The beer: Strangeways Brewing GWAR Blood
Yes, the Rams have a stifling defense and a decent shot of pulling off the upset and advancing out of the first round. But a VCU cheerleader angrily stomping out a balloon with a GWAR-like intensity is the reason the Rams are paired with GWAR Blood. Did you know GWAR's from Richmond? Who would've thunk you'd be learning heavy-metal facts in a NCAA story. Now you truly have seen it all!
The beer: Philadelphia Brewing Co. Holy Wooder
For a Catholic university, there cannot be a more perfect union of beer and basketball than Holy Wooder, a Belgian tripel initially released for the Pope's visit to Philly. Even though Pope Francis zoomed off in a FIAT months ago, the beer can still can be found on taps in the area. And Nova fans will need every bit of the nearly 10% ABV beer if they flame out of the tourney in their second game as they did last year.
The beer: Champion Shower Beer
Is it a little on the nose that we chose a brewery called Champion to represent a team that could legitimately take the title? Yes. But considering we're trying really, really hard not to make a comment about the coach being named Tony Bennett, we'll forgive ourselves for only going for the obvious 50% of the time. Hoo!
Weber State Wildcats
The beer: Talisman Dagda IPA
Will Joel Bolomboy end up anything like fellow Weber alum Damian Lillard? Well, he's already got a good start in that he's a great player leading a mediocre team (ooooh... and that was written by a Blazers fan). Weber's appearance here is just a fantastic treat for them, but if they're going to get past Xavier, they're gonna have to pray to any god they can, even if it's an obscure Celtic one named Dagda.
West Virginia Mountaineers
The beer: Chestnut Brew Works Your Best Hoption
The Mountaineers look ready to go deep in the tourney, having beaten solid teams like Baylor and Iowa State. And Jaysean Paige is one of the reasons why. You could even say he's the team's best offensive option. And wouldn't you know, Chestnut Brew Works' 8.2% ABV Your Best Hoption is our pick for the beer of the Mountaineers! Oh man, we're clever. The beer, like Paige, has plenty of hops. It's an imperial IPA, after all.
Wichita State Shockers
Their beer: Tallgrass Brewing Co. Buffalo Sweat
One of Kansas' most famous craft brews goes to one of the most popular random college hat choices for teenagers who just found out what a certain hand signal meant. Side note: this tasty porter will become all the more relevant if the Shockers, already having won a play-in game, keep the fun going against Arizona, and then 14th-seeded Buffalo also upends Miami. Because then they'll make Buffalo Sweat. Get it?
Their beer: Ale Asylum Bedlam!
How else would one describe the scene in Madison if the Badgers make yet another deep tourney run, this time sans Bo Ryan? Those kids know how to party. See Halloween. Or Mifflin. Or basically any weekend. Or weeknight. Also, you'll want to savor every second of drinking this Madison-brewed, citra-hopped Belgian IPA, much the way the Badgers savor every second of the shot clock.
The beer: Rhinegeist Truth IPA
Because this represents the moment of Truth for an Xavier squad that reached the Sweet 16 last season. Because the citrusy notes on this Cincy-brewed IPA taste like victory. Because jazz trumpeter Miles Davis was the Truth. He’s not on the team. But sophomore guard Myles Davis is, and he’s pretty good, too.
New Haven, CT
The beer: New England Brewing Co. Imperial Stout Trooper
Because a Star Wars-themed beer is all-too appropriate for a bunch of Ivy League NERDS! Also, this is the Bulldogs’ first postseason berth since a long time ago (1962). Also there’s a big controversy brewing over their captain being expelled. We’re not going to joke about that.
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Die-hard Spartan Andy Kryza, Rooster Kevin Alexander, and Sad Illinoisan Matt Lynch contributed to this report.
Lee Breslouer is a senior writer for Thrillist, and his pick to win it all is Stony Brook. Follow him to more great predictions: @LeeBreslouer.