Now that our Duke overlords have claimed the NCAA basketball tournament, it is time to turn back to what really matters: the 2015 Best Detroit Lions Name Bracket. I've given you all some time to catch your breath and mourn your losses. Because I need you all at your best for this last stretch. The matchups are brutal, and the pain and suffering will be relentless. But since you have made it this far, I believe in you. We are going to crown a winner this week, even if the price we pay may be our civility and sanity. And it will be worth it.
Before we move on to the Elite Eight, let us say our goodbyes to those lost in the previous rounds.
James Ihedigbo - I tried to warn you, James. I really did. I knew you didn't have a chance with such a paltry first name. You brought a James to an Isa Abdul fight, and you were rightfully destroyed. You went down swinging -- and I'll always respect you for that -- but you never really stood a chance.
Riley Reiff - Your swift, dominant passing in this tournament was too cruel for such a jaunty name. I still have a hard time believing you're gone.
Wake up, Riley! Wake up! RILEY! RILEEYEYEYEYEYEYEYYYEYEYEY!
I will hear these screams in my nightmares for years to come.
LaAdrian Waddle - I feel somewhat responsible for your demise. And for that, I'm sorry. You probably deserved a shot at the Final Four, but my stubbornness -- and perhaps slightly unethical conduct -- saw you fall at the hands of Joique Bell. Your professionalism throughout the process has earned my respect. I'm sorry.
Theo Riddick - The Theo Riddick Hype Train has made its last stop. But don't let that deter you, Theo. Wherever you go, there will be people whispering your name, proclaiming you as a fantasy sleeper. Even decades from now, crowds will murmur that the Lions never gave you a full chance and that Haloti Ngata isn't even that cool of a name. Choo-choo, Theo. Choo-choo.
Here is your Elite Eight field:
1 Xavier Proctor vs. 2 Isa Abdul-Quddus
Xavier Proctor just barely eked out a victory (53-47) in the battle of the X's, sending Braxston Cave back to the hole he crawled out of. Xavier's trip to the Elite Eight has not been an easy one, but he has put in the work and battled his way here.
Isa Abdul-Quddus, on the other hand, has been straight clownin' fools. He routed fan-favorite James Ihedigbo with relative ease, and hasn't truly been challenged yet in this tournament. He better not let his guard down, because this is where things get real.
This is a classic consonant vs. vowel matchup. Xavier Proctor features some of the hardest, roughest consonants in the entire alphabet. Isa Abdul-Quddus answers with a flurry of vowels coming at you like a blizzard. And just when you think you couldn't handle any more vowels, he pulls a wild card and hits you with a hard QUDDUS! Don't forget, Proctor sounds like a butt doctor, though.
1 Ezekiel Ansah vs. 2 Jermelle Cudjo
Again, we are faced with a 1 vs. 2 matchup. Again, we have a name that heavily features vowels battling a name that features not just one J, but two!
Ezekiel Ansah washed Riley Reiff ashore in the Sweet 16 and features the best defense of all names in this tournament. He has yet to allow an opposing name to reach over 11 percent of the vote. We shall see if Jermelle Cudjo has an Ansah to this defense.
Cudjo's route to the Elite Eight has been much more perilous. He's had to down the likes of Jason Jones, George "All I do is" Winn and Nevin Lawson just to be here. There's no doubt in my mind this has taken a toll on Cudjo, but I think this dog still has some bite left in him.
1 Joique Bell vs. 2 Darius Slay
Our top two seeds from the Take the Wind Region meet having slayed some dragons along the way. Last round saw Joique take down (possibly with some help) official Name of the Year candidate LaAdrian Waddle. Darius slayed his way to the Elite Eight after stepping over such legends as Crezdon Butler and Kyle Van Noy.
To be completely honest, this was our least impressive region, and I am most dissatisfied with this matchup. While both Bell and Slay have unique first names and pun-able last names, neither name seems to have that "it" factor. Both names give me a slight smirk and nothing more. I would have preferred a Cornelius Lucas/Crezdon Butler matchup, but alas, my thoughtless seedings made that an impossibility. I have failed you, thoughtful reader. I beg your forgiveness.
1. Golden Tate vs. 3 Haloti Ngata
We round out the Elite Eight with the most anticipated matchup to date. Golden Tate -- a name now known for its bad-assery -- against Haloti Ngata, perhaps our most pleasantly musical name in the tournament.
2014's best free agency pickup vs. 2015's biggest offseason acquisition.
The champion of the Learn the F****** Rules bracket has a good chance of cutting down the nets at the end of this whole thing. The runner-up will die a tragic death. I will not choose. I leave this unenviable task to you. Have mercy.