NC bracket mascots
photograph by Kyle T. Webster

There weren’t a lot of big upsets in Round One of the Most North Carolina Bracket. Sweet Tea, Barbecue, “Y’all”, and “Bless your heart” cruised to victory. Red clay beat kudzu convincingly. Basketballin’ beat racin’ (it is March). The closest contest was a buzzer beater, but in the end, the Blue Ridge Parkway beat the Outer Banks by one vote. One!

Voting for round two is now underway, and there are some key matchups:

Sweet Tea vs. Fast Food Biscuits
A decent pairing, because Bojangles’ and Biscuitville both take pride in their iced tea and biscuits. This is like asking them which one of their kids they like best.

Lighthouses vs. Red Clay
Sure, red clay may not be as majestic as, say, the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, but it’s everywhere. Do not underestimate soil, man.

Growin’ vs. Basketballin’
We know, it’s ACC Tournament time, and we’re sucking down valuable Our State Internet bandwidth by streaming all the games here at the office. But never forget, you’re going to get hungry at some point today, and your salsa and chicken wings don’t just come from anywhere.

“Bless your heart” vs. “Fixin’”
This is my favorite matchup in this round, if only because it’s simultaneously polite and devious. I mean, “I’m schemin’ to beat you, and I will, because I am superior” just sounds so much better as “Bless your heart, I’m fixin’ to win.”

Voting for the second round ends Monday, March 14, at noon.

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Markovich is a senior editor/writer at Our State, and a former special content producer for NBC Charlotte. He has won two 2011 regional Emmy Awards and regional Edward R. Murrow awards along with the 2011 Green Eyeshade award for Magazine Feature Writing, the 2010 National City and Regional Magazine Award for Personality Profile, the 2010 Clarion Award for a Magazine Feature Article, and the 2010 Green Eyeshade Award’s Best-In-Show for Non Daily Print Journalism.