Sweet 16 Teams, Ranked By Mascots

The first weekend of the men’s NCAA Tournament is behind us, and we’re down to 16 teams remaining. The women’s bracket will do the same by the end of tonight.

In both tournaments, we’ve had all kinds of crazy performances, shots, upsets, and general pandemonium. As it should be.

But this email isn’t about breaking down any games or predicting future contests. Nope, we’re here for one thing: Ranking the remaining men’s NCAA Tournament teams by their mascots.

16. Michigan (No Mascot)

You can read all about the Wolverines’ lack of mascot here (though the school did once house live wolves on the sideline). But for this ranking, it means they come in last place.

15. Friar Dom (Providence)

Friar Dom

Oh my. This is horrifying. Providence’s mascot used to be a Dalmatian. Now, it’s…this.  Trending in the wrong direction.

14. Purdue Pete (Purdue)

Purdue Pete

This mascot has been named the creepiest mascot in America, though I still think Friar Dom is just a bit more, uh…difficult on the eyes. Purdue Pete is only the athletic mascot of the university; Purdue’s official mascot is the Boilermaker Special. It would be much cooler to see a locomotive choo-chooing around the arena.

13. Cy (Iowa State)

Cy Iowa State

Look at the insane smile on Cy’s face. It scares me. Iowa State’s team name is the Cyclones, so Cy’s name fits, but as far as I know, cardinals and cyclones have any kind of connection. Would be last if not for the monstrosities behind it.

12. Blue Devil (Duke)

Duke Blue Devil

This mascot doesn’t even have a name — or if it does, I wasn’t able to find it on the Internet. Devils typically aren’t blue, but this name apparently references a group of French soldiers from World War I.

11. Spike (Gonzaga)

Spike Gonzaga Mascot

Just a bulldog, but one that looks like it’s seen some rough things.

10. Shasta (Houston)

Houston Cougars Shasta and Sasha Mascots

The Houston Cougars were probably one of the most disrespected teams headed into the tournament. I believed in them to reach this point, but I will give their mascots the same indifference many analysts gave the Cougars basketball team. Shasta and Sasha are a cute couple, but the faces just seem a little pained to me.

9. Rameses (North Carolina)

Rameses UNC Mascot

This ram looks pretty cool (even if there doesn’t appear to be any tar on its heels). However, when I went to take a picture with Rameses during this year’s first-round games in Fort Worth, the mascot didn’t even stand up out of its chair. I kind of admire that power move, but it also makes me a little unsettled.

8. Will D. Cat (Villanova)

Will D Cat

This is kind of a frightening face, isn’t it? If Will D. Cat was collabing with Will Smith (or Jazzy Jeff), I might be more onboard. Otherwise, pretty middle of the pack for me.

7. Pete the Peacock (Saint Peter’s)

Peter Peacock Saint Peter's

The Cinderella darlings of the tournament, Saint Peter’s mascot chose a peacock as its mascot to represent “resurrection and eternal life.” They’ve lasted longer than anyone gave them credit for, so something’s working.

6. Baby Jay (Kansas)

Baby Jay Kansas

There might be a literal child in this costume, but that doesn’t matter. This Jayhawk costume has extremely long wings, which probably doesn’t help in dance battles, but it was very friendly when I met it in person, and it claps for everyone, which is cute.

5. Joe Bruin (UCLA)

Joe Bruin Mascot UCLA

I can’t knock a mascot that shares a name with me, even if it is just kind of a bear.

4. Wilbur (Arizona)

Wilbur Wildcat Arizona

Wilbur’s face makes me giggle, and that gives it brownie points. Plus, I believe this is the only (or at least one of the few) wearing a classic fedora. Normally those don’t look great, but this cat makes it work.

3. Red Raider (Texas Tech)

Texas Tech Red Raider Mascot

Look at this goofball! It’s like an even more cartoony Yosemite Sam. Texas Tech’s defense is among the best in the country, and with this guy on the front lines, I understand why.

2. Big Red (Arkansas)

Big Red Arkansas

Big Red is the main warthog (or razorback) mascot, but Arkansas also has a female mascot named Sue E and a kid mascot named Pork Chop. Both are brilliant and I want them to hang out and be a family all the time.

1. Sebastian (Miami)

Miami Hurricanes Sebastian the Ibis Mascot

I mean, come on. I’m a Miami Hurricane for life. You know Sebastian is #1.