MTV’s Musical March Madness: My Chemical Romance Vs. Panda Bear, Cage The Elephant Vs. Rage Against The Machine

It’s MTV’s second annual Musical March Madness! MTV News took the 64 biggest names in rock, split them up into four regions, assigned 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 64, so over the next few weeks, fan voting will determine who will emerge as this year’s champion. It’s all about the fans, and the artist with the most passionate fan base will score the awesome Musical March Madness trophy!

The real games in the 2011 NCAA men’s basketball tournament are underway (we refuse to concede that any of those terrible “First Four” match-ups were really a part of the action), but the 2011 Musical March Madness tournament is deep into its opening round. Some of the pairings are blowouts, but others are separated by mere statistical differences (Paramore and No Doubt are in a particularly tight knock-down, drag-out affair). With half of the East down, the next two match-ups introduce a 2010 finalist and three other acts who could make a lot of noise.

Just as a reminder, first round voting continues through Sunday night (March 20), and you can catch up with any match-ups you might have missed here. Let’s get to the match-ups!

(6) Cage the Elephant vs. (11) Rage Against the Machine
Cage the Elephant really elevated their game with their just-released new album Thank You, Happy Birthday, which has torn up the rock charts. Their live show is also picking up a reputation as being a can’t-miss affair, but when it comes to live shows, Rage Against the Machine rarely find themselves in the company of an equal. (They have to, considering they haven’t released any new music since they re-formed in 2007.) Which aggro act will claw their way to the second round? Vote and decide!

(3) My Chemical Romance vs. (14) Panda Bear
My Chemical Romance made a run to the finals of the 2010 Musical March Madness tournament and ended up falling to Coheed and Cambria in the championship match-up. They could easily take home the title this year, and the awesomeness of Danger Days might be just the extra pop they needs. But they have to get past Animal Collective member Panda Bear first. Can the adorable underdog take down the arena-punk titans? Vote and find out!

Watch Dick Bagwell and Vincent Twice break down this year’s bracket!

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Check out the Musical March Madness bracket and be take a look at the hoops-centric photos of some of the tournament’s biggest bands.