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The Weirdest Mascot in the 2014 NCAA March Madness Basketball Tournament

Mar 19, 2014

March Madness is the biggest college basketball tournament of the year and sees the best schools in the United States compete in a sudden death tournament until a national champion is crowned. It's like the Hunger Games, except instead of pledges there are college and university basketball teams and instead of dying you just get knocked out of the tournament. But it's a really big deal! Millions of people watch and fill out tournament brackets. One aspect of the tournament I always love are the mascots. There are so many teams that you end up with some really weird and unique teams and mascots, but one team from Missouri takes the cake.

North Carolina RamesesNorth Carolina RamesesCourtesy of NCAA
 

THE OTHER TEAMS

A lot of the other basketball teams are named after animals. Only some of them aren't even scary animals. You've got Badgers (Wisconsin) and Ducks (Oregon). There are all kinds of generally non-threatening birds in Bluejays (Creighton), Jayhawks (Kansas) and Cardinals (Stanford and Louisville). Speaking of birds, the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers is probably the second-weirdest team name. A Chanticleer is basically a sassy rooster named after a character in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, which some of you will have already read in English class. You think two Cardinals is funny? There are five Wildcats! (Arizona, Kentucky and Villanova). Then of course you have the big and potentially deadly animals. There are the Tigers (Memphis), Wolverines (Michigan) and Bearcats (Cincinnati) among many others. There are no shortage of animal mascots, or weird team nicknames, but one stands out from the rest. 

THE BILLIKENS

The what? Exactly. What's a Billiken? Well, let me tell you, a Billiken is a made up charm doll that was created by an art teacher in the early 1900s. The woman said she had seen the figure in her dream and she wanted to see it come to life. The Billiken is commonly seen sitting down with its legs outstretched and a mischievous smile on its face. To buy one is considered to bring good luck but receiving one as a gift is even better fortune. But how did a basketball team get named after this strange doll?

THE BILLIKENTHE BILLIKENCourtesy of Wikipedia
 

THE SAINT LOUIS BILLIKENS

THE SAINT LOUIS BILLIKENSTHE SAINT LOUIS BILLIKENSCourtesy of NCAA
 

Keep in mind Billikens were created in Missouri so they were very popular for some time. There was once a man who coached for the school named John R. Bender. People said that Bender looked like a Billiken. They believe he looked like a Billiken so much that they began to call the team Bender's Billikens. This wouldn't be so weird except Bender looked nothing like a Billiken.

John R. BenderJohn R. BenderCourtesy of wikipedia
 

So there you have it, the weirdest mascot in the March Madness tournament. Go Billikens!

Have your say!

Do you think Billikens are creepy or cute? Do you think another school has a weirder name? Who do you think will win the tournament? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

 

16 Comments

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