March Madness: Ranking the Mascots That Made the Sweet 16
At the start of the NCAA Tournament, SI.com's Andrew Wittry determined who would win the title if the mascots played basketball. This week he ranks his favorites among the mascots that were fortunate enough to have made it to the Sweet 16. As always, your rankings may differ. ****************** No. 16: Indiana's mascot is the vague-but-all-encompassing "Hoosier," which is defined as a native or resident of the state of Indiana. The Hoosiers have used a bulldog, a buffalo and a cowboy for brief stints in the school's history but Indiana's athletic programs lack a costumed character roaming the sidelines, which is why they're last in the rankings.
No. 15: Oklahoma has a dynamic duo of mascots—Boomer and Sooner. The Welsh ponies exist both in real life and in costumes, the latter of which wear Oklahoma gear and are always smiling.
No. 14: It's a bit weird seeing a turtle stand and walk around on two feet, isn't it? Testudo the terrapin is certainly one of the more unique mascots to have made the Sweet 16. But despite great school colors and Maryland's affiliation with Under Armour, the terrapin has a rather bland color scheme.
No. 13: While not a personification of a hurricane, Sebastian the Ibis is quite intimidating for a bird. With a constant scorn on his face, large beak and sleek build, Sebastian is one tough mascot.
No. 12: The Syracuse Orange is pretty self-explanatory—a big, furry orange. Otto sports a Syracuse hat, and a dimpled smile, at all times. The orange is a tough mascot to mess up in design, and while Otto isn't particularly fearsome, Syracuse has a good one.
No. 11: Rather than having a mascot of a cyclone, Iowa State chose Cy the Cardinal—a crimson red bird with a big, devilish grin and an aerodynamic build. He's strong and his light blue eyes will pierce the strongest of poker faces.
No. 10: Rameses is an appropriately intimidating name for the Tar Heels' mascot. With two big horns and an angry demeanor, North Carolina's mascot is one of the strongest.
No. 9: Reveille is a fun mascot for Texas A&M and the Aggies because she's a living, breathing dog. Beautiful and elegant, she's a good change-up from typical costumed mascots. (Text credit: Andrew Wittrey/SI.com)
No. 8: Villanova is represented by Will D. Cat, a clever name for one of the most common mascots in college athletics. With sharp fangs and intense eyes, this cat is not one to mess with. (Text credit: Andrew Wittrey/SI.com)
No. 7: Bucky Badger is a classic among the mascot ranks. His look, from his head to his red-and-white striped shirt, are unique. He's known for doing pushups, indicating an unspoken physical toughness, and he has been featured on the biggest stage thanks to Wisconsin's recent success. (Text credit: Andrew Wittrey/SI.com)
No. 6: The horned, muscular Blue Devil has a simple but bold color scheme and he's known for putting messages on the tape across his forehead. (Text credit: Andrew Wittrey/SI.com)
No. 5: Notre Dame's Leprechaun is a rare mascot, both in the sense that leprechauns themselves are rare but also in that the mascot is a real person rather than someone in a costume. The Leprechaun isn't the biggest in size or stature but he has no shortage of fight and emotion. (Text credit: Andrew Wittrey/SI.com)
No. 4: Kansas gets the benefit of having a tandem of mascots—Big Jay and Baby Jay. Big Jay usually wears a Kansas jersey with the No. 1, while Baby Jay's jersey has "1/2" across the front and he's nearly half the size. The Baby Jay costume was stolen in the '70s but was quickly recovered, reuniting him with his flightless but big-beaked companion. (Text credit: Andrew Wittrey/SI.com)
No. 3: Spike the Bulldog roams the sidelines during Gonzaga games. He's top-heavy with a long face and a big mouth, and an icon in college athletics. (Text credit: Andrew Wittrey/SI.com)
No. 2: During football season, Virginia's mascot, CavMan, will ride onto the field on a horse while dressed in actual Cavalier clothing rather than in a suit, which he saves for basketball season. The orange and navy blue color scheme is sleek, his white gloves are classy and you never want to tangle with a mascot who can wield a sword. It is both historical and elegant. (Text credit: Andrew Wittrey/SI.com)
No. 1: Oregon's mascot is simple and easy to appreciate. Wearing a constant smile across his face and owning a playful persona, The Duck is one of the most creative, lovable and iconic mascots in the country, which is why it's No. 1 on my list. (Text credit: Andrew Wittrey/SI.com)