Mascot Madness: Our Picks For The Cutest Animals in The NCAA

The best teams in men's and women's basketball are gearing up for March Madness, but we've already narrowed our choices to the Sweet 16 — our 16 favorite animal mascots, that is! While not all of these furry cheerleaders will get a chance to rally support for their team in this year's tournament (and, in fact, many will never trade the football field for a basketball court), they'll all get you cheering. Or at least ooh-ing and aah-ing.

The Sweet 16 Four-Legged Mascots

Butler Blue

Butler University

Blue III, Butler University

We're sorry that Butler University's Bulldogs won't be playing in this year's men's NCAA tournament because Blue III is, hands down, our favorite mascot. While this cutie isn't the official Butler University mascot yet, Blue III (his real name is Trip), an English Bulldog puppy, is being mentored by the current Butler mascot, Blue II, and will assume official mascot duties when Blue II retires.

The mascot-in-training is not only an adorable furry cheerleader, he is quite Internet- and social-media-savvy. You can keep track of Blue III’s courtside celebrating and what he’s learning in puppy class on his website, Twitter, webcam and Foursquare.

Mike LSU

Louisiana State University

Mike, Louisiana State University

LSU fans have a truly regal and fierce, not to mention adorable, mascot: a Bengal tiger. When Mike VI isn’t roaring through Tiger Stadium, you can find him in his 15,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art habitat on the Louisiana State University campus. However, he will not be accompanying the LSU players to their games — he'll be cheering them on from Baton Rouge. Geaux Tigers!

Jack Georgetown

Georgetown University

Jack, Georgetown University

Georgetown University's mascot is Jack the Bulldog. The first Jack, an English Bulldog, was purchased by students in 1964; he was meant to be called Hoya (after the school's rallying cry of "Hoya Saxa!"), but refused to respond to any name but Jack. The current Jack’s favorite pastimes include tearing up cardboard boxes (usually painted with the opposing team’s colors) and riding in golf carts.

Ralphie Colorado

University of Colorado Athletics

Ralphie, University of Colorado

You won’t see Ralphie the Buffalo shooting hoops with the Colorado men’s basketball team (his size gives him an unfair advantage and his hoofs would do a number on the court), but there’s no doubt that the University of Colorado’s handsome (and a little intimidating) mascot is a truly amazing sight to see. And we all know that a big mascot means big spirit!

Dubs UW

The University of Washington

Dubs, The University of Washington

The University of Washington’s furry mascot is an Alaskan Malamute named Dubs. According to his weekly blog, the four-legged fur ball “loves being a dawg.” Who doesn't?

Boomer and Sooner

Stacey West

Boomer and Sooner, The University of Oklahoma

The University of Oklahoma Sooner Schooner is a Conestoga wagon pulled by two gorgeous white ponies, Boomer and Sooner, who race across Owen Field after every OU touchdown. We wish these stunning horses could make a basketball debut during March Madness, but alas, those hooves just aren't hard-court-friendly, and their rig is a little large for a basketball arena.

Blitz II

Wofford College

Blitz II, Wofford College

2010 marked the Wofford College Terriers' first appearance in the NCAA men's basketball tournament, and we've got our fingers crossed that they — and their mascot, Blitz II, will be back this year. When this peppy Boston Terrier isn’t working her mascot gig, you can call her by her real name, Ayeryel.

Bevo, UTexas

The University of Texas

Bevo, The University of Texas at Austin

University of Texas mascot, a Longhorn named Bevo, is central to the school's "Hook 'Em, Horns" enthusiasm. The current Bevo is the fourteenth Longorn to represent the school; in January 2005, he attended the second inauguration of President George W. Bush. Unfortunately, he will not be following the Longhorns to the Big Dance. Again, it's the hooves. Sorry, Bevo.


University of Tennessee

Smokey, University of Tennessee

Smokey IX is the handsome Bluetick Coonhound mascot for the University of Tennessee Volunteers. With his dashing cape, this spirited pooch brings lots of Vols spirit to home games. This year, we'll be looking for Smokey at the women's NCAA tournament along with legendary coach Pat Summitt, who has led the Lady Vols to eight NCAA championships.

Russ, University of Georgia

Danny White

Russ, The University of Georgia

After The University of Georgia's Uga VIII passed away early last year, Russ the Bulldog came to the rescue and assumed interim mascot duties. The university is now selecting a new permanent mascot to follow in the lineage of pure white English Bulldogs, but we hope Russ gets to stick around for a while!

Baylor Bears

Baylor Marketing and Communications

Joy and Lady, Baylor University

Clocking in at a combined weight of more than 600 pounds, these two North American Black Bears definitely tip the awesome mascot scales. Joy and Lady are biological sisters named for the wives of two Baylor University presidents, and they reside in a bear habitat next to Baylor's student center. High-five, ladies!

Reveille Texas A&M

Texas A&M University

Reveille VIII, Texas A&M University

This full-blooded Collie revels in her rank as top dog at Texas A&M University. If she wants to sleep on a cadet's bed, the cadet is ordered to sleep on the floor. Cadets also must address the pooch as "Miss Rev, ma'am." Each Reveille is given a formal military funeral and buried facing the scoreboard, so she can watch her football team outscore the visitors. We think Reveille — er, we mean, Miss Rev, ma'am — is just adorable!

Peruna SMU

Southern Methodist University

Peruna, Southern Methodist University

Is there anything more exciting than a horse galloping across the football field every time you score a touchdown? We didn't think so. Peruna IX, a black stallion Shetland pony, took the reigns of Southern Methodist University's mascot duties in October, and we think this darling is doing a great job!

Bully MSU

Mississippi State University

Bully, Mississippi State University

Another member of the Bulldog mascot club, Mississippi State University's Bully was frequently the target of prankster kidnappers from rival teams. He has better security these days; there hasn't been a kidnapping attempt since 1974. The current Bully's real name is Champ; when he's not cheering his team to victory, he lives at the university's College of Veterinary Medicine.

Rameses UNC

Jeffrey A. Camarati, The University of North Carolina

Rameses XVIII, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Since he was introduced to the campus at a pep rally in 1924, Rameses the Ram has always sported a monogrammed blanket on his back. Sadly, Rameses XVIII passed away last month, but the Hogan family — who has raised the official Rameses for almost a century — decided that Rameses XVIII's adorable son, BamBam, will become UNC's mascot next season.

Jonathan University of Connecticut

University of Connecticut

Jonathan, University of Connecticut

Named after Connecticut's Revolutionary War–era governor, Jonathan Trumbull, UConn's white Siberian Husky mascot, cheers in style. Just look at those blue booties! He's better dressed than the cheerleaders. Jonathan will be busy for the next few weekends keeping up with UConn's women's basketball team as they charge through the tournament.


Join the Conversation

Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!