This is probably the weirdest bracket you’ll see this year. But I don’t know your life.
It’s March Madness, and you know what that means! A bunch of writers at various websites make up fake, goofy brackets to entertain you while you stress about your team getting upset in the Second Round of the NCAA tournament. This is one of those brackets. Welcome to the entirely nonsensical and meaningless Anagram bracket!
The rules to this were simple (and even with easy rules this still took way more time than I’d anticipated, of course): for each team I chose the best anagram that could be made out of their core name. Which means no “University” or “College of,” only the name of the school as it appears on a standard bracket. If necessary (i.e. TCU or UMBC) I un-abbreviated it and worked with that — but only the core part still.
The “best” qualifier shouldn’t really mean anything concrete since it’s whatever my own brain thought was most funny as I went through the list, and my brain can get pretty random. I didn’t re-seed the anagrams once they were decided, mostly because that would take way too much time on top of the hours already spent here but also because way more upsets happened if I didn’t and that’s most of the fun of this.
Here are all of the anagrams chosen, as well as a brief explanation and some honorable mentions if there were any. See the bracket above for the final results.
Alabama – Baa Lama: What if a sheep was the Dali Lama?
Arizona – Rona Zia: The most Real Housewives name of this entire endeavor. (Honorable mentions include “Ian Zora” which in my head is Ian Ziering’s doppelgänger’s name.)
Arizona State – Artisan Azote: Azote is apparently an obscure name for Nitrogen, and who doesn’t love some artisan nitrogen?
Arkansas – Saran Ska: The most boring ska band on the block.
Auburn – Burn UA: This one worked out a little too well, rivalry-wise.
Bucknell – Bull neck: There’s only so many things you can make out of Bucknell and this one just sounds funny.
Buffalo – Flab UFO: Who knows?
Butler – Lube RT: This sounds like something out of the depths of Weird Twitter that I don’t want to ever learn about.
Cal State Fullerton – Alf Electoral Stunt: In my head, Alf pulled a Jill Stein somehow.
Charleston – Lace Thorns: The most metal band in all of Charleston’s garages.
Cincinnati – Actinic Inn: Not saying this would be an inn you want to stay at but it does sound interesting.
Clemson – Moles, NC: The ghost town a group of protagonists arrive at during the opening of a The Hills Have Eyes sequel.
Creighton – Cringe Hot: When you’re attracted to someone who you definitely shouldn’t be attracted to. (Honorable mentions include Rice Thong which … no.)
Davidson – Adds Vino: Always add vino.
Duke – Ed UK: The name of that one guy who always sits at the end of the bar on a Tuesday night and never talks to anybody but keeps ordering the PBR and a shot special.
Florida – Old Rafi: A very “Florida Man” name.
Florida State – Faradise Lott: When you’re drunk and trying to argue about Paradise Lost with someone.
Georgia State – Reggae Taoist: This juxtaposition is slightly humorous. (Honorable mentions include Goatee Gratis and Agitate Ogres, both of which had a lot of potential.)
Gonzaga – Gaza Nog: Gonzaga definitely has some weird and probably dangerous Jungle Juice-adjacent drink called Gaza Nog.
Houston – Hun Soto: The knockoff version of the Han Solo movie.
Iona – No AI: Listen, there’s only so much you can do with Iona.
Kansas – NSA ska: Tell me there’s not a ska band made up of creatively frustrated NSA employees.
Kansas State – Satan Skates: Good mental image. (Honorable mentions include Santa Steaks and Satan Steaks, which is a fabulous fake corporate rivalry.)
Kentucky – Kent Yuck: Your kid’s AAU coach who you’re not sure if you can trust or not.
Lipscomb – Cop Limbs: Let’s not think about this one more than necessary.
LIU Brooklyn – Burly Lion OK: I’m not about to tell a burly lion he’s not okay.
Loyola (Chicago) – Alcoholic Yoga: As if I wasn’t going to give this one the nod.
Marshall – Mrs. Halal: Is there a Mr. Halal? (Honorable mentions include HR Llamas, another great mental image.)
Miami (Florida) – AD Flori Miami: An athletic director named Flori Miami would absolutely run a program in Florida and commit a million NCAA violations, the walk away scott free.
Michigan – Ham Icing: Disgusting, while also sounding like something you could get from a Michigan gas station.
Michigan State – Niche Stigmata: Oh you just got into stigmata? I prefer their old stuff way better. (Honorable mentions include Hesitant Magic, Atheist Macing, and Enigmatic Hats.)
Missouri – Iris Sumo: The name of a low-level female wrestler who has a very committed fanbase.
Montana – Ant Moan: Aren’t you at least a little curious about what an ant moan sounds like?
Murray State – MTA Treasury: Any sequel to The Hurricane Heist better revolve around the same team robbing the New York subway system’s treasury. Please.
Nevada – Dav Nae: That one dude in college who always tried to play you “Wagon Wheel” while you were lounging on the quad lawn.
New Mexico State – Cow Meat Sixteen: When the heir to a butcher conglomerate wants her Sweet Sixteen to be entirely burger-themed.
North Carolina Central – Carnal Crone Triathlon: Good (or at least weird) mental image.
North Carolina State – Harlots Recantation: That sounds like a party I’d want to go to.
North Carolina – Nonracial Thor: There weren’t many options here so let’s leave this one alone.
Ohio State – Otis Tahoe: The local mechanic who you inherently trust and is very nice but there’s something off about him.
Oklahoma – Koala Ohm: The most relaxing option on this list.
Penn – PENN: There was literally nothing to do with Penn. Sorry Penn.
Providence – Coven Pride: If you’re in a coven you should definitely be proud.
Purdue – Rude Up: I’m assuming this is a slang term the #teens are using these days.
Radford – Rad Ford: I may have given up on this one.
Rhode Island – Horde Island: The MILF Island spinoff you’ve been waiting for, from the mind of Jack Donaghy.
San Diego State – Geode Satanist: Sounds like a fun kind of Satanist.
Seton Hall – Lean Sloth: That sloth’s been hitting the gym.
South Dakota State – Had Stakeout Toast: Always make sure to bring snacks when on a stakeout.
St. Bonaventure – Ban Oven Utters: Not sure what “oven utters” would be but they definitely sound like something that should be banned.
Stephen F. Austin – Fishnet Peanuts: Again, not sure what this would actually be in real life.
Syracuse – Sauce Years: “I remember the Sauce Years … the worst part of the Spaghetti Wars. We almost didn’t make it through …”
TCU – Anarchists Exit: This would make a great stage direction.
Tennessee – Seen Teens: Try to say “seen teens in Tennessee” 10 times fast.
Texas – ET Sax: Picture ET playing a saxophone. You’re welcome.
Texas A&M – Meat Sax: Now picture ET playing a meat saxophone. You’re welcome again.
Texas Southern – Extraneous Host: This is a homemaker’s nightmare.
Texas Tech – Aches Text: The “There All Is Aching” of this bracket.
UCLA – Confessional Galleria: This just sounds really intriguing as a place?
UMBC – Abnormally Dotty Manicure: What a nightmare.
UNC Greensboro – Goober Scunner: This could easily be college slang that only students at UNC Greensboro use. You don’t know.
Villanova – Anvil Oval: “What is Wile E. Coyote’s worse nightmare, Alex?”
Virginia – Grain VII: You had to have seen Grains 1-6 to really understand the backstory of Grain VII.
Virginia Tech – Chianti Giver: My favorite theoretical person.
West Virginia – Gravities Win: Gravity always wins.
Wichita State – Satiate Witch: Just satiate the witch, to be safe. Witches seem like they’d be nicer if they are satiated.
Wright State – Tart Weights: Working out would definitely be more fun if the weights were tarts.
Xavier – Ax Lver: The license plate of the barista that lives in your neighborhood and thinks he’s metal.
Final Four: Meat Sax, Alcoholic Yoga, Lean Sloth, Mrs. Halal.
Champion: Alcoholic Yoga