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Explaining The Annual NCAA Puppy Crawl

Publish Date:03/14/2023
Fact checked by: Allan Howe

Labrador puppy

On certain corners of the internet last week, the NCAA Puppy Crawl was the talk of the town. The Puppy Crawl is dubbed “the greatest halftime show in Big Ten tournament history” by some. That may be true, but in reality, it’s just a really, really cute way to pass the time between two halves of a basketball game.

The Puppy Crawl is, in fact, more of a chaotic puppy race. During the Illinois-Penn State game of the Big Ten Championship, halftime saw 14 puppies take to the court for a race, each with a bandana representing a Big Ten school.

Arcadia, the pup sporting Indiana University gear, won the “crawl” in a landslide victory. The Big Ten official TikTok channel featured an exclusive interview with the winner after the heated contest ended.

The best part? All 14 puppies were up for adoption at the time of the race. P.A.W.S. Chicago—an animal rescue based in the Windy City, where the tournament took place—organized the race to bring these star canines some much-deserved publicity and give the audience a whole lot of cuteness amid a hotly contested game between two conference rivals.

Barking Up The Right Tree? Big Ten Representing In March Madness

While Arcadia won the Puppy Crawl for Indiana University, much to the chagrin of many Illinois fans in attendance, Purdue went on to win the Big Ten tournament for the first time since 2009.

Indiana fans still have cause to celebrate. The Hoosiers notched a four-seed in the upcoming tournament. They meet Kent State in round one, aiming to take the Midwest bracket by storm much like Arcadia swept the competition in the Puppy Crawl.

However, Indiana isn’t the only Big Ten school seeking an NCAA Men’s Tournament win. The Conference will represent in large numbers this year, competing against the nation’s best for college basketball’s most coveted prize. Here’s a breakdown of all the first-round big-ten matchups.

  • University of Maryland (8) vs. West Virginia (9)
  • University of Iowa (8) vs. Auburn (9)
  • Indiana University (4) vs. Kent State (13)
  • Penn State University (10) vs. Texas A&M (7)
  • Purdue (1) vs. TBD (16)
  • Michigan State University (7) vs. USC (10)
  • University of Illinois (9) vs. Arkansas (8)
  • Northwestern (7) vs. Boise State (10)

In short, Big 10 fans have plenty of reason to look forward to March Madness 2023. Even if your team loses, there are conference contenders to cheer for. Will Arcadia’s luck carry Indiana to its sixth overall NCAA Championship and its first since 1987? Time will tell.

Puppy Predictions Becoming A Sports Staple

Back to the good stuff. Puppies and sports have always been inextricably intertwined, and I’m not just talking about Air Bud. Last year, Jimmy Fallon brought out eight puppies on The Tonight Show to predict the winners ahead of the Final Four. The University of North Carolina came out on top in the predictions, but the school lost 72-69 to Kansas in the championship game.

Video: Puppies Predict the 2022 Final Four Championship | The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon

Puppies Predict the 2022 Final Four Championship | The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon

In other words, puppies may not be the best predictor of actual outcomes, but they sure are cute.

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