Chicago Wolf Ramblers, New Mexico State Lobos, Montana Grizzlies, UCLA Bruins, Michigan Wolverines, Arkansas Razorbacks, Florida Gators.

WILD ANIMALS (GENTLER)

Marshall Bison, Lipscomb Bison, Bucknell Bison, Buffalo Bulls, Texas Longhorns, Rhode Island Rams, Kansas Jayhawks, Creighton Bluejays, South Dakota State Jackrabbits, TCU Horned Frogs.

ARMED MEN

Tennessee Volunteers, Radford Highlanders, Wright State Rowdy Raiders, San Diego State Aztecs, Xavier Musketeers, West Virginia Mountaineers, Texas Tech Red Raiders, Cal State Fullerton Titans, Seton Hall Pirates, Oklahoma Sooners, Florida State Seminoles, Michigan State Spartans, UNCG Spartans, Duke Blue Devils, Iona Gaels, Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks.

MEN OF PEACE

Penn Quakers, Providence Friars.

FORCES OF NATURE (VIOLENT)

Miami Hurricanes, Purdue Boilermakers, Wichita State Shockers.

PRETTY COLORS

Syracuse Orangemen, Alabama Crimson Tide.

UNCLASSIFIABLE

North Carolina Tar Heels, Ohio State Buckeyes, Texas A&M Aggies, Virginia Tech Hokies.

Lisa Davis is Features Editor of The Anniston Star. Contact her at 256-235-3555 or ldavis@annistonstar.com.

Features Editor Lisa Davis: 256-235-3555.

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