MTV News’ Musical March Madness: Muse Vs. Breaking Benjamin, Shinedown Vs. AFI

It’s Musical March Madness! The sprawling bracket — both a parody and a tribute to the NCAA basketball tournament, masterminded by MTV News’ James Montgomery — takes the 65 biggest names in rock, splits them up into four regions, assigns them seeds and puts them up against one another in a single-elimination series of match-ups in a winner-take-all contest. We’re leaving it to you to decide an actual champ in this field of 65. Over the next few weeks, we will present a series of polls that will allow you to vote for the match-ups presented in MTV News’ Band Bracketology. You vote for the winners, we’ll keep advancing the seeds and, in the end, we’ll have some sort of champion. What will the winner receive? Little more than our esteem (as well as that of the fans) and some Internet bragging rights.

With the second round battles in the West bracket already underway, we move to the Midwest region for another set of intense showdowns.

(2) Muse vs. (10) Breaking Benjamin
In a region of the tournament that was full of stunning upsets, Muse went head-to-head with Red Hot Chili Peppers and pulled away late when it mattered. It’s proof that their stadium-filling quality isn’t just hype, as they’ve got the support of the people who fell in love with them through The Resistance. Breaking Benjamin don’t have the same kind of cultural sweep behind them, but they’ve got grit and moxie for days. Is it enough to upend another favorite?

(11) Shinedown vs. (14) AFI
Each of these underdogs knocked off big-time fan favorites in the first round, as Shinedown took Cobra Starship to the buzzer (the difference was a mere 10 votes) and AFI fell behind Foo Fighters early before mounting an incredible comeback and finishing with a landslide victory. Can AFI keep their momentum going, or will Shinedown plow ahead to the Sweet 16?