If you haven't voted in yesterday's regional, THINGS THAT ARE BAD, do that here!
It’s the most familiar of all bracket season stories. You watch the games, you follow the teams, you know the trends, you prepare and you study and you strategize. This is the year you win your pool!
And then some co-worker/classmate/neighbor/friend of a friend who doesn’t know what the hell they’re doing wins. Their strategy? "Well, I thought a Wildcat would beat a Tar Heel. What kind of idiot would fight a wild animal with his feet stuck to the ground?"
Studies have shown that this strategy literally never fails. And while I can’t tell you which nicknames or mascots will win you your bracket (I, being someone who sometimes watches basketball, have never been close to winning), I know a dumb, stupid, no good team name when I hear one. In today’s region, I tell sixteen schools just how dumb, stupid and no good their team names are. None of these teams will win a game in the tournament, I guarantee it. Meet the teams below and vote to decide the worst of the worst!
THE LAME MASCOT REGIONAL
(1) Syracuse Orange vs. (16) Northern Iowa Panthers
The nickname/mascot combo that sits alone atop Crap Mountain. Are you the color or the food? Do you even know? Your entire aesthetic is "we forgot this assignment was due today, here’s what we've got." Getting to make fun of you was a welcome surprise, seeing as you have no business in the field anyway. You can't even argue with that. Anyway, you're a piece of fruit, and that's lame as hell. Best of luck against the Dayton Bananas.
Northern Iowa Panthers
Look, I understand wanting to be the Panthers. It’s objectively one of the best mascots you could have. But it’s is kind of our thing, you know? Plus, we had it first, and it really rolls off the tongue for us. And for the love of Jock Sutherland, what the hell is this?
"Panther's first name was actually Pericles, with Perky as a nickname. In 1937 "Pepi" Panther appeared at a Pep Band concert and several events following."
You’ve lost Panther Privileges.
(8) Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders vs. (9) Texas Tech Red Raiders
Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders
The Oakland Raiders lose all the time, but at least they have a cool image. The "Silver and Black." The swashbuckler with the eyepatch and the swords. Blue Raiders and Red Raiders sound like the teams that didn’t get past the first round on "Legends of the Hidden Temple." Seriously, let’s talk about the name because I don’t know where to start with that nightmare you call a mascot. How did you come up with a name as lame as Blue Raiders? Oh.
"The nickname 'Blue Raiders' was coined by an MTSU football player, Charles Sarver, in 1934 Daily News Journal contest. No official nickname existed prior to 1934, when teams were called "Normalites," "Teachers," and "Pedagogues"."
Why Blue Raiders, when "Fightin' Pedagogues" has such a nice ring to it?
Texas Tech Red Raiders
I’m just posting the picture in hopes that Warner Brothers will sue them for ripping off Yosemite Sam.
(5) Green Bay Phoenix vs. (12) All Bulldogs
Green Bay Phoenix
On top of naming your team after a city that’s bigger and more recognizable than your own, this name reeks of "rejected MLS team." And rising from the ashes after a defeat like a Phoenix won't do you much good in a one-and-done tournament.
Also, your mascot looks the love child of the San Diego Chicken and Phillie Phanatic. That should be a compliment, but somehow it's not.
The always-dangerous 12 seed. Let's start with the lack of originality - 5 of the 68 teams in the field are named the Bulldogs. How are people who pick their brackets based on mascots supposed to handle an all Bulldog matchup? Secondly, bulldogs have the worst basketball measurables of any breed of dog. If I'm picking a dog to represent my basketball team, I want one with height, reach and speed. Do better Yale, UNC Asheville, Fresno State, Gonzaga and stupid, terrible, Butler. I hope Butler gets beat so badly Matt Howard gets the urge to flop over in France.
Counterpoint: Of all the seeds in this bracket, this is the one whose belly I'd be happiest to rub.
(4) Duke Blue Devils vs. (13) Wichita State Shockers
Duke Blue Devils
Everyone already associates Duke with Satan, "Blue Devils" is just a little redundant.
Wichita State Shockers
You’re the Shockers. We get it. We get the reference. We. Get. It.
(6) UNC Wilmington Seahawks vs. (11) Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks
UNC Wilmington Seahawks
You want to know a dark secret about how stupid a name Seahawks is?
There's no such thing as a Seahawk! It's made up! You can’t expect a fake bird to show up in a real big game. You’re fancy sea gulls, and as a Pitt fan, I know a thing or two about getting pooped on out of nowhere. Hard pass.
Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks
It's 2016, you've had ample time to rename yourself the Stunners. There’s good news, though. Your mascot is just a dude with a big beard and tight jeans. When you bring him to Brooklyn, he’s not going to want to leave. Leave him to start his artisanal organic honey co-op, and try again.
(3) Tulsa Golden Hurricane vs. (14) Buffalo Bulls
Tulsa Golden Hurricane
Tulsa, bring it in. I want to speak with you privately. Come here.
[covers mouth, whispers]
Are you a pee joke?
Admit it, you guys would be the Bills if you could. To recap: You’re from a city named after an animal, but your mascot is a different animal. But not just a different animal, an animal that sounds confusingly similar to the NFL team in the same city. I would say this is classic Little Brother Syndrome, but it’s closer to that guy who had all the plastic surgery to look like Justin Bieber.
(7) Chattanooga Mocs vs. (10) West Virginia Mountaineers
Your website has a page titled "What’s a Moc?" that begins with the sentence, "For more than a decade, this question has puzzled many fans and observers of Chattanooga Athletics." That says it better than I ever could.
West Virginia Mountaineers
Look, we're barely even rivals anymore, so don't take this personally. (Or do.) But when part of the criteria to be your mascot is "skip personal hygiene," you're on the list. That is a bad mascot. At least the goofy little Notre Dame guy looks like he's seen the business end of a bar of soap since last year’s tourney. You're still the new kid in whatever conference you guys are in now. Try to make a good impression.
(2) Stony Brook Seawolves vs. (15) Cal State Bakersfield Roadrunners
Stony Brook Seawolves
Look at this logo. I was all set to like you. I really wanted to like you. I was picturing the Big Bad Wolf jet-skiing with a knife between its teeth. Then I found out a seawolf was a fish. And not even a cool fish, like a shark or something. You’re literally bottom feeders, and that just doesn’t engender a ton of confidence. You can crush clams with your teeth though, that's kind of awesome.
Cal State Bakersfield Roadrunners
Can you trust the Roadrunners on the biggest stage in basketball? I can definitely say no. The last time a Roadrunner was in a high-pressure game, it didn’t even show up in the box score. Yeah, the Monstars kept the only other Roadrunner I've ever heard of completely off the score sheet in a battle for the galaxy. Sorry, but that's not the kind of clutch performance I'm looking for in my Cinderella.
Granted, it’s tough to crack a lineup that shoots 100% for the game, but stopping Buddy Hield won’t be much easier.