Most of us love animals. We all know that. Many colleges seem to love animals too. So much in fact, they have adopted an animal as their mascot. Of the 68 schools playing in the NCAA Men’s basketball tournament this week, 38 have an animal nickname. Three of the ones that don’t have an animal nickname (Alabama, Georgetown, UNC) have an animal mascot. So if you’re having some trouble filling out your bracket, maybe I can help you based on a team’s mascot.
There is a wide selection of animals represented from the Badger (Wisconsin) to the Bruin (Belmont). Some are closely identified with their state like the Longhorn (Texas), the Gator (Florida), the Buffalo (Colorado) or the Grizzly (Montana). There are some odd colored animals like the Golden Eagles of Southern Miss and Marquette. The Bears from California are Golden. The ones from Baylor are not. Some are vicious like the Bulls (South Florida) and some are kind of cute like the Jackrabbits (South Dakota State). Some are fast, like the Racers from Murray State (a thoroughbred is their mascot) and some are just quick, like the Wolverine (Michigan). You are more likely to find a Ram around the Colorado State campus than on the Virginia Commonwealth campus in Richmond.
Most of these wouldn’t be animals you’d want around the house as a pet. But there are 7 kinds of birds, some of which you may find in your backyard like Cardinals (Louisville and Lamar), Blue Jays (Creighton) or Blackbirds (LIU-Brooklyn). In addition to the Golden Eagles, there are Mountain Hawks (Lehigh) Owls (Temple) and Jayhawks (Kansas).
There are 3 dog breeds, Husky (Connecticut), Bulldog (Gonzaga and UNC-Asheville) and Greyhound (Loyola, MD). There’s also a Wolfpack (N.C. State). The cats are more numerous and there’s a wider variety. The most popular are Wildcats (Kentucky, Kansas St. and Davidson) and Tigers (Missouri and Memphis). There is also a Bobcat (Ohio), a Catamount (Vermont), a Bearcat (Cincinnati) and a Cougar (BYU).
We are lucky that the tournament committee made the controversial decision to exclude Drexel because I didn’t want to debate if a Dragon is an animal or not. The mild winter must have made it tough for the Penguins of Youngstown State to play basketball very well this season. I’m sorry the Kangaroos of Missouri-Kansas City didn’t make it. That would be one team I’d pull for. For the millions of Americans who own Labrador Retrievers you may be surprised that of all the colleges in this country, none of them have chosen this lovable dog to be their mascot.
Let me know what your favorite mascots, not schools, are in the tournament. Enjoy the tournament and may your bracket win!
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My favorite? Huskies, of course. But not those mutts from Storrs, the thoroughbreds from Seattle… the ones that didn’t make the Big Dance. (They did, however, get a number one seed in the NIT.) BTW, I think I read someplace that the UW and UConn Huskies will meet next season on the court. That’ll be interesting. At least it will guarantee a Husky win.
Great post. Now this is some March Madness I can get into! Thanks for putting it in my language. 🙂 Quite frankly, I am surprised there are no Golden Retrievers!
Katie I was surprised no Goldens or no Labs. I found a list of all the colleges big and small and nothing. I guess they are too friendly for a good mascot!