As promised, (although, a little tardy) here’s a run-down on some of the nicknames of the teams in the NCAA tourney:

From Musketeers to Jackrabbits, the 2012 March Madness tourney is well underway, (with some mighty upsets already, I might add), and while there are no Zips or Flyers in this years’ field, there are plenty of funny, odd and just plain goofy nicknames.

The animal kingdom is always a good place to start.   This year’s tourney has everything from owls to buffaloes, from rams to gators.  There are wildcats and catamounts, bears and bearcats, bulls and bulldogs, there’s even greyhounds and longhorns.  The birds are well represented.  There are blue jays and cardinals,  jayhawks and mountain hawks, golden eagles and blackbirds.   There are even wolverines and wolfpacks!

In the non-animal kingdom, we have cavaliers and mountaineers, we have commodores, titans and spartans.   There are aggies, hoosiers and hoyas.  (what??)  There are shockers and cyclones, blue devils and delta devils, tar heels and seminoles.  There are even schools that just have colors:  crimson (tide) and orange (men).

The weirdest ones though sort of defy explanation.  Purdue is the boilermakers.  Wow, that’s intimidating!  He either makes boilers (ooo, scary) or he makes drinks.  The Ohio State University (and you have to say “The” Ohio State University, I think it’s required by law) are the Buckeyes.  Yeah, that’s a good idea – let’s have our school be represented by a big nut!

Notre Dame has the Fighting Irish.  I always think of an angry little leprechaun, jumping up and down trying to bite someone’s ankle.  Ha Ha!

St. Bonaventure are the Bonnies.  I don’t know what a bonnie is, but it’s a funny name.  Their mascot is actually a wolf, but I tend to picture a bonnet, like a Laura Ingals would wear in Little House on the Prairie.  Sorry, St. Bonnie, it’s nothing personal.

The strangest nickname in this season’s tournament, however, has to be the St. Louis Bilikins.  What the h#** is a bilikin?  A billy goat?  A next of kin?  I don’t know.  I guess it’s an elf-like good luck charm.  Huh.  Maybe they should update their school mascot.  To a color.  Puse, maybe?  Chartruese?  I’ve got it:  Magenta.  The St. Louis Magentas!

If you’d like a well-thought out article on this subject, which also includes a little more detail about the history of the nicknames, visit this 2012 NCAA nickname match-up page.

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