Michelle Martinelli

14 NCAA Tournament teams to cheer for based on school colors and uniforms


14 NCAA Tournament teams to cheer for based on school colors and uniforms

OK, so the NCAA Tournament starts this week and everyone around you is buzzing about which team is the best and which ones will get to the Final Four.

They’re filling out brackets and are confident about their upset picks, and you want in on the fun. But the problem is you haven’t followed college hoops closely this season, or you went to a football school, or you simply don’t care.

That shouldn’t stop you from having fun and making a bracket, and we’re here to help. The good news is that no matter how much or how little you know about college basketball, it’s practically impossible to correctly pick the national champion. So why not make a bracket based on something fun and still have it be competitive?

Going into the first round, here are 14 teams to cheer for based on the best uniform color schemes.


South Region

No. 1 seed Virginia

There are only a couple orange-based color combinations that work, and the Cavaliers have it figured out. Against a dominantly navy backdrop, the orange letters really pop. And on the white uniforms, the orange is clean and not obnoxious.

No. 4 seed Arizona

The Wildcats sport a classic red, white and blue look, and that’s a popular color combination. But they also tend to play around with shading, starting with blue at the top and bleeding into a slight purple before hitting full-blown red. They do something similar with their white uniforms too. Overall, it’s a creative take on traditional colors.

No. 6 seed Miami

The Hurricanes’ all-orange uniforms are polarizing: You either love them or hate them. The bright orange is not my favorite. But their forest green look with subtle orange letters is fantastic and unique among this season’s tournament teams.

No. 10 seed Texas

The Longhorns put all their eggs in one basket with their burnt orange uniforms, but they’re standouts. There’s no question about which team is playing when you see these uniforms, and it’s a great look. If not paired with navy or dark green, this is really the only other way to make orange look amazing.

West Region

No. 2 seed North Carolina

Love or hate the Tar Heels, their colors are so universally adored that “Carolina blue” is an actual color name that people regularly use. Even if you always root against Roy Williams and UNC, you’ve got to admit that Carolina blue is an easy color to like.

No. 4 seed Gonzaga

The Zags rock a similar color scheme to Arizona, and they’re not quite as creative with it, but their colors are still pretty great. Their regular uniforms are timeless, but their alternates are actually spectacular. Regardless of which ones they wear in the tournament, you can’t hate on their look.

No. 9 seed Florida State

Variations of red and gold are a popular color scheme, but the Seminoles always look good with their garnet and gold combo. As opposed to a bright red that can be abrasive, sporting one of the darkest shades of red is a subtle and classy look. 


East Region

No. 11 seed UCLA

The Bruins’ blue and gold is a timeless look, and it’s easy to like because the blue often deviates from the versions of royal blue that we get with teams like Duke, Kentucky and Kansas. UCLA’s blue is softer, and the light gold lettering and embellishments make this scheme a classic.

No. 13 seed Marshall

The Thundering Herd might have the most standout, eye-catching colors and uniforms in the whole NCAA Tournament. There is nothing bad you can say about a bright Kelly green and white, with black on the alternate uniforms. It’s not an obnoxious, highlighter shade of green; it’s a cool, chill shade that will still make people do a double take.

No. 14 seed SF Austin

The Lumberjacks do purple, and this is another polarizing color. However, not many teams rock purple, and they do it well. If you’re really big on purple and want to back more teams with this color scheme, Kansas State and TCU are solid options as well.


No. 3 seed Michigan State

While the Spartans’ vivacious green uniforms aren’t the greatest, the traditional forest green is distinct yet not over-the-top. The green and white is similar to what’s great about Miami’s colors. They’re unique but not in a bad way.

No. 7 seed Rhode Island

The Rams have a great take on white and two variations of blue. With a lighter shade that resembles Carolina blue, a dark navy gives their uniforms a great contrast. More teams should try playing with different shades of the same color because Rhode Island really makes it work.

No. 10 seed Oklahoma

OK, so I can’t advise picking both Rhode Island and Oklahoma because it’s impossible if you play in a traditional bracket. These two teams play each other in the first round, but the Sooners still have great uniforms. This is another way red can work as the dominant color. It’s not insanely bright, but it’s not overly dark either.

No. 16 seed Penn

First, it’s important to note that a 16 seed has never upset a No. 1, and it’s unlikely that Penn will do it against Kansas this year. However, the Quakers embrace their centuries-old roots with their red and blue colors and uniforms. They have a colonial vibe to them, and their road dark blue ones are simple yet solid.

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If your bracket scores higher than both Tony Massenburg and Walt Williams, you'll get a coupon code for a free regular Jersey Mike's sub!


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