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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.


 

Patrick Mahomes celebrates Mac McClung picking his alma mater Texas Tech

Patrick Mahomes celebrates Mac McClung picking his alma mater Texas Tech

Wednesday was a good day for Red Raider fans when Mac McClung announced his transfer commitment to Texas Tech

Even former alum and Super Bowl MVP quarterback Patrick Mahomes - who also was openly recruiting the star on Twitter - was excited about the big get. 

He was joined by fellow Texas Tech alum Jarrett Culver in sharing his excitement of getting the 6-foot-2 guard. Culver's style and skill set are very similar to McClung's. Under head coach Chris Beard, he helped transform the combo guard into a first-round NBA prospect.

Other professional athletes including Trae Young gave McClung their congratulations. 

As a late entry into the transfer portal, McClung was one of the biggest available players this offseason. While he is required to sit a season due to NCAA transfer rules, there is some buzz that he may get a waiver to compete next season in Lubbock. 

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Ever Wonder: How Midnight Madness got its start at the University of Maryland

Ever Wonder: How Midnight Madness got its start at the University of Maryland

For most college basketball programs across the country, Midnight Madness has become a major tradition. The late-night spectacle filled with basketball and showmanship signifies the start of a new season. 

But, how did Midnight Madness come to be? It turns out its humble beginnings took place at the University of Maryland.

In 1971, legendary head coach Lefty Driesell had been at the helm of the Terps basketball squad for two seasons. Helping the program reach a new prestige in his first couple of years, Driesell wanted to take Maryland to the next level and show the rest of college basketball they were legit contenders.

His idea: have his team be the first ones to practice on the season by participating in an event at midnight on the earliest possible date. This way, in Driesell's eyes, the Terps would the first team on the court at the beginning and the last one on it at the end when they held the National Championship trophy.

“This was Lefty’s way of saying, ‘Hey world, Maryland is here now. We got a great team and I’m going to be the first team in America to practice,'" Tom McMillen, who was a member of the 1971 team, said.

Besides sending a message to other programs, Driesell also used Midnight Madness as a way to drum up school spirit. If Maryland was going to become one of the top schools in the nation and a respected team, they needed fans to get involved and stay committed.

“Getting the campus to rally behind the basketball team," Tony Massenburg, who played under Driesell in 1985, said. “You don’t need a reason to get a bunch of college students to stay up until midnight."

The first Midnight Madness took place on October 15, 1971, at 12:03 a.m. Unlike a majority of the nights in modern times, the Maryland team wasn't in a gym, but rather out at Byrd Stadium running a mile. Still, the event got the attention of locals and a national audience. 

“It really set off a firestorm across the country," McMillen said.

In the third installment of Midnight Madness, Driesell had Maryland participate in a scrimmage open to the public, more in line with what is seen across the country now. It was that event that turned Midnight Madness into the popular spectacle it is today.

“The third year we ended up having a scrimmage. That’s really what launched midnight madness," McMillen said.

What began as Driesell's idea has transformed into a common night shared among campuses across the country. Every year Midnight Madness gets bigger, with scrimmages only being part of the action. Wild introductions, skits and more theatrics have turned the first practice of the season into much more than that.

Maryland still participates and even paid homage to the original Midnight Madness in 2018. In honor of the program's 100th season and Driesell's introduction into the Basketball Hall of Fame, the Midnight Mile made its return. 

While the night continues to grow in size, the original meaning still holds true. Driesell held Midnight Madness as a way to showcase Maryland and prove it was the best place to be. Coaches across the country are doing the same, trying to show that their campus is the place to be.

“What it’s become is a recruiting tool," Massenburg said. "It’s the means to sort of showcase your program.”

What began in College Park has turned into one of college basketball's best traditions. Despite Driesell being the creator, the start of Midnight Madness is sometimes relatively unknown by the public. If the head coach had known how big it would become back in 1971, that may have been different. 

“I tell Lefty my only regret is that you didn’t copyright Midnight Madness because it was a very valuable asset and literally just an idea he came up with just to be first," McMillen said. 

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