<italics>It's tournament time, the brackets are set and everyone is trying to make tough calls about which teams have the best chance to win at all. Yet on the sidelines, working hard like they always do, will be the mascots. While football features </italics><italics>several traditional mascot powerhouses</italics><italics>, the NCAA men's basketball tourney allows mascots from smaller conferences to shine under the bright lights.</italics> <italics>Trying to determine the best mascot in this year's field is no easy task. There are many factors to consider, including distinctiveness, quirk and enthusiasm. There's no right answer when it comes to ranking mascots, but we tried our best. Without further ado, here are the Sweet 16 mascots in the 2014 bracket.</italics> Albany would be ranked higher if it used Scooby-Doo as its mascot, but we won't penalize the school too greatly. This is a mean-looking dog that somehow manages to remain adorable at the same time.
2 of 16Courtesy of Mount St. Mary's Athletics
Emmit S. Burg <br> (Mount Saint Mary's)
First off, this guy's name is Emmit S. Burg. Mount Saint Mary's is located, naturally, in Emmitsburg, Md. He's either a bro in Brooklyn or got lost walking back from West Virginia. Either way, that facial expression is priceless.
3 of 16Mark Abbott/Southcreek Global/Zuma Press/Icon SMI
Chauncey the Chanticleer (Coastal Carolina)
Chanticleers. CHANTICLEERS. Coast Carolina could've gone with roosters, but it made its mascot far more noble and literary. A <italics>Canterbury Tale</italics> throwback on the hardwood.
4 of 16Mitchell Layton/Getty Images
Friar Boy (Providence)
That mouth. That ridiculous, insane, absurd mouth. I just ... I don't ... I can't ...
5 of 16Porter Binks/SI
There's no argument here: The Blue Hen is elite and has some proud lineage. From YoUDee's bio: "YoUDee's great-great-great-grandfather, Col. George W. YoUDee, distinguished himself in the Revolutionary War and was cited for bravery in battle. Capt. John Caldwell, commenting after the Battle of Trenton, said, 'There's no yellow streak in that chicken. He's blue to the bone.'"
6 of 16Kent C. Horner/Getty Images
The Aztec Warrior <br> (San Diego State)
That's quite an impressive get-up. You couldn't get away with wearing sandals in the north in the middle of March. Trust me, I've tried.
7 of 16Mike Lawrie/Getty Images
Rudy Flyer (Dayton)
Just<italics> look</italics> at that guy. He looks like Dr. Robotnik from Sonic.
8 of 16Jamie Squire/Getty Images
This is more of a devil than Duke's Blue Devil. Spicy. Frantic. Cayenne the Ragin' Cajun means business, and he's here for your soul.
9 of 16Keith Gillett/Icon SMI
The Billiken (Saint Louis)
Saint Louis defines the Billiken in its bio as "that period's pet rock." This means there's a chance within the next 30-50 years that some college is going to have a Furby mascot, right?
10 of 16Courtesy of SFA Athletics
Lumberjack (Stephen F. Austin)
Many schools would opt for a Lumberjack costume. Not Stephen F. Austin. It simply finds the biggest dude on campus, buys him a bunch of tanning sessions, gives him a $5 flannel shirt and an axe and lets him do his thing. This mascot is minimalist and wonderful.
11 of 16William Purnell/Icon SMI
WuShock (Wichita State)
No other college mascot is supposed to represent "a big, bad, muscle-bound bundle of wheat." Also, the official bio on Wichita State's site says WuShock has been "kidnapped and kicked out of games, and even starred in a movie." So there's that.
12 of 16Ethan Miller/Getty Images
The Tree (Stanford)
Your fever dreams are brought to life every time the Tree saunters onto the court. No, you didn't forget to take your medication today. This is real, and it is terrifying.
13 of 16Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Puddles is mischievous and everything a mascot should aspire to be. He is also easily the most photogenic of all college mascots.
14 of 16Maddie Meyer/Getty Images
Sparty (Michigan State)
Because Sparty spawned one of the best basketball GIFs ever created.
15 of 16Lance King/Getty Images
The Blue Devil (Duke)
Sure, you either love it or you hate it. But the Blue Devil elicits a response out of everybody with its hand-written tape notes and unbridled enthusiasm.
16 of 16Chuck Burton/AP
Otto the Orange (Syracuse)
An NCAA tournament just doesn't feel right without Otto. This little round mound of joy has the benefit of A) looking like a basketball B) staying super small and compact, so the costume can fit into overhead compartments and C) being a gosh-darned orange wearing sweatpants. <bold>Just missed the cut:</bold> George (George Washington), Brutus (Ohio State), Albert and Alberta Gator (Florida), Boss the Terrier (Wofford), Rameses (North Carolina), Clawed the Eagle (American)
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