Ranking the Sweet 16 Mascots
March Madness: Ranking the Mascots in the Sweet 16
16 :: The Wildcat - Kentucky
At No. 16 is Kentucky, which is at an immediate disadvantage because of numerous wildcats in the NCAA and quite simply The Wildcat is not helping UK stand out. There are no glaring weaknesses but there is also nothing extraordinary and particularly unique either, thus sending him tumbling down the list. (Text credit: Andrew S. Doughty/NextImpuseSports.com)
15 :: Boomer and Sooner - Oklahoma
Most folks can appreciate the simplicity of Boomer and Sooner but there’s just not enough here to warrant anything beyond a spot in the cellar, at No. 15. (Text credit: Andrew S. Doughty/NextImpuseSports.com)
14 :: Mr. and Mrs. Wuf - NC State
Mr. and Mrs. Wuf present an interesting dilemma. Their costumes are excellent but they always appear unsure of themselves and Mr. Wuf bears too much of a resemblance to the Big Bad Wolf in Little Red Riding Hood. The two are an adorable couple but we need to see more before moving them higher than No. 14. (Text credit: Andrew S. Doughty/NextImpuseSports.com)
13 :: Wilbur and Wilma Wildcat - Arizona
As is the case with Kentucky, Wilbur and Wilma Wildcat are at a serious disadvantage, but they recovered nicely with a couple unique features, including Wilbur’s hat and detailed facial features. The No. 13-ranked duo could still use a few tweaks to make them stand out a little more. (Text credit: Andrew S. Doughty/NextImpuseSports.com)
12 :: Swoop - Utah
Swoop is a good mascot with great design, build and intimidation but it’s just too hard to ignore that an eagle has nothing to with the Utes. Yes, in today’s society it would be tough to dress someone up as a real Ute, therefore some leeway is given to Utah but not enough to move up from No. 12. (Text credit: Andrew S. Doughty/NextImpuseSports.com)
11 :: Rameses - North Carolina
Rameses has a lot going for him, particularly in his lean body type and relentless attitude. He maintains a friendly demeanor but has imposing enough features to provoke a little fire. Our only two concerns: Are his horns too yellow and is the design too simple? (Text credit: Andrew S. Doughty/NextImpuseSports.com)
10 :: Joe and Josephine Bruin - UCLA
Our fourth power couple of the list, joining Oklahoma, North Carolina State and Arizona, Joe and Josephine Bruin are not wild party animals, nor do they come with anything especially shocking. However, their demeanor, build and moderate intimidation factor set the 10-ranked duo above the other couples. (Text credit: Andrew S. Doughty/NextImpuseSports.com)
9 :: Cardinal Bird - Louisville
Bird mascots are dicey. They can either result in poorly constructed cartoonish designs or well-executed flashy fireballs. Louisville’s Cardinal Bird might not be a full fireball but he’s pretty close. His fierce demeanor is a perfect representation of a real cardinal and the wing flexibility is just gorgeous. (Text credit: Andrew S. Doughty/NextImpuseSports.com)
8 :: Bucky Badger - Wisconsin
Bucky knows how to have a good time and the eight-ranked mascot has no problem gettin’ down and dirty to show how they do it in Madison. Another well-constructed mascot, Bucky maintains the deceptively sly and spooky presence of a real badger but could maybe use a little work in the weight room. (Text credit: Andrew S. Doughty/NextImpuseSports.com)
7 :: The Blue Devil - Duke
The Blue Devil is jacked. He is plain ripped. We can deal with his superhero-like cape and mask because we’re too scared to question it. Overall, the seventh-ranked guy is witty, ambitious and presents a fantastic array of both fun and fear. (Text credit: Andrew S. Doughty/NextImpuseSports.com)
6 :: The Leprechaun - Notre Dame
The Leprechaun is one the most recognizable mascots in all of sports, but does the human-like element help or hinder his argument? This element can completely destroy a mascot, but only if done inadequately and with unoriginal design (see Kansas State’s Willie the Wildcat). The Leprechaun is also one of the most enthusiastic mascots in college basketball, giving him instant credibility with fans of all ages, and a solid ranking at No. 6. (Text credit: Andrew S. Doughty/NextImpuseSports.com)
5 :: Mountaineer - West Virginia
Although we have a handful of Mountaineers across D-I, D-II and D-III athletics, West Virginia boasts the most manly of them, using a burly student each year to depict the manliest of men. Using a human is really the only way to go with such a nickname and WVU nails it every year. Kudos for being No. 5. (Text credit: Andrew S. Doughty/NextImpuseSports.com)
4 :: Spike - Gonzaga
One of the most underrated mascots in the field and entire country, Spike comes in hot at No. 4. He has one of the best mascot heads in the land and his perfect blend of wrinkles and moderate muscle tone make him an instant ladies man. Keep an eye on Spike if the Bulldogs are able to finally reach that elusive Final Four, as he could become an elite mascot very quickly. (Text credit: Andrew S. Doughty/NextImpuseSports.com)
3 :: Wushock - Wichita State
There are zero other NCAA teams with the nickname Shockers, giving them an easy leg-up for mascot. Wushock is unique, whimsical and family-friendly while also displaying an adequate amount of intimidation. Do not change a thing. (Text credit: Andrew S. Doughty/NextImpuseSports.com)
2 :: D'Artagnan - Xavier
Xavier has two mascots, D’Artagnan and the Blue Blob, but we’re ranking the former of the two, mostly because D’Artagnan is significantly superior. With a well-crafted costume, one that includes a meaty hat and luscious goatee, he is among the best mascots in the game, and No. 2 in this listing. His facial expression is spot-on while his build is adequately imposing but not over-the-top. (Text credit: Andrew S. Doughty/NextImpuseSports.com)
1 :: Michigan State - Sparty
If Duke’s mascot will destroy you, then Sparty will somehow find a way to do something worse than destruction. The guy’s biceps rival those of LaRon Landry and his overall costume is just beautiful. He's No. 1 for a reason. (Text credit: Andrew S. Doughty/NextImpuseSports.com)
From The Wildcat (dead last, sorry Kentucky) to Sparty (the runaway winner, go MSU!), check out the above gallery of our ranking of the 16 remaining mascots in the NCAA Tournament (click here for full-size version). If you want some actual analysis of the upcoming games, I suggest reading Seth Davis and Luke Winn.
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