MTV's Musical March Madness Preview: Linkin Park Promise Total Dominance

Our 2011 tournament begins on March 14, but early favorites Linkin Park already proclaim, 'We're winners. That's our motto.'

Last year, whether it was due to oversight by the selection committee or just plain bias, Linkin Park did not make the field of 65 bands that competed in MTV's inaugural Musical March Madness tournament.

In the end, after weeks of fiercely contested matchups, more than 2 million votes and precisely one accusation of cheating, it was Coheed and Cambria that ended up taking home the championship, shocking the world and inspiring this hilarious photograph in the process.

And while we're not going to discount the valiant efforts of Coheed and their fervent fanbase — after all, winners were determined by fan voting — we couldn't help but wonder if things would've turned out differently had Linkin Park made the tournament in the first place. They are, after all, one of the biggest rock acts on the planet, commanding a vast (and loyal) army of fans that most certainly would've carried them to the Final Four ... at least.

So this year, we're determined to put that claim to the test. Because while we'll reveal our full 2011 MTV Musical March Madness bracket next Monday (March 14), we're going to let it slip right now that not only did Linkin Park make the field this year, they'll enter the 2011 tournament at a very high seed. This is what happens when you release a jaw-dropping, envelope-pushing album, A Thousand Suns, and then convince the entire world to listen.

So, do Linkin Park have what it takes to claim the 2011 MMM Championship? We decided to ask them, and as it turns out, they've already got their game plan in place.

"Well, I think what we're going to have to do is, we're going to have to be smart about our offense, we're going to have to have a tough defense," Chester Bennington said. "We're going to put a lot of pressure on the other bands, to really perform at their best. Because, you know, our motto is 'Go hard all the time.' Whether we win or lose, we're winners. That's our motto."

That's actually two mottos, but who's counting. And though they're already planning on bringing the pressure — Brad Delson is a master of the full-court press — Linkin Park are focused on one thing, and one thing only: hoisting the hardware on April 5.

"We want to win," Mike Shinoda smiled.

"We want to win," Bennington added. "So basically, we'll let these guys come in and play hard, but we're going to want to kick their asses. And that's just how it goes."

MTV's 2011 Musical March Madness Tournament begins on Monday, March 14, when we reveal the full field of 65 bands that will battle for the championship. Winners are determined by fan votes, so if your favorite act made the cut, it'll be up to you to guide them to glory. You can rally the troops on Twitter using the hashtag #MMM ... but get ready, it's gonna be a war.