If you believe in omens involving rats -- and who doesn't? -- the Science Museum of Virginia played its annual March Ratness: Final Fur basketball tournament today at 11 a.m., and we already have a winner.
It looks like the South Carolina Gamecocks, represented by a rat named Marion, took home the national championship in a major upset.
While Style was unable to attend courtside because of reporting deadlines, we do have the results: The match-ups for the 2017 Final Fur were South Carolina (Marion) vs. Gonzaga (Leta), and University of North Carolina (Lillian) vs. Oregon (Amelia).
The championship game ended up between UNC and USC, with Marion taking out Lillian to claim all the Grape Nuts.
"The winning rat only gets the title of defending champion as their prize for the tournament. That and a tasty treat of Grape Nuts every time they score a basket," says Chrissie Caldwell, manager with the Science Museum, by e-mail. "The rats used to do ‘full body dunks’ where they would take the ball and jump their entire body through the hoop, however early last year we began training them to drop the ball in the hoop similar to a standard dunk/lay up."
Caldwell notes that Lillian was last year’s defending champion for March Ratness. She represented Syracuse in 2016. The rats failed to accurately predict last year, but did the previous year.
Fun fact, Caldwell notes: "The rats we train are all female. Male rats are more aggressive and more likely to fight when placed inside of an arena, so we exclusively use female rats to play rat basketball."
Note: Style Weekly neither condemns nor encourages gambling based on trained rat simulations.