Underdog-ity: High. The 19-16 Aggies didn’t win three games in a row this season until the conference tournament, and they haven’t had a 20-win team since 1988. You definitely don’t have to worry that this team peaked too early.
Entertaining Player Names: None. The committee picked the play-in teams wisely this year.
Disheveled-ness of Head Coach: OK. Now we’re getting somewhere. Here we have a center part and negative sideburns. Dale Layer is clearly a man who sees every minute spent on personal grooming as time away from drawing up inbounds plays.
Underdog-ity: Off the charts. If you can pick only one 20-loss team in the tournament, this is the team to pick. (Thankfully, they’re the only 20-loss team in the tournament.)
New Mexico State (No. 13 Midwest)
Team Name: Aggies
Colors: Crimson and White
Mascot: Pistol Pete. Sounds pretty awesome, right? No. It’s a guy in a fake mustache and cheap Halloween cowboy costume.
Entertaining Player Names: Remi Barry is fun to say, but as much fun as making fun of that mascot? No.
Disheveled-ness of Head Coach: Marvin Menzies has to be the best-dressed man in Las Cruces. If only Pistol Pete’s outfit cost one-tenth the price of one of Menzies’ suits.
Underdog-ity: Low. The Aggies have made the NCAA tournament three of the past four years and 20 times overall. On the other hand, how much of a power could they be? I mean, have you seen their mascot? The other mascots probably refuse to sit with him at lunch at mascot school.
Entertaining Player Names: Tweety Knight. Boom. We’ve got ourselves a legitimate Sweet 16 contender.
Disheveled-ness of Head Coach:Kermit Davis is fairly well put together. On the plus side, his name is Kermit. Also, Middle Tennessee has an assistant coach named Win Case. Win. It’s like a bracket sign from God.
Underdog-ity: High. The Blue Raiders seem to be the team the big meanies in the national media are hating on in this tournament. You know, like that awful VCU team of two years ago.
Disheveled-ness of Head Coach: Oh, I don’t know. Getting swarmed after hitting a famous game-winning shot can make a man look pretty disheveled.
Underdog-ity: Having Bryce Drew as your head coach means your underdog-ity goes to 11. In fact, if you look up underdog-ity in the dictionary, Bryce Drew’s picture is there (in an alternate universe where underdog-ity is a real word).
Entertaining Player Names: None. There goes Albany’s reputation for being the entertainment capital of New York state.
Disheveled-ness of Head Coach:Sufficiently disheveled. You know he won’t let the Great Danes lose without shedding his coat and screaming at least once. That’s all you can ask from a coach come tournament time.
Underdog-ity: Off the charts. They’re playing Duke in the round of 64. They are America’s favorite underdog.
Entertaining Player Names: Madut Bol. Yes, he is Manute Bol’s son. Feel free to spend the rest of your day watching Manute Bol highlights on YouTube. You’ll no doubt find it’s one of the more enjoyable ways to spend a day.
Disheveled-ness of Head Coach: Roman Banks dresses well. But looking unkempt might come with time. He’s been a head coach for just two seasons. Patience.
Underdog-ity: Low. Southern’s round of 64 opponent is No. 1 seed Gonzaga, a team that has high underdog-ity for a 1-seed. Sorry, Southern. But your underdog-ity has been trumped.
The Wichita State Shockers have all kinds of underdog cachet, led by this terrifying mascot.
Entertaining Player Names: Chadrack Lufile, Derail Green, Cleanthony Early, Tekele Cotton. The Shockers have entertaining name depth most teams would kill for.
Disheveled-ness of Head Coach: Who knows. It’s hard to notice anything other than the fact that Gregg Marshall has yellow glasses. Wichita’s LensCrafters must be a wild place.
Underdog-ity: Low. Wichita State is a regular tournament team, and it's playing perennial NCAA tournament disappointment Pitt in the round of 64. It’s hard to be an underdog when you’re a favorite. In fact, it’s like the opposite of the definition of the word.
Boise State (No. 13 West)
Team Name: Broncos
Colors: Orange and Blue
Mascot: I’m going to assume a bronco getting run over by a steamroller that says “BCS” on the side. No? Oh. Never mind. It turns out the mascot is a kind of creepy smiling horse. Even worse.
Entertaining Player Names: Igor Hadziomerovic. It has a certain Ali Farokhmanesh quality to it. Good sign for Boise State.
Disheveled-ness of Head Coach: Leon Rice usually wears a suit and tie, but the Broncos will get a boost if he decides on this orange, ill-fitting, zip-up sweater vest thing.
Underdog-ity: High. The name Boise State is a synonym for “underdog.” And this is Boise State’s basketball program, which takes second billing to its regularly disrespected football program. The underdog is strong in this one.
La Salle (No. 13 West)
Team Name: Explorers
Colors: Blue and Gold
Mascot: Less intimidating when the head is removed. The mascot should take care not to decapitate itself.
Entertaining Player Names: None. This is another team lacking entertaining player names that was forced to start the tournament in Dayton. Greatest selection committee ever? Greatest selection committee ever.
Entertaining Player Names: None. But at least that “Mother Goose” book Bruiser has includes some good names like Humpty Dumpty, Jack Sprat, Georgy Porgy, Mother Hubbard and Wee Willie Winkie. Those five would make up a formidable NCAA tournament underdog team.
Disheveled-ness of Head Coach: Rick Byrd enjoys a good sweater vest. Men who are sweater vest aficionados tend not to get very disheveled.
Underdog-ity: Low. Belmont has made it to the NCAA tournament six of the past eight seasons. It’s getting hard to take it seriously as an underdog.
Harvard (No. 14 West)
Let’s not waste our time. Nothing related to Harvard can ever be considered an underdog. “But the big-brained often make terrible athletes!” Ah, how soon we forget the lessons of Linsanity. Linsanity? No? The guy who played for the Knicks who ... no? Nothing? Doesn’t ring a bell? Never mind.
Entertaining Player Names: None. Sigh. When people talk about how this was a down season in college basketball, they’re talking about the lack of entertaining player names.
Disheveled-ness of Head Coach: Oh, yes. Tim Cluess is the kind of coach America wants to watch for three weeks.
Underdog-ity: Solid. Iona played well down the stretch and hasn’t lost a game by more than three points since Jan. 20. The Gaels are in every game. This is helpful information for your friendly bracket pool and also for other types of, you know ... point-spread-related basketball wagering that is significantly less friendly if you don’t come up with the money you owe.
Entertaining Player Names: Filip Cvjeticanin. He’s got what looks like it sounds like “jet” and “cannon” in his name. That’s two more awesome things than most of us have in our names.
Disheveled-ness of Head Coach: Low. Andy Enfield has a David Letterman-style gap in his teeth, but he keeps everything else together pretty well.
Underdog-ity: Very high. Florida Gulf Coast has been in Division I for just two years and has existed only since 1997, which is probably why you'd never heard of it before looking at your bracket. No need to feel ashamed. This time our ignorance has some merit.
LIU Brooklyn (No. 16 East)
Team Name: Blackbirds
Colors: Black and White
Mascot: Just a traditional bird costume. You might not think it looks cool, but that’s the point. It’s ironic. Ah, you’re hopeless.
Entertaining Player Names: Booker Hucks. And, yes, LIU Brooklyn’s colors are black and white, meaning the big corporate Nets came in and stole that from them. Figures.
Disheveled-ness of Head Coach: Brooklyn’s new coach is Jack Perri. You've probably never even heard of him.
Underdog-ity: The Blackbirds have made three consecutive trips to the NCAA tournament. They were a lot better before they went mainstream.
James Madison (No. 16 East)
Team Name: Dukes
Colors: Purple and Gold
Mascot: A guy in a gray Snuggie and a dog head with human mascot eyebrows. Worst of all, its name is Duke Dog, which sounds like a “cool” rapper name a Duke student would give himself.
Entertaining Player Names: Dimitrije Cabarkapa, Andre Nation. We’re one tournament run from basketball fans saying they’re members of Andre Nation Nation.
Disheveled-ness of Head Coach: Low. Matt Brady is a man who knows his way around a brush, hair dryer and bottle of Aqua Net.
Underdog-ity: High. James Madison hasn’t been to the NCAA tournament in 19 years. Plus, it has a dog mascot that looks as if it would be seeded 16th in a dog mascot tournament.
Temple (No. 9 East)
A No. 9 seed and mid-major status aside, Temple is not a basketball underdog. The program has a proud and accomplished history. If you want to talk about an underdog team at Temple, look at the football program. The Owls once got kicked out of the Big East for being too bad at football for the Big East. It gets no lower than that.
Montana (No. 13 East)
Team Name: Grizzlies
Colors: Maroon and Silver
Mascot:High-quality for a mid-major. They could have made it a little less friendly-looking, though. It is a grizzly bear, not a teddy bear. Opponents tend not to be intimidated by something they want to cuddle.
Entertaining Player Names: None. But ... wait for it ... wait for it ...
Disheveled-ness of Head Coach: Their coach’s name is Wayne Tinkle! Who cares how he dresses. Who cares that his players have boring names. This program is run by Tinkle.
Underdog-ity: Low. Montana has made the tournament three of the past four years. On the other hand ... this looks like a hopeless underdog. Our mascots’ heads are falling off!
Underdog-ity: High. Bucknell famously once knocked off Kansas in the NCAA tournament. (No, not that time Kansas got eliminated early. Or that time. No, not that time, either. Nope. Wrong again. Remember now? Yeah. That time.) The Bison's underdog cred is legit.
Underdog-ity: Pacific lost three games to tournament teams this season. The Tigers lost those games by an average of 22 points per game, including a 28-point loss to Saint Mary’s. There’s no better way to burnish one’s underdog cred than getting crushed by other underdogs. This team is legit.