NCAA

NCAA Tournament 2017: Ranking best and worst mascots of March Madness

NCAA Tournament 2017: Ranking best and worst mascots of March Madness

The 2017 NCAA Tournament bracket is all set and March Madness is ready to begin.

There are many ways to rank the field of 68 and even more ways to fill out your bracket.

But one of the most tried and true methods of bracket analysis is mascots.

Yes, mascots. Picking NCAA Tournament winners because of a university's mascot is easily the most well-respected method of bracket selection. 

It would be too easy to give you the answers, so we've decided to break down all the mascots by type. There will be upsets a plenty.

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Stupid Animal Region:

9t. Villanova Wildcats — Wildcats are the most boring animal mascot on the planet.
9t. Kansas State Wildcats - See above
9t. Kentucky Wildcats — See above
9t. Arizona Wildcats — Did you not see above?
9t. Northwestern Wildcats — Northwestern's first-ever NCAA Tournament is marred by the fact that they're stupid barn cats.
8. SMU Mustangs — A horse of course.
6t. Texas Southern Tigers —Tigers are the rare combination of "Awww, look at the kitty" and "Owww, look at what it did to my large intestine."
6t. Princeton Tigers — At least Princeton's colors are the same colors as a tiger. So there's that.
5. Nevada Wolfpack — Meh.
4. UCLA Bruins — Bears are cool, but I don't buy for a second that a bear could make it in Hollywood.
3. Cincinnati Bearcats — A bearcat is actually a binturong, a freakishly ugly cat-like beast that emits an odor that smells like buttered popcorn to ward off predators. 
2. Gonzaga Bulldogs — PUPPY!
1. Baylor Bears — The total package among basic animals. Bears can run fast, rip a human torso in half and enjoy fresh blueberries and honey.


Stupid Bird Region:

11t. NC Central Eagles — The Eagle is a symbol of freedom, yet the second-most unoriginal animal mascot on the planet. 
11t. Winthrop Eagles — See above
11t. Florida Gulf Coast Eagles  — Florida Gulf Coast could have gone with any of a number of region-specific and remarkably unique animals: Manatee, Egret, Fiddler Crab, Alligator, Turtle, Sailfish, etc. The list goes on and on. Florida Gulf Coast chose to go with Eagle. For shame.
10. Marquette Golden Eagles — Golden animals > non-golden animals. 
9. Louisville Cardinals — Cardinals are stupid birds
8. North Dakota Warhawks — Hawks are mean birds. All hawks are essentially warhawks. It's a cool nickname until you get down to the root of it all. That's when you realize it's kinda meh
7. Virginia Tech Hokies — A hokie is a turkey and turkeys are mean and nasty birds. The best turkey is an oven-roasted turkey (Or a deep fried turkey).
5t. South Carolina Gamecocks — Cocky is annoying. There, we said it.
5t. Jacksonville State Gamecocks — Jacksonville is not a state and their mascot is named Cocky. (See above)
​4. Oregon Ducks — The Oregon Duck doesn't officially have a name, nor does it officially wear pants. 
3. Creighton Bluejays — The Bluejay is a menacing bird despite its small size. 
2. UNC Wilmington Seahawks — It's easy to dislike seahawks because of the Seattle species, but it's a rarity in college, which makes it a refreshing choice here. 
1. Kansas Jayhawks - A Jayhawk is a cross between a hawk and a blue jay. Plus, gotta give some bonus points for the a mascot that has miniature mascot offspring. 


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Less-Stupid Animal Region:

12. Vermont Catamouts — It's fun to say "Catamount." Don't think about it though, because you will then remember that it's nothing more than your average mountain lion. 
11. Minnesota Golden Gophers — A unique type of mascot, but don't think about it, because you will then remember that gophers are a nuisance. 
10. Maryland Terrapins - Having a turtle for a mascot is very cool. But Testudo has overstayed his welcome.
9. Arkansas Razorbacks — Razorbacks are wild pigs. Freakishly strong, disease-carrying wild pigs. No thank you.
8. North Carolina Tar Heels — Ramsese is one of the most terrifying yet cool mascots in the country.
7. Rhode Island Rams — Rams are cool animals. They're dumb, for sure. But they are very cool. 
6. Michigan Wolverines — Wolverines are freakishly strong animals and we've heard that "Logan" was a very good movie. 
5. VCU Rams — You don't want to go to war with the Rams.
4. Florida Gators — Alligators are among the most intimidating animals on planet Earth. But the Florida Gator wears a turtleneck, so you know he is, at a very minimum, capable of basic social interaction.
3. Bucknell Bison — One of only two singular animal mascots in the field of 68. Bison are majestic animals and it's just a fun name to say.
3. Wisconsin Badgers — Badgers are cute yet absolutely menacing. Also, Bucky Badger either no neck or the best turtleneck game ever.
2. South Dakota State Jackrabbits — The crop-destroying, too-much-sex-having lagomorphs are a real-life nuisance but a rarity in the mascot kingdom. 
1. Butler Bulldogs — The bulldog is a generic nickname. But look at this puppy! Live mascots > fake mascots. That is a good dog. 16/10. Would pet.


 

WHAT ARE YOU! Region:

5. Iowa State Cyclones — A cyclone is not a bird, but Iowa State's mascot is a bird, so, well, here we are. 
4. Kent State Golden Flashes — Great nickname, bird mascot. Did we not JUST GO OVER THIS?
3. Miami Hurricanes — The Hurricanes get the nod over the Cyclones and Golden Flashes because Sebastian is an Ibis, a region-specific bird that also looks scary as heck.
2. Dayton Flyers — This is a tough one because it's a great nickname but their mascot looks like the last person you would ever want to get in an airplane with.
1. Wichita State Shockers — Considering the mascot is a strand of wheat, it's incredible how awesome "Shockers" are. One of the best nicknames in the country.


Angry People Region:

11. Seton Hall Pirates — There are so many different types of pirates and sea-going folk. It is unacceptable to settle on just "The Pirates," when so many better options are available.
10. Oklahoma State Cowboys — See above. 
9. Xavier Musketeers — Xavier has two mascots. One is a musketeer. The other is a blue blob. That is dumb.
8. Virginia Cavaliers —Cavalier King Charles Spaniel > Cavalier Mascot > Chevy Cavalier
7. Troy Trojans — Troy Trojans sounds incredibly redundant.
6. Notre Dame Fighting Irish — Basically just an angry Gael. 
5. Michigan State Spartans — Not a huge fan of the Spartan nickname, but it's hard not to like "Sparty."
4. Southern Cal Trojans — One of the best live mascots in the country.
3. Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders — He's blue and if he were green he would die. 
2. East Tennessee State Buccaneers — The one gripe here is that Tennessee is most definitely a landlocked state. How on earth are there buccaneers in Tennessee?
1. New Orleans Privateers — Second-best nickname in the tournament, and it's not very close.


Less Angry People Region:

13. New Mexico State Aggies — Agricultural engineers. Really, that's what you decided to go with?
12. UC Davis Aggies — NEEEEEEEERRRRRRRD!
11. Mt. St. Mary's Mountaineers — Trust us when we tell you this: There are no mountains in Maryland.
10. Providence Friars — "Friar" sounds like a cool nickname, but take a look at the mascot. Nooooooope.
9. Wake Forest Demon Deacons — An angry priest... I'm so scared. 
8. Duke Blue Devils — On what planet is Hell blue? 
7. West Virginia Mountaineers — There are mountains in West Virginia, and this guy has a gun. We cool. 
5t. Saint Mary's Gaels — It's a cool nickname that you don't see too often. But it's really nothing more than an Irish person.
5t. Iona Gaels — Irish people have neat facial hair.
4. Vanderbilt Commodores — A Commodore is basically a rich boat owner. hard pass.
​3. Purdue Boilermakers — A boilermaker is both 1) a type of alcoholic beverage and 2) A steel and iron engineer. We're cool with that.
2. Florida State Seminoles — Their mascot is a guy with a flaming spear who rides on a horse named "Renegade." We're cool with that.
1. Northern Kentucky Norse — Best nickname in the tournament, and it's not even close.


 

Guy drops 29 points in Virginia's win over VCU

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USA Today Sports Images

Guy drops 29 points in Virginia's win over VCU

Kyle Guy scored 29 points and hit two 3-pointers in the final three minutes Friday, leading Virginia to a 76-67 victory against VCU.

Ty Jerome also hit from long range in the closing minutes and Virginia (3-0) saw its lead trimmed to three at 63-60 with five minutes left. Neither team scored for the next two minutes before Guy came off a screen right in front of the Cavaliers' and doubled their lead.

Issac Vann made it 66-62 with a driving basket for VCU (2-1), but Guy hit a pair of free throws and Jerome followed with a 3-pointer.

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Jerome added 13 points and seven assists for Virginia.

Vann led VCU with 19 points, Johnny Williams had 14 and Khris Lane 12.

THE BIG PICTURE

Virginia: The Cavaliers had little trouble with VCU's pressure, turning the ball over just five times and outscoring the Rams 12-5 off turnovers. They also outscored the Rams 18-0 on fast break points, but they were beaten on the backboards 36-26.

VCU: The Rams averaged 94.5 points in their first two games, but are still working to integrate what first-year coach Mike Rhoades wants them to do on offense and defense. Johnny Williams can be a force driving to the basket, and transfer Vann gives them another quality 3-point shooter.

UP NEXT

Virginia is at home on Sunday against Monmouth.

VCU faces Marquette in the Maui Invitational on Monday.

Saint Louis tops Virginia Tech behind Bess' 22 points

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Saint Louis tops Virginia Tech behind Bess' 22 points

NEW YORK -- Character was the theme espoused by Saint Louis coach Travis Ford and Virginia Tech coach Buzz Williams.

Ford praised his team's ethos, as opposed to Williams, who wondered about his squad's makeup.

"What haunts me is our character was revealed in how we played," Williams said after Saint Louis topped Virginia Tech, 77-71, in the opening round of the 2K Classic on Thursday night.

"This was the first time I was caught off-guard," Williams said.

Javon Bess scored 22 points and Jordan Goodwin added 19 for Saint Louis (3-0).

"All week in practice we worked on getting back in transition," Goodwin said. "Make sure we help each other out. We take pride in our defense. Sometimes the offense might not go but every night we guard we're going to be there every play."

Despite getting a career-high 26 points from Ahmed Hill, Virginia Tech fell to 2-1. Justin Bibbs scored 15 in his first game of the season after sitting out the first two games for disciplinary reasons. Kerry Blackshear Jr. added 10 before fouling out.

"They were tougher than us from start to finish," Williams said. "I didn't think we were ever in the fight. I don't think we were ever in the mix."

The eighth all-time matchup between the Atlantic 10 and Atlantic Coast Conference programs was taut as St. Louis' 61-49 advantage with 7:57 left was the largest lead for either team.

On the strength of an 11-3 run, though, Virginia Tech cut the deficit to 64-60. Four points is as close as the Hokies would get.

Davell Rovy's baseline layup pushed the lead back to 66-60. Bess made seven free throws and Goodwin three in the final minute to help seal the win.

"It was good to see," Ford said. "We've had some really poor performances from the free-throw line in some games -- exhibition games and different things; we've had some other games where we've shot them a little bit better -- it was good to see because I think that's when you're tested.

"I've seen that from Javon. I've seen that from Jordan and different guys. When it's on the line, they seem to rise to the occasion."

Benefiting an early-season game, there were areas in which Williams and Ford to work on with their teams. For the Hokies, free-throw shooting was a significant issue as they made only 23 of 36 (63.9 percent).

Saint Louis made just 4 of 18 from the arc.

"I thought they overwhelmed us," Williams said.