Sweet 16 Mascot Breakdown

boilermaker1We’re down to 16 teams.  You know who the favorites are by their seedings.  You can look at individual player and coaching matchups.  Statistics.  Even academic ratings, which I blogged about yesterday if you’re interested.  And you can look at what I think is one of the more important and largely ignored categories – mascots.    I’ve reseeded the Sweet 16 by strength of mascot.  Two teams not even mentioned in the Princeton Review’s compilation of the 368 best colleges in the United States lead the way in mascot power.  From top to bottom, here are the mascot seedings for the 2009 members of the Sweet 16.


  1. Missouri Tigers.  I list Missouri first, even though the Memphis Tigers are a better team.  And I do so partly out of an obligation to give Missouri some props for being a reputable academic institution particularly for its school of journalism which is top notch.  While Missouri was ignored by the Princeton Review, it was listed in the Fiske Guide to the Best Colleges.  And for the record, I am not a Missouri graduate and have no allegiance to the state or the University, though I once went spelunking near the Arkansas border.
  2. Memphis Tigers.  Probably the best team in the tournament.  Ferocious on both offense and defense.  But I have to say I liked John Calipari better as a UMASS Minuteman.  And Memphis a little better as Memphis State.
  3. Pittsburg Panthers – Panthers are tough cats and not to be taken lightly.  I don’t think they’d stand a chance against a tiger, but would have no trouble with any of the other mascots.  Pitt fans must be drooling at the prospect of another championship in 2009.
  4. U Conn Huskies –  I don’t know if a husky could take down a wildcat, but some of the wildcats I’ve seen look little more than stray cats with pointed ears.  Huskies may not be vicious, but they are tough.
  5. Michigan State Spartans – the ancient Greek state of Sparta was a feared military power whose Spartan soldiers were skilled and relentless.  With the right weapon, a Spartan would be no match for a husky, but the point here is that it would take a weapon.
  6. Arizona Wildcats – Some wildcats are wilder than others; that is a wildcat from the West scares me a little more than one from Philly.
  7. Villanova Wildcats.  Wild, but not as wild as found in the Wildjayhawk Wild West.
  8. Kansas Jayhawks.  It’s a helicopter, right?  Or Woody the Woodpecker.
  9. Gonzaga Bulldogs.  Bulldogs look tougher than they are.   Should have gone with a Pit Bull as the mascot, or a Pit Viper.
  10. Xavier Musketeers.  Ok, a little out of date, but armed, so I rank them higher than say a Sooner or a Boilermaker.
  11. Duke Blue Devils.  What is a blue devil anyway?  Beats the devil out of me.
  12. Purdue Boilermakers.  Hard workers no doubt, like basement miners.
  13. Oklahoma Sooners.  What is a Sooner you ask?  I don’t know either and I’m too lazy to google it.
  14. North Carolina Tar Heels.  Something to do with tobacco, but inspires neither fear nor toughness.
  15. Louisville Cardinals.  It’s a bird!
  16. Syracuse Orange.  Used to be the Orangemen and is now simply the Syracuse Orange.  The fruit or color?  Either way, not too intimidating.  Why not add Blood to Orange.  Or adopt a different fruit like a pineapple; now that’s some armor!

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