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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.


 

Future NBA prospect Omer Yurtseven transfers to Georgetown from NC State

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USA TODAY Sports

Future NBA prospect Omer Yurtseven transfers to Georgetown from NC State

The pieces are starting to come together for Patrick Ewing.

On Monday the Georgetown Hoyas picked up perhaps the biggest (literally and figuratively) target of the transfer market, Omer Yurtseven.

From North Carolina State, the transfer from Istanbul Turkey will have two years remaining of eligibility. Due to NCAA transfer rules, he is not allowed to play for the 2018-19 season.

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Standing at 7-0, the center helped power the Wolfpack to an NCAA tournament bid this past season. Averaging 13.5 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks a contest, Yurstseven earned All-ACC Third Team honors in the 2017-18 season. He also touted a 58.3 shooting percentage and was not afraid to pull it up from deep either (22 made three-pointers).

NC State lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament to No. 8 Seton Hall, but he was limited due to foul trouble with only two points and two rebounds in 14 minutes of play.

Initially, he is the option to fill the void that Jessie Govan will leave, whether that is during this offseason or next. Already the team has lost power forward Marcus Derrickson

Yurtseven will just be another frontcourt talent for Ewing with the Hoyas.

It was widely reported that he was considering playing options, both in the United States and abroad before this announcement. Easily he has the talent to go in first round of the NBA Draft whichever year he declares.

On the same day, the Hoyas also announced the signing of four-star guard James Akinjo.

After historic season, Virginia's Tony Bennett named AP Coach of the Year

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USA TODAY Sports

After historic season, Virginia's Tony Bennett named AP Coach of the Year

SAN ANTONIO -- Virginia coach Tony Bennett isn't going to waver from his foundation, whether it's the philosophy that built the Cavaliers into a contender or the big-picture perspective that helps him handle the sting of a historically improbable loss.

Both ends of that approach are fully on display now as he is named The Associated Press men's college basketball coach of the year.

Bennett won the honor Thursday after his Cavaliers set a program single-season record for wins, dominated the Atlantic Coast Conference and reached No. 1 in the AP Top 25 for the first time since the Ralph Sampson era. Yet that wildly successful season ended abruptly in the most unexpected way: with the Cavaliers falling to UMBC to become the first No. 1 seed to lose to a 16-seed in NCAA Tournament history.

"They experienced things a lot of guys don't," Bennett said in an interview with the AP. "That kind of success? Oh my gosh. And then that kind of loss? ... But again, their body of work deserves to be celebrated.

"And then so much of what society looks at -- it begs the question -- is it just about how you do in March? Or is it about the whole thing? It's a fair debate (on) what matters. But I told them: I wouldn't trade this team for anything. Even the experiences, as hard as they are, this is part of the process."

Bennett was the runaway winner for the award, which is being presented at the Final Four. He earned 50 of 65 votes from AP Top 25 writers with ballots submitted before the start of the NCAA Tournament.

Tennessee's Rick Barnes was second with five votes after leading the Volunteers to 26 wins and an NCAA bid despite being picked to finish 13th in the 14-team Southeastern Conference. First-year Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann was third with four votes.

This marks the second time Bennett has won the award, the other coming in 2007 when he was at Washington State.

In Bennett's ninth season, the Cavaliers (31-3) went from being picked to finish sixth in the ACC to winning the regular-season race by four games -- the first to win the ACC by that wide a margin since 2000. It then won the ACC Tournament to complete a 20-1 run against league opponents.

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Virginia also reached No. 1 in the AP Top 25 for the first time since December 1982 and stayed there the final five weeks of the regular season, the last two unanimously.

And yet, the 48-year-old coach knows much of the focus will be on how things ended: that 74-54 loss to the Retrievers while playing without ACC sixth man of the year De'Andre Hunter.

Dealing with a roster of players in pained disbelief, Bennett said he has told them that they have "an unbelievable captive audience" waiting to see how they would handle it.

"I said how you respond to this will matter to your mom and dads, to your brothers, your sisters, your friends," Bennett said. "If they see that you're not fake about it, that yeah, of course you're going to be discouraged and down after a loss like that, but that you're OK. You can live with it.

"I said: you don't know the power that that's going to have in their life and in your life."

Bennett said he appreciated other coaches offering support, which included Syracuse Hall of Famer Jim Boeheim noting: "If I could hire a coach in this country and I could get Tony Bennett, there would be nobody in second place."

He said he's still reviewing what worked and what didn't, but "certainly you don't overreact" by changing everything that had brought the Cavaliers to this point.

This is, after all, a program that has been a 1-seed three times in the past five seasons with three ACC regular-season titles.

And Bennett won't be deterred from chasing more, even if it means stumbling a few more times on the way to reaching his goals.

"You better have something beyond the opinion of man or just how you feel, because this stuff is fleeting," Bennett said.

"So that's where obviously my faith is everything to me. You hear people talk about their faith in the lord and the relationship with the people that they care about, their family and their trusted friends. Those things stand the test of time. And that's what you have to draw from. And then you move on."