William Shakespeare Picks the Final Four in the 2016 NCAA Men’s Championship

At the American Shakespeare Center we don’t do anything without consulting the text, and that includes filling out the bracket for the Final Four. Shakespeare doesn’t much care about American football, something to do with CTE (he writes “cudgel thy brains no more”), but he is a huge hoops fan, and here’s what we could find in the text about his picks.


Maryland Terrapins v Kansas Jayhawks > Kansas

Though he says we’ll learn to know “turtles from Jays,” he leans to Kansas “Hawks will soar above.”

Miami Hurricanes v Villanova Wildcats > Miami

Yes, for a while, Miami, you’ll have “wild-cats in your kitchen,” but according to the text the “hurricanos” will have “drenched your steeples.”


Duke Blue Devils v. Oregon Ducks > Oregon

Duke “will eat like wolves and fight like Devils,” but in the end we will see the “ducks as quickly in.”

Texas Agricultural & Mechanical v. Oklahoma Sooners > Oklahoma

Despite being fueled by the miracle of their double overtime win on Sunday, the “rude Mechanicals” by tomorrow night will see “Sooner[s] in the forefront.”


Indiana Hoosiers v. UNC Tarheels > University of North Carolina

Despite the “worthy Hoos offense” the Big Ten Season Champion will find “destruction at thy Heels.”

Wisconsin Badgers v. Notre Dame Fighting Irish > Notre Dame

Wisconsin may be hoping to get past their “badge(r) of hell” from last year’s loss in the national champions, but they will join Michigan and SF Austin as victims in the “unlucky Irish wars.”


Iowa State Cyclones v. UVA Cavaliers > University of Virginia

“Whirlwinds shake fair buds,” but Iowa State will find that these “culled and choice-drawn Cavaliers” play ugly unshakable basketball.

Gonzago Bulldogs v. Syracuse Orangemen > Gonzago

Shakespeare’s pretty blunt about his feelings on Syracuse: “give not this rotten Orange to your friend,” he warns that the game will be “as to set Dogs on sheep.”

Final Four

Kansas Jayhawks v. Miami Hurricanes > Miami

“What, is the Jay more precious because his feathers are more beautiful?” asks Shakespeare, and he predicts that Kansas’ topseeded flight will “rack upon the carriage of the Winds.”

Oklahoma Sooners v. Oregon Ducks > Oklahoma

In predicting how the one seed Oregon will fair against the revenge minded two seed Oklahoma, Shakespeare exclaims “O, dainty Duck! O dear!” and adds “the Sooner the better.”

Notre Dame Fighting Irish v. UNC Tarheels > University of North Carolina

After the whipping the UNC gave Notre Dame in the ACC tournament, Shakespeare thinks the Golden Domers will have as much effect against the “Heels of worth” as “howling of Irish wolves against the moon.”

Gonzago Bulldogs v. UVa Cavaliers > University of Virginia

Gonzago will have “no suit against the host-Cavalier,” and Mr. Jefferson’s team will create “havoc” and “slip the Dogs of war.”

Check in next week to see Shakespeare’s prediction for the 2016 National Champion.

The American Shakespeare Center recovers the joy and accessibility of Shakespeare’s theatre, language, and humanity by exploring the English Renaissance stage and its practices through performance and education.

Also: we like basketball.