Hey let’s do this mascot thing, OK?
As I mentioned earlier, we are going to unveil the field one region at a time over the next four days. First, we head out west, where the West Coast Conference dominates a strong region.
Check out the full field here:
1. Willie (Pepperdine) vs. 16. Wally (Portland)
I swear we didn’t intentionally make a Willie-Wally matchup here, as fun as it sounds. The Pepperdine mascot was the clear choice for the 1 seed and is far cooler than you will ever be. As for Wally, don’t let the seed next to his name fool you. Remember: To even make the field, you have to beat out plenty of regional competition.
8. Iggy (Loyola Marymount) vs. 9. Paydirt Pete (UTEP)
As a mascot, Iggy goes above and beyond what he could be. A lion mascot sounds boring. It should be boring. Iggy is not. The red mane makes all the difference and we applaud him for that. As for Paydirt Pete, he’s a college basketball institution. Our friends over at Miner Rush will surely give him a nice boost when voting starts.
5. Big Blue (Utah State) vs. 12. Thunder (Grand Canyon)
From the nose ring to the brilliant blue color of his fur, Big Blue is an excellent mascot. Like Iggy, he’s another example of what could be a simple mascot, made great by a little something extra. And don’t think we didn’t notice the Nike gloves. Thunder, meanwhile, is both adorable and enthusiastic. You don’t see antelope as mascots often, but this is exceptionally well done.
4. Cosmo (BYU) vs. 13. Gael (Saint Mary’s)
You could make a good argument that Cosmo should be better than a 4 seed and I probably wouldn’t fight you over it. Just google “BYU Cosmo dunk,” sit back, and watch. Cosmo has definitive “second weekend’ potential in this NCAA Tournament-style bracket. But don’t ignore Gael. A human mascot is tough to pull off, but Saint Mary’s does it well. His features are life-like but not creepy, and the cape is a wonderful touch.
6. Lumberjack (Stephen F. Austin) vs. 11. Monte (Montana)
Thomas Walkup is the 6 seed in the we- wait, what’s that? Oh, sorry, that’s the Lumberjack, Stephen F. Austin’s mascot. He’s the only human mascot in our field that does not wear a complete mascot costume. He also carries an axe, so vote against him at your own risk. That said, Monte is cute as hell and has all of big-as-hell Monte by his side. Oh, and he’s a bear so I guess vote against him at your own risk as well.
3. Peter the Anteater (UC Irvine) vs. 14. Hey Reb! (UNLV)
So here’s the thing with Peter the Anteater: as a mascot, he is great. For sure. It’s tough to do a good anteater and he does it. What sets him apart? Mainly how he continues to own us online, especially after I confused him for an aardvark last season.
Me listening to all your hate pic.twitter.com/3NghArJuYz— Peter The Anteater (@PeterTAnteater) May 5, 2017
As for Hey Reb!, the hat and the mustache are both among the elite in the mascot game. But we can’t help but knock him a few points for the new logo that UNLV has chosen to associate with him.
7. Rowdy (UTSA) vs. 10. Blaze (UT Arlington)
A showdown of mascots from the University of Texas system takes the 7-10 game here, and it’s a good one. Rowdy the Roadrunner wears his school colors proudly, and it makes for an inviting-yet-energetic look. Perfect to pump up a crowd and take a few pictures with the kids. As for Blaze, he’s one of the best horsey mascots in the game (but not the highest seeded...stay tuned for later in the week). He’s all white, so he can’t get dirty. That could be his weakness.
2. Izzy (Texas A&M-Corpus Christi) vs. 15. Scrappy the Eagle (North Texas)
Look at whatever the heck Izzy is and tell me that’s not a Final Four contender. The originality! The detail! The...belt thingy. Texas A&M-CC is the only university in the country located on its own island, and they own it with their Islander moniker and mascot. Then there’s Scrappy, who takes the standard Eagle mascot and adds the team green color. Simple, but well-executed.
Rudy the Redhawk (Seattle)
Matty the Matador (CS Northridge)
Pistol Pete (New Mexico State)