10 most terrifying mascots in this year’s NCAA Tournament

WASHINGTON — At their best, mascots are weird. Maybe some are funny or vaguely “cute,” but at the end of the day, they are humans inside anthropomorphic felt costumes. Some are fine, just fine. Some are not fine.

If you watch this year’s NCAA Tournament, you will be exposed to mascots in both categories. While I feel no need to warn you about the former, if you’re not well-versed in college basketball, you should really brace yourself for the latter. With 351 Division I teams, schools have gotten creative with not just their school nicknames, but with the characters that represent them. And some of those characters seem specifically designed to haunt your dreams.

So without further ado, here are the 10 most terrifying mascots in this year’s field of 68.

ATLANTA, GA - MARCH 08:  Sebastian the Ibis, the Miami Hurricanes mascot, gestures during their first round game of 2012 ACC Men's Basketball Conferene Tournament against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Philips Arena on March 8, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
10. Sebastian the Ibis (Miami) An ibis is a long-billed, somewhat crane-like bird, which on its own seems innocuous enough. This all comes down to the eyes. I know they’re supposed to be looking up, but instead they look vaguely cross-eyed, and perhaps vaguely evil, and either way it’s unnerving. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) (Getty Images/Kevin C. Cox)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - DECEMBER 02:  Brutus Buckeye, the mascot for the Ohio State Buckeyes, performs in the first half against the Wisconsin Badgers during the Big Ten Championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 2, 2017 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
9. Brutus Buckeye (Ohio State) Brutus has been around for so long it may be easy to take for granted the fact that he is an anthropomorphic buckeye nut. But his face is one that buries its way deeper into your subconscious the more you look at it. At first, you assume he’s smiling, but he’s not really. It’s more that his mouth is forced open — like his eyes — as if he’s being overinflated, past the point of no return. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) (Getty Images/Joe Robbins)
LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 07:  Arizona State Sun Devils mascot Sparky the Sun Devil stands on the court during the team's first-round game of the Pac-12 basketball tournament against the Colorado Buffaloes at T-Mobile Arena on March 7, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Buffaloes won 97-85.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
8. Sparky the Sun Devil (Arizona State) As my colleague Rob Woodfork pointed out, Sparky looks less like a devil than an old-timey movie villain, the kind with the overexaggerated gangster accent. “Shee, thish ish how we’ll shteal all the gold from Ft. Knox, shee.” But get past the pencil mustache and there’s also evil in those eyes — those white-pupiled eyes. Yep, now you’ll never not see it. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) (Getty Images/Ethan Miller)
KANSAS CITY, MO - MARCH 22:  Willie the Wildcat the Kansas State Wildcats mascot performs during the second round of the 2013 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at the Sprint Center on March 22, 2013 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
7. Willie the Wildcat (Kansas State) The wildcat mascot head itself is only slightly creepy, with its beady little eyes … but that’s all there is to the costume. It’s a disembodied character head on top of a human body. That, friends, is terrifying. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images) (Getty Images/Ed Zurga)
6. Super Frog (TCU)The Shape of Water” (2017). Kidding, I’m kidding … Seriously, though, if you thought this couldn’t have been worse, have a look at TCU’s former incarnation. I’ll admit that it’s tough to work with the hand you’ve been dealt when your nickname is the Horned Frogs, but that doesn’t make this any more acceptable. (Getty Images/Ed Zurga)
5. The Highlander (Radford) We (and the Radford Highlander) are here for two reasons. One, the shorts. Because, really, what. Two, there may be only one Highlander, but there is another Radford mascot, the one that The Highlander replaced — Rowdy Red. Rowdy looks like what might have happened if Elmo had gotten so into Winstrol that his arms fell off. (Getty Images/Ed Zurga)
4. Killian (Iona) Oh my god. Don’t do it. Don’t dump the ice bucket. This creature’s name is literally KILL IAN. Wait, Ian, is that you with the bucket? Run very far away, Ian! (YouTube/Iona Gaels) (YouTube/Iona Gaels)
DAYTON, OH - MARCH 15:  The Wichita State Shockers mascot performs during the game between the Wichita State Shockers and the Vanderbilt Commodores in the first round of the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at UD Arena on March 15, 2016 in Dayton, Ohio.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
3. WuShock (Wichita State) A literal shock of wheat, the Wichita State Shocker looks like what the scarecrow of Wizard of Oz might have if, instead of lacking a brain, he ate them for dinner. I’m not saying he knows how to operate a chainsaw and has one in his garage at the ready, but I’m not not saying it. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) (Getty Images/Gregory Shamus)
OMAHA, NE - MARCH 16:  Purdue Pete, the mscot for the Purdue Boilermakers, performs against the St. Mary's Gaels during the second round of the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at CenturyLink Center on March 16, 2012 in Omaha, Nebraska.  (Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images)
2. Purdue Pete (Purdue) Why? Why is it … with the plastic … and the eyes … why? Pete is the masked face of Bodhi robbing banks in “Point Break,” except instead of actually following through with it, he’s suspended in permanent existential crisis. That sledgehammer … it’s been places, man. (Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images) (Getty Images/Eric Francis)
RALEIGH, NC - MARCH 17:  Providence Friars mascot Friar Dom performs in the first half against the USC Trojans during the first round of the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at PNC Arena on March 17, 2016 in Raleigh, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
1. Friar Dom (Providence) THERE IS NO FRIAR, ONLY ZUUL. Just because we’re not the first to point out that Friar Dom should be banished to the depths of outer space doesn’t mean we’re wrong. Look at that photo — you can hear it howling. Please, think of the children. No, seriously, won’t you think of the children? (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) (Getty Images/Streeter Lecka)
(1/10)
ATLANTA, GA - MARCH 08:  Sebastian the Ibis, the Miami Hurricanes mascot, gestures during their first round game of 2012 ACC Men's Basketball Conferene Tournament against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Philips Arena on March 8, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - DECEMBER 02:  Brutus Buckeye, the mascot for the Ohio State Buckeyes, performs in the first half against the Wisconsin Badgers during the Big Ten Championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 2, 2017 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 07:  Arizona State Sun Devils mascot Sparky the Sun Devil stands on the court during the team's first-round game of the Pac-12 basketball tournament against the Colorado Buffaloes at T-Mobile Arena on March 7, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Buffaloes won 97-85.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MO - MARCH 22:  Willie the Wildcat the Kansas State Wildcats mascot performs during the second round of the 2013 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at the Sprint Center on March 22, 2013 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
DAYTON, OH - MARCH 15:  The Wichita State Shockers mascot performs during the game between the Wichita State Shockers and the Vanderbilt Commodores in the first round of the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at UD Arena on March 15, 2016 in Dayton, Ohio.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
OMAHA, NE - MARCH 16:  Purdue Pete, the mscot for the Purdue Boilermakers, performs against the St. Mary's Gaels during the second round of the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at CenturyLink Center on March 16, 2012 in Omaha, Nebraska.  (Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images)
RALEIGH, NC - MARCH 17:  Providence Friars mascot Friar Dom performs in the first half against the USC Trojans during the first round of the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at PNC Arena on March 17, 2016 in Raleigh, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

 


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