Marvelous March Madness: Mascot Rankings

Considering that a major part of the original APPL PI metric on the March Madness predictions article was the mascot rankings, a rationale was needed to explain exactly what the metric needed:


North Carolina Central Eagles- 3. Although Eagles are ferocious, this is a boring mascot. It’s overdone and not anything new. For these rankings, originality is a huge plus, so NCCU loses points on the scale, kind of like how they lost in the First Four. On the bright side, at least they didn’t have to face Duke.


North Dakota State Bison- 7. The image of a massive, horned beast charging through the open plains is amazing and awe inspiring. Add to this the one-of-a-kind nature of this mascot, the perfect reflection of the state, and the intimidation factor and North Dakota State grabs a 7 on the scale. Big props to NDSU but adding something in front like “Charging” or “Fighting” would’ve given North Dakota State a 10.


Belmont Bruins- 5. At least they’re not the Bears. Bruins isn’t much better, but it’s nice to see a departure from the normal, overdone mascots. Of course, despite the fact that it isn’t a boring, basic name, there is nothing special about the name. There’s nothing that great about the team either so it makes sense.


Temple Owls- 6. Although it may seem silly to rank Owls higher than Bruins, nocturnal birds will always be better than a bunch of overhyped bears. Owls represent wisdom and acuity, but mascot rankings mean nothing in actual games as seen by Belmont’s demolition of Temple in the First Four.


Fairleigh Dickinson Knights- 5. Another boring team name. Why in the world would a team from Hackensack, New Jersey be named the Knights? There’s absolutely no reason. The only redeeming quality is that instead of having a cartoon character as their logo, they instead opt for a chess piece….well-played FD, well-played.


Prairie View A&M Panthers- 4. Yes, that sound is the sound of collective yawning. The Panthers, really? No originality, no creativity, nothing. The only reason they aren’t lower is because this A&M school decided to not call themselves the Aggies and that is possibly the worst nickname of all time. That being said, the Panthers got hammered by Fairleigh Dickinson so the Panthers will not be advancing any further.


Arizona State Sun Devils- 10. Unfortunately, this ranking system only goes up to 10. Arizona State chose the perfect name. Arizona is known for being sunny and hot. This name not only works perfectly but the logo also definitely helps the team’s case. The adorably terrifying mustachioed demon boosts the Sun Devils to an easy 10.


St. John’s Red Storm- 8. Despite being burned by Arizona State in the First Four, St. John’s can hold their heads high knowing that their mascot is an A+. The Storm is already an intimidating nickname but when the Red factor is added, it goes to whole new level. It’s also a fairly original name and so they get perks for that.


Kansas Jayhawks- 7. Jayhawks is a throwback to Kansas’ earliest settlers which is an interesting historical tidbit. Historical relevance and a unique nickname puts Kansas at a solid 7. You have to respect these people, because if you think Kansas is boring now even with cities and roads and restaurants, imagine what it was like back then.


Northeastern Huskies- 8. More cute dogs! Huskies are just the most adorable dogs ever, aren’t they? They really are the best. Unfortunately, a cute mascot couldn’t save Northeastern from getting blown out by the Jayhawks and utterly ruining the coin flip bracket. Although it is moderately disappointing, nobody could possibly stay mad at such cute dogs.



Duke Blue Devils- 6. Giving Arizona State a 10 while giving Duke a 6 is not hypocritical. Arizona State’s nickname ties in a state nickname while all Duke has is a creepy looking, side-eyeing abomination gracing its logo. Plus, Duke doesn’t have to be first in everything, it gets annoying eventually.


Virginia Commonwealth Rams- 4. Once again, another incredibly boring mascot. There’s absolutely nothing special about the nickname Rams, besides the fact that it is shared with an NFL team who gave the American people the worst Super Bowl in history (in fact, there’s a whole article about that on 3ten written by yours truly). Lack of originality puts VCU at a solid 4.


Central Florida Knights- 6. Despite giving Fairleigh Dickinson a 5 for having the nickname Knights earlier, fear of UCF’s mascot appearing in his room in the middle of the night has compelled the author to act like their mascot is somehow better. So, despite having the exact same mascot, Fairleigh Dickinson is worse than UCF.


Mississippi State Bulldogs- 2. Even though Decatur’s mascot is a Bulldog that doesn’t mean that it’s a good mascot. Bulldogs are simply flat out ugly and drool everywhere. In addition, they’re overused. Dogs are usually a great pick but, unfortunately, this ugly pup doesn’t bring anything special to the table.


Liberty Flames- 5. Liberty obviously is a little bit confused about what exactly a Flame is. On their logo, they have some sort of mangled looking bird, not a fire. They could get a seriously good ranking if they could just get their act together and make their logo and nickname match, it’s not that hard, seriously.


Kansas State Wildcats- 4. At first, it seemed Kansas State were called the Wild Kratts and some people on the Convergence staff got reasonably excited, but after the realization that they are actually the Wildcats, their disappointment was so intense that not even the fact that they use the colors purple and silver could ever merit them a higher score than 4.


UC Irvine Anteaters- 10. How on earth could you choose a better nickname than this? Anteaters are amazingly resilient and rare animals that are absolutely radical by any source of the imagination. Irvine takes the cake, and if the mascot could be given anything higher, it would be a 20 in a heartbeat.



Virginia Tech Hokies- 9. This name is really….something, seems like a neat thing but then again, what exactly is a Hokie? Nobody knows. However, despite not having any idea what exactly a Hokie is, something about it seems right. There’s something oddly endearing about this nickname. Purely for originality, it’s a 9.


St. Louis Billikens- 10. One of the easier ones on this list, the Billiken is a charm doll conceived by a 20th century artist while dreaming. It is a frightening demon-doll hybrid which serves only as nightmare fuel. Since nobody wants to have their dreams haunted by the Billiken, they have decided to give the Billiken what it wants, a 10/10 mascot rating.


Maryland Terrapins- 7. Turtles are not fierce, they’re not scary, all they are are a bunch of shelled reptiles. That’s exactly why Maryland gets a 7, they found a way to turn a turtle into something kind of fierce, specially with the bipedal, murderous-looking turtle on their logo. They lacked this ferocity against Belmont though only winning by two.


Louisiana State Tigers- 3. Having already taken a shot at LSU, it’s fair to say that LSU deserves some slack because, at the very least, their mascot is fierce. However, it is completely unoriginal and their logo makes the tiger look morbidly obese which is never a good way to intimidate opponents.


Yale Bulldogs- 2. For a school of literal geniuses, one would assume that they could come up with something more clever than Bulldogs. Although Yale fans are quick to point out that they were the first to use the nickname, doesn’t that make it even worse given the fact that the nickname isn’t good even if originality isn’t a factor?


Louisville Cardinals-3. It’s a red bird. It has a pointy head. It has a goofy mask around its eyes. It is tiny. There is nothing remotely intimidating about a cardinal. The only reason Louisville gets any points is because the cardinal is Kentucky’s state bird. JP is also extremely bitter because Louisville ruined his bracket after game one.


Minnesota Golden Gophers- 8. Gophers, on its own would be an awful name, however when the Golden part is added, it takes on a new dimension and suddenly, forces everyone to respect the awesomeness of the Gopher. All hail the Gopher for it is the ruler of the masses. Enough said.


Michigan State Spartans-6. Spartans are some of the mightiest warriors in history, however, there is nothing mighty about East Lansing, Michigan. They could’ve done something really great with their mascot but they opted instead to use Popeye thrown in a spinach-green suit of armor.


Bradley Braves- 4. This would be a 1 because of racism, but luckily, Bradley does not use a racist caricature to portray the “Brave”, so they get an automatic 4 points for that. Instead they have a sort of lame “B” inside of a even worse shield which restricts them from going even higher on the list. Well, that and the fact their nickname is racist.


Gonzaga Bulldogs- 2. For the last time, Bulldogs are not at all intimidating, not even at all. Imagine being chased by one, you could quite literally walk because that thing would waddle after you slowly. To be fair to the Zags, they come from Spokane and so they probably didn’t have much to be inspired by.


Syracuse Orange- 1. Typically a color by itself is awful, but a color with a fierce animal or literally anything behind it, amazing. Of course, Syracuse didn’t get the memo and feature a literal orange as their mascot. Their loss to Baylor simply proves the efficiency of the highly effective APPL PI metric.


Baylor Bears- 2. Yes, they mauled Syracuse but no, this is not a good name. Bears is simply too plain and Waco, Texas isn’t known for its large bear population. Baylor was one of the first universities west of the Mississippi, it’s in Texas, they should have been able to at least come up with something better than Bears.


Marquette Golden Eagles- 5. It would have been so easy to give Marquette a low score, explain that Eagles is unoriginal and move on but Marquette earns respect by throwing a color into the mix to spice it up, if only Syracuse were still in the tournament to take notes….oh wait, Marquette’s gone too.


Murray State Racers- 4. Although Kentucky is known for its proud horse racing history, Murray, Kentucky is about as far away from Churchill Downs one could go while still being in Kentucky. So honestly, Murray State gets points off for being posers.


Florida State Seminoles- 2. It is 2019, wake up Florida State! The only reason Florida State doesn’t get even lower is because, despite everything about the team being blatantly racist, they did o receive permission from the Seminole Tribe of Florida to use the name and imagery. However, that does not at all mean that Florida State shouldn’t look for other options soon.


Vermont Catamounts- 8. For those who have no idea what a Catamount is, it’s a cougar. A ferocious, mean, and excellently named cougar. The Catamount also used to be an inhabitant of the Green Mountains in Vermont until they were killed off. Is there some sort of a statement about overhunting innocent animals in this name? If so, that would only make it better.


Buffalo Bulls- 3. Open letter to Buffalo: Earlier in this same ranking, it was thoroughly explained why Bison is such a great name, you could have been the Buffalo Buffaloes and beat the Bison because, how awesome would the Buffalo Buffaloes be? However, you instead opted to change one letter from your subpar NFL franchise’s name and give it to you college. Shame on you.


Texas Tech Red Raiders- 6. If the Oakland Raiders had taken a page out of Texas Tech’s book and put a color in front of their name, they wouldn’t be moving to Las Vegas. Also, good job Texas Tech, despite being in Lubbock, Texas, one of the drabbest cities in the entire state, somehow you have made your mascot legitimately admirable, congratulations.


Northern Kentucky Norse- 8. This would be a 10 if the Norse didn’t use a horned viking helmet on their logo, how many times do the people on the History Channel have to say that Vikings didn’t wear horned helmets before people understand?! Also, what do Norse people have to do with Highland Heights, Kentucky?


Purdue Boilermakers- 1. Purdue fans, how many times a season do people ask “Is that your real nickname?” Like honestly, is this even a real thing? Imagine making your mascot fake train people. This is absolutely ridiculous, come on, grow up Purdue, you’re no longer a toddler obsessed with Thomas the Tank Engine, you’re a dignified university.



Old Dominion Monarchs- 3. In 1776, the United States declared their independence from the British crown. That was what, 243 years ago? Get over it Old Dominion, it’s been long enough, the whole king and queen thing is long gone. I know, it’s hard to accept but maybe it’s time to look to the present for inspiration rather than the past.


Nevada Wolfpack- 7. Wolves is overused despite the fact that it is intimidating. However, Nevada put a new spin on it, changing it up a little bit so now it’s even scarier and actually somewhat original. Unfortunately, originality doesn’t win basketball games, seeing as Nevada took a major loss against Florida.


Florida Gators- 6. As a Georgia fan, the author of this piece begrudgingly accepts the fact that Gators is not a bad nickname. It relates to the state, it’s original, and it’s fairly scary. Plus, they’re from Florida so they need something to be proud of. Let’s move on, too many compliments about Florida is nauseating.


Michigan Wolverines- 6. This checks all the boxes, a savage animal which references a time in the state’s history and is one of a kind. The biggest problem with this is that wolverines smell really bad. If the mascot can’t even be the slightest bit hygienic, it loses major brownie points.


Montana Grizzlies- 7. High in the Montana Rockies lumbers a massive beast waiting to lose to Michigan. Not too shabby of a nickname, Montana is known for these goliaths and not many other teams have them as mascots. If only Montana could get their act together and make their logo something better than “Griz” in cursive font.


Virginia Cavaliers- 7. Although a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel would’ve taken an easy 10 just because of cuteness, Cavaliers isn’t a half bad name, a valiant, battling swordsman with ridiculous facial hair is excellent. Although, everyone was a little bit surprised to find out last year that a Cavalier couldn’t beat a Retriever.


Gardner-Webb Runnin’ Bulldogs- 4. Half out of pity and half out of admiration, Gardner-Webb breaks free of the annoyingly boring Bulldog by adding Runnin’. No, not Running, that’s something totally different, Runnin’, kind of like what their coach will make them do after getting destroyed by Virginia.


Ole Miss Rebels- 1. Mississippi has never been known to be the most “woke” of states so to speak so it should be no surprise that the only state to still have the Confederate battle flag on their logo still proudly calls themselves the Rebels (of the Confederate kind). Quick reminder to Ole Miss, it’s 2019, change your nickname.


Oklahoma Sooners- 6. We knew we’d get to them sooner rather than later! The Sooners are another nickname that harkens back to the state’s past and also thinks outside of the box, placing it at a solid 6. Unfortunately, it’s just kind of….lame. Sorry for the honesty but it’s just lackluster.


Wisconsin Badgers- 4. Badgers isn’t too bad of a nickname, they’re somewhat fierce and it’s certainly different, but Wisconsin loses a lot of points on this one for putting a turtleneck on their mascot. Turtlenecks never look good on people, what makes you think they’d be good on a Badger?


Oregon Ducks- 2. This one always quacks everyone up. Who would name their school’s sports team after a duck? Ducks, and this is a fact, are the single most annoying birds in the animal kingdom, a little bit like how Oregon fans are the single most annoying group in the human species.


Villanova Wildcats- 4. Wildcats isn’t even that bad of a nickname, but it is extremely overused. Imagine having your team mascot be the same as a bunch of singing basketball players in a Disney-made high school. That’s just not fear-inducing.


St. Mary’s Gaels- 10. Now that they’re out of the tournament (called it) and the fake hype about them has subsided (called it), everyone can calm down and accept that they have a great mascot. Gaelic is honestly just an insanely dope language and that’s what you want in a mascot.


Cincinnati Bearcats- 6. The bearcat, also known as binturong, is a not-so-fierce Southeastern Asian animal. However, it’s more likely that Cincy didn’t name their team after a binturong but rather just couldn’t decide between two names and so they just combined them. If it were stylized BearKatz, it would’ve gotten a 10, no contest.


Iowa Hawkeyes- 7. When you actually think of a hawk’s eye, it’s kind of nasty but that isn’t what Iowa was going for. Hawks have razor sharp vision, unlike Iowa’s three point shooters. Plus, this really is all the entire state of Iowa has going for it, so cut them some slack just this once.


Tennessee Volunteers- 3. Tennessee is the Volunteer State but that doesn’t make this any better. Imagine being named after someone who offered to work usher cars into the parking lot for free. The only redeeming quality for them is that their living mascot, Smokey, is possibly the cutest dog in all of college athletics.


Colgate Raiders- 3. The Raiders isn’t even that bad but there was a golden opportunity to be named the Dentists. The Dentists would usually be an awful name but in this case, it would be perfect. It would literally be the single greatest team nickname of all time, hands down. Instead, Colgate opted for a lackluster, overused mascot that offers nothing spectacular.


North Carolina Tar Heels- 4. As much as the author of this piece likes the Tar Heels, the name is just bad, that’s undeniable. To add onto their already bad nickname, they have a ram as their mascot for no apparent reason. Despite having historical precedence, the name is just unforgivably horrible. Of course, since the mascot rankings aren’t the deciding factor, UNC will still win it all.


Iona Gaels- 10. Hooray! Another Gaels! Nobody can get enough of this name for some reason. Something about it is oddly perfect. It’s inexplicable why it’s such a good name. Unfortunately for the Gaels, 10 is also just about how many points they scored against UNC. Okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration.


Utah State Aggies-1. Aggies is the worst name ever. It is like a worse version of the word farmer and who would name their sports team the Farmers? No one, so why would anybody in their right mind name their team the Aggies? Not only does it sound like “saggy”, it’s just not even remotely cool.


Washington Huskies- 8. Huskies are so cute. Huskies are the most beautiful dog breed, they are so majestic and stoic. This one was easy, Huskies are great dogs, they deserve this one. Unfortunately since Washington is from Seattle and there are so many other things they could have chosen, they don’t quite get a perfect score.


Auburn Tigers- 3. Been there done that, it’s just unoriginal and honestly makes no sense given that Auburn, Alabama is a small southern city with no tigers. On the bright side, Auburn doesn’t keep a tiger in a small cage like LSU does. Instead, they have an eagle which is admittedly, superb.


New Mexico State Aggies- 1. Once again, this is an awful nickname. In a state with such amazing culture and history ranging from Apache to Navajo to Pueblo Native American history to a distinct Spanish influence, NMSU could have done so much, the sky was their limit but they decided to stay on the ground.


Iowa State Cyclones- 4. What do people in Iowa know about cyclones? Literally nothing, maybe they meant tornadoes, that would make sense but cyclones? Those happen in the ocean and Iowa may possibly be the exact opposite of an ocean. The creative color scheme is the only saving grace. Burgundy and gold actually work really well together.


THE Ohio State University Buckeyes- 1. They are named after an acorn. Ohio State’s choice of mascot is laughable, but it is made even worse by Ohio State chosing dressing their mascot up in a hideous sweater that they probably found on the sales rack at Burlington.


Houston Cougars- 4. Houston is not known for having big, ferocious cats roaming the streets and mascots that tie in with the state or city get a boost. Although cougars are fierce, they’re also one of the most overrated big cats, similar to how Houston is one of the most overrated teams going into this year’s tournament.


Georgia State Panthers- 4. Unfortunately, the hometown team does not pay homage to the ATL in their nickname, instead looking to the jungle for inspiration. Also unfortunate for Georgians, the better GSU taught Peach State inhabitants that Panthers are no match for Cougars in their loss to Houston.


Wofford Terriers- 6. Unfortunately, Wofford decided not to change their name to the Waffles despite emails from certain members of the Convergence media staff. However, they are named after a cute dog which always gets brownie points with the authors of this story. Unfortunately, 6 is the same amount of points Wofford lost to Kentucky by.


Seton Hall Pirates- 6. Seton Hall could really do much better but Pirates isn’t the worst option out there. Of course it makes no sense for a team from New Jersey. Pirates may be fierce, but they are also super childish, which keeps the ranking equal to the maximum age where pirates are actually interesting.


Kentucky Wildcats- 4. Another team named the Wildcats, another different color scheme. Kentucky not only stole their nickname, they also took the checker pattern from Tennessee but  the Vols probably don’t mind too much especially after beating Kentucky in the conference championship.


Abilene Christian Wildcats- 4. Nobody honestly thought that these Wildcats ever had a chance at beating those Wildcats did they? If they did, the 35 point margin of victory would have probably made them feel ridiculous. Only putting up 44 in a game is never a good sign and it gets even worse for Abilene Christian as they have to go back to barren Abilene, Texas.