Pizza Hut is continuing its promotion of providing everybody in America with free wings if a team with a winged mascot wins the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. However, the odds of you getting free wings are decreasing with every passing day of tournament action.
After starting the tournament with 11 teams who could bring the Pizza Hut chicken wings home to everybody in America, we are now down to just three.
While Pizza Hut certainly has a plan in place for what it will do if one of these teams with a winged mascot takes the whole tournament, you've got to believe that executives are quietly hoping to simply get the promotion out of this campaign without needing to serve up millions of chicken wings for free.
The three teams that are left in the tournament that could still make Pizza Hut pay up are the Iowa State Cyclones (their mascot is a cardinal — good for us), the Dayton Flyers, and the Louisville Cardinals.
Let's examine these three teams' chances to cost Pizza Hut a bit of a headache — even if it is a PR goldmine. We'll rank them in order of likelihood to bring home the tournament championship by the number of chicken wings assigned. Only 1 means it is near impossible, while 10 means it is a sure bet.
Dayton Flyers — 4 out of 10 chicken wings
Dayton has been one of the surprise teams this tournament, much to the chagrin of Pizza Hut executives. The Flyers upset intrastate rival Ohio State in the opening round of the tournament and then promptly turned around two days later to defeat Syracuse — a university many had selected to be in the Final Four.
Luck has been on the Flyers' side, but will it continue to be on their side or will it be on the side of Pizza Hut? Time will tell, but given the fact that Stanford is up next, Dayton has a shot to keep the dream alive.
Iowa State Cyclones — 6 out of 10 chicken wings
Iowa State is not a traditional basketball powerhouse, so Pizza Hut may not have counted on the Cyclones going very far. However, now that the team is capping a successful season with a spot in the Sweet 16, anything could happen.
Given that the Cyclones play Connecticut next, perhaps their ability to stay alive and get you free chicken wings depends on stopping the stellar play of UConn superstar Shabazz Napier.
Louisville Cardinals — 8 out of 10 chicken wings
Louisville is the team that Pizza Hut should be most afraid of. The fact that the Cardinals were victors of the tournament last year is a huge advantage for them. Couple that with the stellar play of senior guard Russ Smith and you have a team that is set up to contend for a championship — and Pizza Hut chicken wing — run.
Image via Pizza Hut