There are 68 teams in the NCAA Tournament field. Each of these teams has roughly 15 players, all of which have names. However, of these 1,000-plus players, I'd estimate only about 900 or so have legitimate names that human beings are supposed to have. Therefore, I've come here to give you The Name Bracket.
In order to assist those of you who need help picking their bracket, but would like to do so in a way that has no relation to actual basketball, I'll tell you who would win in a matchup of the best name on each squad. I come not to mock these names, but to praise them -- I'm not going for funniness, just overall brilliance.
Here's how I projected the whole thing (click to enlarge):
SURELY, there will be disagreements, so, for the sake of full disclosure, here is the full list of all players considered (players in the bracket are bolded)
Florida: Lexx Edwards, Dorian Finney-Smith.
Lexx with two X's takes the cake for me.
MSM: Rashad Whack. No competition!
Albany: John Puk, Pete Hooley
Colorado: Spencer Dinwiddie, Askia Booker. Askia is a super-neat name, if you're up on your Songhai emperors.
Pitt: Aron Nwankwo, Joshua Ko. Pronounced "Wank-woooooooooo."
VCU: Mo Alie-Cox, Juvonte Reddic, Antravious Simmons. Juvonte nearly got my vote as a Jew who likes my religion in people's names.
SFA: Ben Brown-White, Sharife Sergeant. I like that the dude couldn't pick a color, but is it too much to hope Sergeant enters the military and becomes, you know, a major?
UCLA: Wanaah Bail, Sooren Derboghosian. "This party's lame -- wanna bail?" Apologies to our long-named Armenian friend.
Tulsa: TK Edogi, Emmanuel Ezechinonso. I tend not to side with long, clearly foreign names, because I'm not all about mocking other cultures, but this is an excessively long name and there wasn't a lot of depth.
Ohio State: Marc Loving, Amadeo Della Valle. You've lost that loving feeling. I do love saying "Amadeo Della Valle," though.
Dayton: Scoochie Smith, Dyshawn Pierre. SCOOCHIE TIME
Syracuse: Rakeem Christmas. Can't beat this.
WMU: Bishop Robinson, Hayden Hoerdemann, Connor Tava. I'm a big fan of the Christmas-Bishop religious matchup here. Also, Bishop Robinson could just be a bishop.
New Mexico: Cleveland Thomas, Obij Aget. "Oh, be a Jet." -- NFL free agency pitch. But being named Cleveland wins out.
Stanford: Chasson Randle, Robbie Lemons. DAWWWWW, ROBBIE LEMONS.
Kansas: Naadir Tharpe, Conner Frankamp.
Eastern Kentucky: Deverin Muff, Tarius Johnson, Jaylen Babb-Harrison. DEVERIN MUFF.
Virginia: Caid Kirven, London Perrantes: I always side with names that sound like they're renditions of human names by aliens who only heard human names in passing but didn't pick out the exact letters. "Caid Kirven" is that.
CCU: Colton Ray-St. Cyr, El-Hadji Ndiguene, Ron Trapps, Kyle Buffkin. I just wish CRSC had more names. Almost went with BUFFKIN.
GW: Skyler White, Paris Maragkos. Wow, between Paris and London I'm surprisingly not into these European names. Breaking Bad wins out, though.
Cincy: Ge'Lawn Guyn, Jamaree Strickland, Deshaun Morman. It's pronounced "Ja-lawn Gwynn," but sometimes I just like to say "ga-lawn goiiiiiiiiiin" in a weird voice while watching Cincinnati basketball. I also think "Deshaun" is the least Mormon name of all time.
Harvard: Steve Mondou-Missi, Siyani Chambers. I just wish Steve Mondou-Missi got married to Missy Elliott and her name became Missy Mondou-Missi. Is that so much to ask?
MSU: Denzel Valentine, Travis Trice: Denzel IS my Valentine, y'all. Combined with Michigan State football's Denzel Drone, we're really picking the opposite two sides of the Denzel niceness spectrum.
Delaware: Davon Usher, Jarvis Threatt, Cazmon Hayes
UNC: Wade Moody, Kennedy Meeks
Providence: Josh Fortune, Junior Lomomba: The Kennedy-Lomomba matchup didn't go well the first time. I almost went with Fortune, because who the hell is named Fortune, but "Junior Lomomba" is just so fun to say.
Iowa State: Bubu Palo, Naz Long, Kourtlin Jackson. BUBU! BUBU! Naz is like half-man half amazin'.
NCCU: Enoch Hood, Karamo Jawara: Enoch is biblical, hood is hood.
UConn: Shabazz Napier, Kentan Facey, Tor Watts: Shabazz is a spectacular name, but between Napier and Mohammed, I'm getting used to it.
St. Joe's: Papa Ndao, Evan Maschmeyer: Papa!
Villanova: Ryan Arcidiacano, Jayvaughn Pinkston: Gross. Coulda done better.
Milwaukee: Quinton Gustavson, Kyle Kelm, Austin Arians: Rough bottom of the bracket.
Arizona: Jacob Hazzard
Weber State: Aziz Leeks, Kyndahl Hill: Tough pick.
Gonzaga: Rem Bakamus: Dude's name sounds like something evil Satanic priests chant over and over again while making a broth out of people's hearts.
OK State: Ford Stuen, Le'Bryan Nash, Phil Forte: I love Phil Forte on SNL! Also, just name your kid Bryan!
Oklahoma: Je'lon Hornbeak, Buddy Hield, Trey Slate: A Hornbeak definitely sounds like an exotic bird, and Je'lon definitely sounds like a name of an exotic bird.
NDSU: Marshall Bjorkland, Jordan Aaberg: Nearly went BJORK, but went Aaaaaaaaaaaab. Two Scandinavians that didn't have a chance in the second round.
San Diego State: Parker U'u, Kibret Woldemichael, Ageel Quinn. VERY TALENTED NAME TEAM! VERY TALENTED NAME TEAM! I went with U'u because I really like this Redman song, with Dave Chappelle in the music video. I don't know what's going on with KILBRET WOLDEMICHAEL, but it's sad it couldn't make the cut.
Baylor: Allerik Freeman, Rico Gathers
Nebraska: Terran Petteway, Tai Webster, Shavon Shields, Kyle Kurkowski: Dude with all the K's nearly made the cut, but I gave it to Terran for being named after Starcraft.
Creighton Jahenns Manigat, Geoffery Grosell, Mogboluwaga Oginni, Avery Dingman: NOT A HUMAN NAME alert on Jahenns Manigat.
Lafayette: Xavian Rimmer, Hayward Register, Vieux Kande, Elfrid Payton: ANOTHER VERY STRONG NAME TEAM. I went with Xavian because XAVIAN and he's named after the concept of missing shots/a sex thing, but Hayward Register is my local newspaper of choice, and "Vieux" is just "old" in French.
Oregon: Waverly Austin, Damyean Dotson: Please say Waverly Austin's name while eating crumpets and raising your pinky and saying "OHHHHHHHHHHHH, please, Jeeves, more Brandy."
Wisconsin: Duje Dukan, Vitto Brown: Du-Du.
American: Justice Montgomery, Yilret Yiljep, John Schoof: ANOTHER VERY STRONG NAME TEAM. Justice Montgomery nearly got it for sounding like an actual Supreme Court justice, and Schoof nearly got it for SCHOOOOOOOOOOF. But Yilret Yiljep are the noises you hear when you scratch a record backwards. I like the Du-Du Yil-Yil matchup.
Wichita State: Chadrach Lufile, Ria'n Holland, Cleanthony Early: I like Chadrach for being from the bible/Beastie Boys -- still looking for a hooper named Meshach or Abednego -- but Cleanthony is named Cleanthony.
Cal Poly: Maliik Love, Ridge Shipley: Dope quiet storm radio host Maliik Love. Ridge Shipley is super-pretentious but didn't make it.
Texas Southern: DD Scarver, Aaric Murray, Madarious Gibbs: I don't know why I like DD Scarver so much. A man who makes scars.
Kentucky: Dakari Johnson, EJ Floreal: You can't tell me this isn't a shampoo.
St. Louis: Jordair Jett, Grandy Glaze, Austin McBroom: NOT FAIR. Any of these three could've represented most teams. I went with Jordair Jett, because there's the Air-Jet thing, the Air Jordan thing, and the fact that he's a really pudgy point guard with dreads. Grandy Glaze is spectacular, though.
NC State: Cat Barber, Staats Battle, Beejay Anya, Chris Brickhouse
NOT FAIR THIS TEAM HAS TOO MANY GOOD NAMES
To be honest, the bracket competition was over before it started. Among Cat Barber, Staats Battle and BeeJay Anya, the winner was gonna be from NC State. I decided to go with Cat Barber, even though his real name is Anthony, because I like picturing a guy whose job is cutting cats' hair. Staats Battle is a battle of stats. BeeJay Anya is named BEEJAY ANYA. And Chris Brickhouse is a basketball player whose last name is Brickhouse.
Any pick could've been great.
It's absolutely BRUTAL that these guys matched up with St. Louis first round. Tragic.
Lousiville: Montrezl Harrell, Mangok Mathiang: I like when players become well-known enough we ignore their names. It's happening to Montrezl. Mangok's name is pronounced "MANGO," which almost got him the bid.
Manhattan: Emmy Andujar, RaShawn Stores, Ashton Pankey: Had to give it to Pankey.
UMass: Jabarie Hinds, Maxie Esho: Butts.
Iowa: Okey Ukah, Peter Jok, Melsahn BAsabe
Tennessee: Quinton Chievous, Armani Moore, Galen Campbell, Robert Hubbs III
Duke: Rasheed Sulaimon: This isn't a funny name, but it is magnificent.
Texas: Prince Ibeh, DeMarcus Croaker, Javan Felix, Brandon Allums, Tarale Murry: I actually initially had Prince Ibeh in there, but decided to go with Croaker. That's right: I turned a Prince into a frog.
Arizona State: Jahii Carson, Chance Murray, Jarrett Upchurch: I also like saying "Jahii" in a weird voice.
Michigan: Caris LeVert
Wofford: Eric Wagenlander
I had to make some tough picks, and, to be honest, any of the Final Four could've won. I don't want to talk through every decision -- they were really all spur-of-the-moment choices made on account of the humor I found in each name, as explained above, you jerk -- but I DO wanna know how you guys feel about my picks.
Agree or disagree in the comments -- no matter what, know that you WILL win your bracket pool if you decide on names, even if we have disagreements about who wins.