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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.


 

Wolfpack overcomes 10-minute scoring drought to top Virginia

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USA TODAY Sports Images

Wolfpack overcomes 10-minute scoring drought to top Virginia

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- D.J. Funderburk scored 14 points before fouling out and North Carolina State overcame a second-half scoring drought of more than 10 minutes in a 53-51 victory against Virginia on Monday night.

C.J. Bryce added 13 points for the Wolfpack (14-5, 5-3 Atlantic Coast Conference), including a jumper with 27 seconds left after allowing the shot clock to race to near 0:00. The victory ended an eight-game losing streak against the Cavaliers.

Viginia (12-6, 4-4) used a 15-0 run during the N.C. State scoring drought that lasted 10:13 to take a 46-42 lead, bringing the crowd at John Paul Jones Arena back into the game. But Jericole Hellems hit a 3-pointer for N.C. State with 3:38 left and, after a free throw by Mamadi Diakite for Virginia, Markell Johnson hit a 3-pointer and then Hellems' putback gave the Wolfpack a 50-47 lead.

Johnson and Bryce both missed the front end of one-and-one free throw opportunities, and Kihei Clark hit a pair for Virginia. Braxton Beverly made the first and missed the second for the Wolfpack with 7.2 seconds left, and the Cavaliers Casey Morsell was short on a contested 3 at the buzzer.

Clark led Virginia with 10 points, seven rebounds and five assists.

The Wolfpack had used an 8-0 run to go ahead 42-31. Virginia helped out by going scoreless for more than 6 1/2 minutes. Francisco Caffaro, who had just been inserted into the game, ended the drought with 11:13 left.

BIG PICTURE

N.C. State: The Wolfpack seemed on their way to a solid victory until the drought, during which they were 1 for 8 from the field with five turnovers and repeatedly let the shot clock run down into single digits, forcing bad shots.

Virginia: In the Cavaliers' continuing search for scoring help, freshman Casey Morsell had as many as three field goals for the first time since a 65-56 victory against Navy on Dec. 29. He was 4 for 20 from the field in his last five games. He finished the night 4 for 9 and his buzzer-beater attempt was closely guarded.

UP NEXT

The Wolfpack remains on the road and plays at Georgia Tech on Saturday.

The Cavaliers go on the road and play at Wake Forest on Sunday.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.

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Virginia snaps 3-game losing streak with 63-58 win over Georgia Tech

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USA Today Sports Images

Virginia snaps 3-game losing streak with 63-58 win over Georgia Tech

ATLANTA (AP) -- Jay Huff and Mamadi Diakite scored 17 points apiece as defending national champion Virginia snapped a three-game losing streak with a 63-58 win over Georgia Tech on Saturday night.

The Cavaliers (12-5, 4-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) finally regained their winning touch after dropping out of The Associated Press ranking for the first time since November 2017.

Georgia Tech (8-10, 3-5) lost its fourth straight home game. The Yellow Jackets haven't won at McCamish Pavilion since a Dec. 4 victory over Nebraska. 

Diakite's dunk with 14:47 remaining gave Virginia its biggest lead, 43-29.

The Cavaliers were still up 48-37 with just over 10 minutes to go when Georgia Tech suddenly came to life offensively.

The Yellow Jackets scored on four of five possessions, stringing together a 9-0 run that cut Virginia's edge to 48-46.

That was as close as Georgia Tech would get.

Huff, a 7-foot-1 center, knocked down a 3-pointer from the top of the key to thwart Georgia Tech's momentum. A few minutes later, he swished another open jumper to make it 55-48. 

Georgia Tech got a basket and a defensive stop, but Braxton Key swooped on for an offensive rebound to give the Cavaliers a second chance. With just over 2 minutes to go, Diakite was left open on the wing for a jumper that made it 57-50, effectively finishing off the Yellow Jackets.

Jose Alvarado paced Georgia Tech with 20 points.

Virginia led 33-25 at halftime, taking advantage of the home team's sloppy play. The Yellow Jackets hit 11 of 18 shots (61.1%) but turned it over 13 times, wasting far too many possessions against the defensive-minded Cavaliers.

BIG PICTURE

Virginia: The Cavaliers picked up a desperately needed victory to avoid their longest losing streak since a four-game skid from Feb. 12-20, 2017. While still a far cry from their national championship squad, Virginia showed some offensive efficiency to go along with its always-tenacious defense. Key chipped in with 10 points. 

Georgia Tech: This is shaping up to be another disappointing season, raising more doubts about whether coach Josh Pastner can turn around a program that is approaching a decade since its last NCAA Tournament appearance. The Yellow Jackets continue to show flashes of promise, but Pastner has been unable to develop any sort of consistency in his fourth season. 

UP NEXT

Virginia: Returns home to play North Carolina State on Monday night. 

Georgia Tech: Hits the road for the first of two meetings against No. 11 Louisville. The teams will meet again in Atlanta on March 7, the final game of the regular season. 

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