By Aaron Earls
Everyone has their preferred method of picking teams in March Madness. Some intense fans go deep into the numbers. Other casual viewers use the mascots or team colors.
But what would it look like if we used some biblical principles to choose teams in a lighthearted way?
Here are eight fun ways to fill out your bracket using Bible-based bracketology.
The last shall be first
If we apply Jesus’ words in Matthew 20:16, the NCAA tournament will be full of upsets.
By looking at the last teams to make it into the field in each region, the Final Four would come down to Texas Longhorns, Providence Friars, UCLA Bruins, and Syracuse Orange.
A bracket in God’s image
If people were God’s highest creation, made in His image, what if we advance all the human mascots?
The Final Four could host Virginia Cavaliers, Xavier Musketeers, Michigan State Spartans, and Purdue Boilermakers.
Take me to church
If we look at the most church-related mascots, this would make for a historic tournament with the first 16-seed not only winning a game, but advancing all the way to the Final Four.
Providence Friars, Penn Quakers, Tennessee Volunteers (what church doesn’t love volunteers?), and St. Bonaventure Bonnies (it’s a stretch, but they have “saint” in their name) all make it to San Antonio.
An ark full of upsets
From creation and Noah’s ark to talking donkeys and honey-filled dead lions, the Bible is full of animals. Here’s how the tournament could go based on picking animal mascots with biblical significance.
Rhode Island Rams, North Carolina Tar Heels (their mascot is also a ram), Miami Hurricanes (it might not be in the Bible, but David Crowder says God’s love is like hurricane), and UCLA Bruins (bears like those Elisha summoned to maul the boys making fun of him for being bald) would make an interesting Final Four.
When the evil prosper
Psalm 73 contains the psalmist lamenting the wicked prospering in this life. What would happen if the most evil mascots advanced?
Wright State Raiders, Xavier Musketeers, Texas Tech Red Raiders, and (of course) Duke Blue Devils would make the most evil Final Four ever.
Blessed are the Blue Jays
The Beatitudes give Jesus’ perspective on the blessed, flourishing life, so what would happen in the NCAA tournament if the poor, mournful, meek, hungry, merciful, pure, peaceful, and persecuted advanced?
Creighton Blue Jays, South Dakota State Jack Rabbits, Penn Quakers, and LIU Brooklyn Blackbirds could make for a very blessed Final Four.
A little child shall lead them
If we look at Isaiah 11:6 and follow a little child, what would your bracket look like if a kid picked the teams?
If it’s good enough for Jesus’ disciples to choose the person to replace Judas, it’s good enough to choose your Final Four.
Are there any other Bible-based ways to pick teams during the NCAA tournament?
Facts & Trends Bracket Challenge
Whatever your March Madness method, put it to the test in the Facts & Trends Bracket Challenge at ESPN.
Use the password “BibleBracket18” to compete against the Facts & Trends team, the Bible-based bracketology methods, and other readers. The reader with the top bracket will win some great books.
AARON EARLS (@WardrobeDoor) is online editor of Facts & Trends.