March Madness: The Ten Worst Basketball Mascots In the NCAA Tournament
Mascots are one of the most ridiculous aspects of sports. Kids love them, and you know the guy in the suit did it mainly the get close to the cheerleaders. Sure, it's all fun and games -- until his fuzzy face right in yours trying to get you to stand up and dance in the aisle, and you keep saying no, but this freak won't leave you alone, then your girlfriend starts pushing you to stand up, and then you're getting extra embarrassed, and before you know it you're in a fistfight with Sebastian the Ibis.
And some mascots blow a lot more than others. Some have the most ridiculous names and background stories; others are born out of errors or some totally out of touch convoluted college tradition.
Here are ten of the worst mascots from this year's March Madness NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament -- and our suggestions for new and improved characters.
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10. Valparaiso Crusaders
Why Crusaders suck: Geez, angry much? Valpo has to get credit for one thing: In 1942, the school changed its mascot to a Crusader from an Uhlan, a Polish light cavalry unit, because of its proximity to Nazis. Valpo has a serious thing for aggressive imagery. What, the Valpo Head Stomping Doughboys were too American for the Indiana university?
Suggested new mascot: The Sporks
Instead, Valpo should tone down the testosterone and focus on their history as one of the first coed universities in the country. They can adopt a male- and female-friendly mascot like the ultra-utilitarian spork, famous for its ability to handle all things pointy or round.
9. New Mexico State Aggies
Why the Cowboy sucks: For most people, the word Aggie has no meaning besides some sort of vague association with cowboys. Unfortunately, Aggie refers to a college's status as an Agricultural and Technical University, which at some point in the past may have had something to do with Cowboys. But now "Agricultural" has more to do with big businesses like Monsanto.
Suggested new mascot: The Minutemen
To move New Mexico State into modern day imagery, their mascots should reflect some real modern day cowboys, like the gun touting maniacs of the private border-protecting organization Minutemen. You know, the guys who keep us safe from all those "dangerous" incoming illegal immigrants who'll keep streaming into the U.S. until we can finally build that giant border wall.
8. St. Louis Billikens
Why Billikens suck: The what now? A Billiken was a charm doll from 1909, one that happened to look like one of St. Louis' former football coaches. So they took the name. It would be like Duke calling their team the Mickey Mouses because coach Mike Krzyzewski looks like a friggin' rat.
Suggested new mascot: Literally anything else
Almost any mascot could be better than the Billiken. Make it simple and open the dictionary to a random page, slam a finger down on a random word, and that's the new team mascot. Done.
7. Duke Blue Devils
Why the Blue Devils suck: Of course the Duke Blue Devils have to be some sort of obscure reference to a French mountain infantry, the Casseurs Alpins, whose nickname was the Blue Devils. Those damn brainy nerds and their highfalutin' mascot.
Suggested new mascot: The BMW Daddy Bought Me
Let's be honest: Dukies go to Duke to be doctors or lawyers, paid for by their doctor and lawyer parents. Even though a tobacco reference would be more historically appropriate, we know these upper class Bible Belters would be more than happy having their new mascot be a brand new and shiny BMW.
6. Cincinnati Bearcats
Why Bearcats suck: Independently, Bearcats do not suck. A Bearcat is actually pretty cool. But how did this fatty Southeast Asian tree cat become the mascot for a team in Ohio? A really stupid college chant that had to do with a guy named Baehr and the Kentucky Wildcats, that's how.
Suggested new mascot: The Pygmy Shrews
While we're all for cool animal mascots, it's best to get one that isn't from halfway across the world. After looking through a list of native Ohio mammal species, the choice was obvious. Now get out there and kick some ass, Cincinnati Pygmy Shrews.
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