The round of 32 saw the end of some classic names. Before we get into the Sweet 16, please allow me eulogize some of the names we lost last round.
Tahir Whitehead - The brilliance of your name was too good for this world. The mystery of the name "Tahir" plus the passive-aggressive nature of Whitehead should have given you easy passage into the Sweet 16. Yet this world's cruelty had you fall at the feet of James Ihedigbo: A man with one of the most common, most boring first names. You deserved better.
Taylor Boggs - Though your identity still remains a secret, you won the hearts of many in the first round of the tournament. You were a victim of unfortunate circumstance, facing worthy competitor Nevin Lawson in just the second round of the tournament. In another region, you may have made a run into the Elite Eight, but luck's cruel methodology had you depart from this earth far before your time.
Skye Dawson - You were slayed at the hands of my arch-enemy of this tournament, LaAdrian Waddle. I will avenge your death, Skye. I will now make it my life's mission to make sure Waddle does not win this tournament.
Cornelius Lucas - The king is dead. Our most regal entrant was beheaded by juggernaut Crezdon Butler. Your one-round reign over this tournament will remain the most innocent of times during this brutal war. Goodbye, sweet prince.
Here is what is left of this mess:
1 Braxston Cave vs. 4 Xavier Proctor
This is the battle of the X's. Braxston uses the letter in a conventional fashion, but follows it up with a completely unnecessary S. Xavier spits in the face of the "cks" pronunciation of the letter. No way, buddy. You pronounce that like a Z, ya jerk.
Both names also strangely feature a V in it, because why not pile all of the world's least-used letters in once place and see what sort of beauty emerges? And beautiful are both names.
I believe this matchup will come down to the second half: the last names. Cave is a pretty simple word, but it is somewhat startling to see it as a last name. You don't belong there, silly little Cave. Go home to all of the normal nouns; this is a place for us Propers.
Proctor, on the other hand, cannot stop making me laugh. I know it is also a non-proper noun that means supervisor, but all I can think of is proctologist, which is both a ridiculous profession and a perfect word for that profession.
6 James Ihedigbo vs. 2 Isa Abdul-Quddus
I have already given my feelings on the name of James Ihedigbo. For as good of a last name as he has, the first name really holds him back. This deep into the tournament, you will need a well-balanced offense to advance. Isa Abdul-Quddus has that whole package that could very well get him out of this region and into the Final Four. This should be the most lopsided matchup this round. QUDDUS!
1 Ezekiel Ansah vs. 4 Riley Reiff
This is the battle of back-to-back first-round picks. Ezekiel Ansah could very well be the favorite to win the tournament. Everything about his name is unique, and it has a pun built into it. Speaking of which, this round's Ansah Pun of the Day is Ansah your telephone! (caution: foul language)
Riley Reiff may not be quite as unique as Ansah, but it is extremely poetic. It is bouncy, it is alliterative and it is playful. Here's a short poem that I made in 20 seconds to illustrate that point.
Ate some beef
And drank a bit of water
He fell down
And broke his crown
And Jill came... okay, I realized what I did there, but see how nicely his name fits in there?
6 Nevin Lawson vs. 2 Jermelle Cudjo
This is an interesting matchup between two names that couldn't be more dissimilar. Nevin Lawson is neat, compact and proper. Jermelle Cudjo is sloppy, contradictory and aggressive. But both names are very comfortable in their identity. Both names accept themselves for who they are, and that is a beautiful thing. If we could all learn to be a little more like the names Nevin Lawson and Jermelle Cudjo, the world would be a better place. I love you all the way you are.
1 Joique Bell vs. 4 LaAdrian Waddle
DEATH TO (the name) LAADRIAN WADDLE! Waddle is the pathetic gait of a flightless bird.
This is very serious. I need Waddle to lose. I would never, ever Joique about this. LaAdrian Waddle: the Bell tolls for thee.
But vote however you want.
3 Crezdon Butler vs. 2 Darius Slay
Crezdon Butler barely avoided the upset against Cinderella Story Cornelius Lucas. I continue to only be able to describe the name Crezdon as "crunchy." I love it.
Darius slayed his second-round opponent, Kyle Van Noy, in convincing fashion. He better not let his guard down, because Crezdon is going to bring it.
Hey! I just realized Butler is another basketball school commonly featured in the NCAA tournament. That's got to count for something! No, you're right, it doesn't. What are we talking about again?
1 Golden Tate vs. 5 Emil Igwenagu
Golden Tate continues to lay waste to his opponents. Tyrunn Walker was his latest victim, receiving only nine percent of the vote against the man who balls more than any other man in the vicinity.
Emil Igwenagu has had a more tumultuous route to the Sweet 16. He snuck past Mohammed Seisay by a mere 68 votes.
This matchup basically comes down to your preference between chemistry and ingenuity. Golden and Tate are somewhat conventional by themselves, but together they create a Captain Planet-esque superhero. Emil Igwenagu takes letters you thought had no business standing next to each other and creates new sounds and rhythms never heard before. Emil Igwenagu is the Bill Belichick of names.
3 Haloti Ngata vs. 2 Theo Riddick
We end the Sweet 16 with the most contentious matchup yet. Haloti Ngata is a melodious, exotic name, while Theo Riddick is hard, badass and Amurrrican. I will not comment further on this matchup, because I just want to sit back and watch the carnage. Vote wisely, my friends.