Skip to main content

The Top 10 College Basketball Mascot Battles We’d Like to See

What would happen if Arizona State's Sparky the Sun Devil and Duke's Blue Devil squared off? We imagined that and more in these hypothetical mascot battles.

Mascots can be one of the most fun, cute, or even scary things related to the college game day experience, but what would happen if we asked them to face off the way we do the teams they cheer for? We imagined 10 hypothetical mascot fights and how they might go...

1.The Wichita State Shocker vs. Louisiana-Lafayette’s Ragin’ Cajun ‘Cayenne’


Picture: a terrifying piece of wheat taking on a wildly frightening pepper. We might have food-faced nightmares for days, but witnessing this historic faceoff would be worth it. If ability to intimidate counts for battle points, these two might be tied. The Shockers' super scary mascot, ‘WuShock,’ is as unsettling as it sounds, and the Cayenne is just downright disturbing. Honestly, we’re so impressed with Louisiana-Lafayette’s ability to turn a vegetable into a hotheaded horror that we might just bet on him to win. Then again, Wichita State turned a piece of wheat into a mean-looking-monster-Shocker, so maybe we should reconsider.

2. Western Kentucky’s Big Red vs. Syracuse’s Otto the Orange


A giant orange versus a giant red blob? Yep, we’re here for it. To be honest, Otto could battle anyone and we’d be here for it. He’s just about the bubbliest orange ball we’ve ever seen. You could also throw Xavier’s secondary mascot, the Blue Blob, in the mix for a nice three-way color-filled clash. We’re picturing a mess of mascots on the court and Big Red repeatedly bouncing off Otto and looking confused every time because, well, that’s what he always looks like. Don’t deny it, you’d want to see that too.

3. Providence’s Friar Dom vs. Iona Gaels’ Killian


Two of college basketball’s most frightening faces, how can we not have Providence and Iona battle? Providence’s Friar Dom is a haunting, grimacing, foam-headed monk who is a more serious version of his jovial predecessor. Providence certainly succeeded in making the Friar more serious, but something about him became undeniably spooky too. Killian the Gael, Iona’s mascot, also has the creepy thing down pat. We need to see these two terror-inducing mascots go head to head. Small children not advised to attend.

4. South Dakota State’s Jack the Jackrabbit vs. Ohio State’s Brutus the Buckeye


We can’t really explain this one other than the fact that seeing South Dakota State’s overly energized, round-headed jackrabbit battle a giant nut decked out in Ohio State swag is extremely enticing. Brutus is guaranteed to bring laughs, and plenty of Buckeyes fans, while Jack has more than enough enthusiasm to get the crowd ready for their face-off. Plus, watching Brutus’s big-ole head bob around in a battle would be well worth it.

5. Arizona State’s ‘Sparky’ the Sun Devil vs. The Duke Blue Devil


SI Recommends

Just your average dark, creepy looking devil-on-devil clash to add to the list of must-see mascot-TV. Duke’s Blue Devil and Sparky both have the horns and the creepy coordinating chin hair, but Sparky definitely has an edge when it comes to fear factor. Maybe it’s the red and yellow color combination, but he makes for the more muscular and menacing of the two. That said don’t discount Duke’s Blue Devil just yet—he might be masked but he’s got the full support of Durham behind those dark devil eyes.

6. St. Joseph’s Hawk vs. Michigan State’s Sparty the Spartan


The Hawk has stamina on his side, there’s no doubt about that. Flapping his wings non-stop during every basketball game (including halftime), the Hawk has to have shoulder strength like no mascot has seen before. The Michigan State Spartans mascot, Sparty, might be the only other guy in the game with shoulder muscles big enough to keep up with the Hawk. Sparty’s oversized head and helmet could also serve as a nice battering ram to send the Hawk soaring (too easy). This meeting will be a serious battle of wills between the two—and between their muscles.

7. Youngstown State’s Pete and Penny Penguin vs. the Stanford Tree


Neither mascot can really do anything…which makes it even better. They’d have to get creative to combat one another. We’d be willing to bet that Youngstown’s favorite penguin couple has some fight under that cute façade, and the Cardinal’s tree also looks too chipper not to be tested. Officials would have to decide if Pete and Penny can compete as a unit or if one must bear the burden of representing the dynamic Youngstown State duo alone. Either way, Stanford’s tree might have a disadvantage when it comes to mobility, but this dual is definitely still top-10 worthy.

8. The Virginia Cavalier vs. Xavier’s Musketeer


A fencing match between D'Artagnan, the Xavier Musketeer, and the Virginia Cavaliers’ Cav Man is a battle begging to take place. The Musketeer and Cavalier are historic figures at their long-established universities, bringing wisdom beyond their years to the court. Both tout huge hats complete with the fancy feather, old-timey swords and plenty of bravado to boot. It’d be a fair fight—a measure of skill and finesse rather than brute force or fear. Plus, both teams tout top-ranked teams to bolster their mascot’s egos. What more do you need?

9. Akron's ‘Zippy’ vs. UC Santa Cruz’s Banana Slug 'Sammy'


Our next must-see mascot matchup features none other than a kangaroo versus a banana slug. Didn’t know any college had a kangaroo or a banana slug as its mascot? You’re not alone. But now you know, and now you should want to see them duke it out. Zippy is the marsupial mascot for the University of Akron while Sammy the Banana Slug (slime and all) hails from UC Santa Cruz. Zippy has already successfully gone furry head-to-furry head with other mascots when she won the 2007 national Capital One mascot of the year challenge, meaning Sammy will have to step up his game if he wants to win this one.

10. Villanova vs. Kentucky Wildcats


College basketball has more than it’s fair share of Wildcats ('Nova, Kentucky, Kansas State, Davidson, Arizona… Northwestern…) but a showdown between two of the top programs in the country is one wildcat on wildcat matchup we’d actually like to see. The teams would have to get creative to combat their equally yoked counterpart, but we can’t remember the last time Villanova or Kentucky shied away from a challenge.