Men's Tournament Challenge guide to team mascots, school colors and famous alumni

8 months ago 5

9:57 PM ET

  • Sachin Chandan and Kyle Soppe

The NCAA tournament is seeded with plenty of the usual suspects, but every year there are new mascots, school colors and fight songs to learn, too. Whether you are filling out a bracket and need to find inspiration in the team's traditions or want to know who might be rooting along with you, we've researched each school in the tournament to give you all the information at hand, organized by region and seeds, as you'd find them on your Tournament Challenge entry.

Information was scoured from public sources, and some (including student enrollment numbers) might be slightly out of date. But we figure that's OK: We put as much effort into vetting this as you're putting into filling out your bracket.

We also apologize in advance if we left off your favorite actor/athlete/politician/relative from the list of notable alumni. It was (probably) unintentional, and there's nothing to read into it. Frankly, for some schools, we had to stretch the definition of notable. But we had fun with this, and we hope you do too.

South Region

(1) Alabama Crimson Tide
Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Conference: Southeastern | Enrollment: 37,842
Mascot: Big Al | Fight song: "Yea Alabama"
Official color(s): Crimson and white
Notable alumni: Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, Bear Bryant, Shaun Alexander, Jimmy Wales, Justin Thomas, Dabo Swinney, Harper Lee, Bernie Madoff, Joe Namath

(2) Arizona Wildcats
Tucson, Arizona

Conference: Pac-12 | Enrollment: 36,503
Mascot: Wilbur and Wilma | Fight song: "Fight Wildcats, Fight!"
Official color(s): UA Red and Arizona Blue
Notable alumni: Richard Jefferson, Gilbert Arenas, Kourtney Kardashian, Nicole Richie, Kenny Lofton

(3) Baylor Bears
Waco, Texas

Conference: Big 12 | Enrollment: 16,787
Mascot: Bruiser & Marygold | Fight song: "Old Fite"
Official color(s): Green and gold
Notable alumni: Willie Nelson, Jeff Dunham, Robert Griffin III

(4) Virginia Cavaliers
Charlottesville, Virginia

Conference: Atlantic Coast | Enrollment: 24,360
Mascot: Cavalier | Fight Song: "The Cavalier Song"
Official Color(s): Orange and blue
Notable Alumni: Woodrow Wilson, Edgar Allen Poe, William Faulkner, Georgia O'Keeffe, Richard Byrd, Tina Fey, Robert F. Kennedy, Ted Kennedy, Robert Mueller, Janet Napolitano, Will Shortz, Katie Couric, David Baldacci

(5) San Diego State Aztecs
San Diego, California

Conference: Mountain West | Enrollment: 35,578
Mascot: Aztec Warrior | Fight song: "Fight Song"
Official color(s): Black and scarlet
Notable alumni: Tony Gwynn, Marshall Faulk, Stephen Strasburg, Kawhi Leonard, Herm Edwards, Raquel Welch

(6) Creighton Bluejays
Omaha, Nebraska

Conference: Big East | Enrollment: 4,472
Mascot: Billy Bluejay | Fight song: "The White and the Blue"
Official color(s): White and blue
Notable alumni: Kyle Korver, Bob Gibson, Paul Silas

(7) Missouri Tigers
Columbia, Missouri

Conference: Southeastern | Enrollment: 29,866
Mascot: Truman the Tiger | Fight Song: "Every True Son and Fight"
Official Color(s): MU gold and black
Notable Alumni: Brad Pitt, Sheryl Crow, Max Scherzer, Kellen Winslow Sr., Carl Edwards, John Anderson, Michael Kim

(8) Maryland Terrapins
College Park, Maryland

Conference: Big Ten | Enrollment: 41,200
Mascot: Testudo | Fight Song: "Fight, Fight, Fight for Maryland"
Official Color(s): Red, white, black and gold
Notable Alumni: Larry David, Jim Henson, Boomer Esiason

(9) West Virginia Mountaineers
Morgantown, West Virginia

Conference: Big 12 | Enrollment: 28,776
Mascot: The Mountaineer | Fight Song: "Hail, West Virginia"
Official Color(s): Old gold and blue
Notable Alumni: Jerry West, Billy Mays, Bob Huggins, Pat McAfee, Marc Bulger

(10) Utah State Aggies
Logan, Utah

Conference: Mountain West | Enrollment: 27,932
Mascot: Big Blue | Fight Song: "Hail the Utah Aggies"
Official Color(s): Navy blue, white and pewter gray
Notable Alumni: Merlin Olsen

(11) NC State Wolfpack
Raleigh, North Carolina

Conference: ACC | Enrollment: 36000
Mascot: Mr. and Mrs. Wuf | Fight song: "Red and White"
Official color(s): Red and white
Notable alumni: Zach Galifianakis, Trea Turner, Philip Rivers, Debbie Antonelli, John Tesh

(12) Charleston Cougars
Charleston, South Carolina

Conference: CAA | Enrollment: 10885
Mascot: Clyde the Cougar | Fight song: "Cougars Fight On!"
Official color(s): Maroon and white
Notable alumni: Edwin McCain, Brett Gardner, Thomas Gibson

(13) Furman Paladins
Greenville, South Carolina

Conference: Southern Conference | Enrollment: 2600
Mascot: Victor the Paladin | Fight song: "The Paladins Song"
Official color(s): Royal, purple and white
Notable alumni: Billy Napier, Amy Grant, Clint Dempsey, Xavier Woods, Dottie Pepper

(14) UC Santa Barbara Gauchos
Santa Barbara, California

Conference: Big West | Enrollment: 26179
Mascot: Ole | Fight song: "El 'C' Grande"
Official color(s): Blue and gold
Notable alumni: Gwyneth Paltrow, Barry Zito, Jerry Trainor, Jim Rome, Shane Bieber

(15) Princeton Tigers
Princeton, New Jersey

Conference: Ivy League | Enrollment: 8705
Mascot: The Tiger | Fight song: "Princeton Cannon Song"
Official color(s): Black and orange
Notable alumni: F. Scott Fitzgerald, Jeff Bezos, Michelle Obama, Richard Feynman, Bill Bradley, Eric Schmidt, Michael Lewis, Woodrow Wilson, James Madison, Aaron Burr.

(16) Texas A&M-CC Islanders
Corpus Christi, Texas

Conference: Southland | Enrollment: 11,929
Mascot: Izzy the Islander | Fight song: "TAMUCC Islander Fight Song"
Official color(s): Royal blue, white and green
Notable alumni: Kevin Palmer, Cassandra Jean, Kim Henkel

(16) Southeast Missouri State Redhawks
Cape Girardeau, MO

Conference: Ohio Valley Conference | Enrollment: 9851
Mascot: Rowdy the Redhawk | Fight song: "SEMO Fight Song"
Official color(s): Red and black
Notable alumni: Cedric the Entertainer, Linda Godwin, Dan Connolly, Roy Thomas

Midwest Region

(1) Houston Cougars
Houston, Texas

Conference: American Athletic | Enrollment: 37,215
Mascot: Shasta | Fight song: "Cougar Fight Song"
Official color(s): Scarlet and albino
Notable alumni: Hakeem Olajuwon, Jim Parsons, Lil Wayne

(2) Texas Longhorns
Austin, Texas

Conference: Big 12 | Enrollment: 40,163
Mascot: Bevo | Fight song: "Texas Fight"
Official color(s): Burnt orange and white
Notable alumni: Matthew McConaughey, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Roger Clemens, Kevin Durant, Janis Joplin, Owen Wilson, Walter Cronkite

(3) Xavier Musketeers
Cincinnati, OH

Conference: Big East | Enrollment: 5759
Mascot: D'Artagnan and the Blue Blob | Fight song: "Xavier Fight Song"
Official color(s): Navy blue and silver
Notable alumni: John Boehner, Jim Bunning, James Posey, Ryan Nemeth

(4) Indiana Hoosiers
Bloomington, Indiana

Conference: Big Ten | Enrollment: 48,952
Mascot: N/A | Fight song: "Indiana, Our Indiana"
Official color(s): Cream and Crimson
Notable alumni: Mark Cuban, Sage Steele, Isaiah Thomas, Dick Enberg, Joe Buck, Jamie Moyer

(5) Miami Hurricanes
Coral Gables, Florida

Conference: Atlantic Coast | Enrollment: 11,334
Mascot: Sebastian the Ibis | Fight song: "Miami U How-Dee-Doo"
Official color(s): UM Orange and UM Green
Notable alumni: Dwayne Johnson, Alex Rodriguez, Sylvester Stallone, Ray Lewis, Michael Irvin, Enrique Iglesias

(6) Iowa State Cyclones
Ames, Iowa

Conference: Big 12 | Enrollment: 34,992
Mascot: Cy the Cardinal | Fight song: "ISU Fights"
Official color(s): Cardinal and gold
Notable alumni: George Washington Carver, Lee Teng-hui

(7) Texas A&M Aggies
College Station, TX

Conference: SEC | Enrollment: 68461
Mascot: Reveille | Fight song: "Aggie War Hymn"
Official color(s): Maroon and white
Notable alumni: Lyle Lovett, Rick Perry, Myles Garrett, Granger Smith

(8) Iowa Hawkeyes
Iowa City, Iowa

Conference: Big Ten | Enrollment: 32,948
Mascot: Herky the Hawk | Fight song: "Iowa Fight Song"
Official color(s): Black and gold
Notable alumni: Tennessee Williams, John Irving, Jane Smiley, Gene Wilder, Tom Brokaw, Ashton Kutcher, Tom Arnold, Diablo Cody, Matt Bowen

(9) Auburn Tigers
Auburn, Alabama

Conference: Southeastern | Enrollment: 23,964
Mascot: Aubie the Tiger | Fight song: "War Eagle"
Official color(s): Burnt orange and navy blue
Notable alumni: Charles Barkley, Bo Jackson, Jimmy Buffett, Lionel Richie, Octavia Spencer

(10) Penn State Nittany Lions
University Park, PA

Conference: Big Ten | Enrollment: 47560
Mascot: Nittany Lion | Fight song: "Fight on, State"
Official color(s): Blue and white
Notable alumni: Terry Pegula, Keegan-Michael Key, Lisa Salters, Britt Baker, Saquon Barkley

(11) Mississippi State Bulldogs
Starkville, MS

Conference: SEC | Enrollment: 22986
Mascot: Bulldogs | Fight song: "Hail State"
Official color(s): Maroon and white
Notable alumni: John Grisham, Dak Prescott, Machine Gun Kelly, Will Clark, Rafael Palmeiro

(11) Pittsburgh Panthers
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Conference: ACC | Enrollment: 28391
Mascot: Panthers | Fight song: "Hail to Pitt"
Official color(s): Blue and gold
Notable alumni: Fred Rogers, Gene Kelly, Dan Marino, Mike Ditka, Tony Dorsett

(12) Drake Bulldogs
Des Moines, Iowa

Conference: Missouri Valley | Enrollment: 4,991
Mascot: Spike | Fight Song: "The 'D' Song"
Official Color(s): Drake blue, black and white
Notable Alumni: Michael Emerson, Zach Johnson

(13) Kent State Golden Flashes
Kent, Ohio

Conference: MAC | Enrollment: 24282
Mascot: Flash | Fight song: "Fight on for KSU"
Official color(s): Navy blue and gold
Notable alumni: Julian Edelman, Drew Carey, Brian Windhorst, Joe Walsh

(14) Kennesaw State Owls
Kennesaw, Georgia

Conference: ASUN | Enrollment: 42000
Mascot: Scrappy the Owl | Fight song: "KSU Fight Song"
Official color(s): Black and gold
Notable alumni: Ty Pennington, Jasmine Burke, Willie Harris

(15) Colgate Raiders
Hamilton, New York

Conference: Patriot League | Enrollment: 2,939
Mascot: Raider | Fight song: "Fight, Fight, Fight"
Official color(s): Maroon and white
Notable alumni: Jay Chandrasekhar, Bob Woodruff, Mike Milbury, Ben Cohen, Andy Rooney

(16) Northern Kentucky Norse
Highland Heights, Kentucky

Conference: Horizon League | Enrollment: 15827
Mascot: Victor E. Viking | Fight song: "Onward Ye Norsemen"
Official color(s): Black and gold
Notable alumni: George Clooney, Steve Zahn, David W. Mack, Jeff Walz

West Region

(1) Kansas Jayhawks
Lawrence, Kansas

Conference: Big 12 | Enrollment: 28,510
Mascot: Big Jay and Baby Jay | Fight song: "I'm a Jayhawk"
Official color(s): Crimson and blue
Notable alumni: Wilt Chamberlain, Dean Smith, Paul Rudd, Don Johnson, Rob Riggle, Scott Bakula, Nikki Glaser

(2) UCLA Bruins
Los Angeles, California

Conference: Pac-12 | Enrollment: 44,947
Mascot: Joe Bruin | Fight song: "Sons of Westwood and the Mighty Bruins"
Official color(s): UCLA blue and UCLA gold
Notable alumni: Jackie Robinson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Arthur Ashe, Reggie Miller, Russell Westbrook, Ben Stiller, Jack Black, Gabrielle Union

(3) Gonzaga Bulldogs
Spokane, Washington

Conference: West Coast Conference | Enrollment: 4,964
Mascot: Spike the Bulldog | Fight song: "Go Gonzaga"
Official color(s): Blue and white
Notable alumni: John Stockton, Bing Crosby

(4) UConn Huskies
Storrs, Connecticut

Conference: Big East | Enrollment: 32,333
Mascot: Jonathan the Husky | Fight song: "UConn Husky"
Official color(s): Navy blue, gray and white
Notable alumni: Ray Allen, Rebecca Lobo, Diana Taurasi, Maya Moore, Sue Bird, Dan Orlovsky, Molly Qerim

(5) Saint Mary's Gaels
Moraga, California

Conference: West Coast | Enrollment: 2,916
Mascot: Gael Force One | Fight song: "On to Victory"
Official color(s): Navy, red and silver
Notable alumni: Tony Martin, Mahershala Ali

(6) TCU Horned Frogs
Fort Worth, Texas

Conference: Big-12 | Enrollment: 9,704
Mascot: Superfrog | Fight song: "TCU Fight Song"
Official color(s): Horned Frog Purple and White
Notable alumni: LaDainian Tomlinson, Andy Dalton, Scott Brooks

(7) Northwestern Wildcats
Evanston, Illinois

Conference: Big Ten | Enrollment: 21000
Mascot: Willie the Wildcat | Fight song: "Go U, Northwestern"
Official color(s): Purple and white
Notable alumni: Warren Beaty, Michael Wilbon, Daryl Morey, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Megan, Duchess of Sussex

(8) Arkansas Razorbacks
Fayetteville, Arkansas

Conference: Southeastern | Enrollment: 27,558
Mascot: Tusk IV | Fight song: "Arkansas Fight"
Official color(s): Cardinal and white
Notable alumni: John Daly, Jerry Jones, Pat Summerall, Joe Johnson, Darren McFadden, Tyson Gay

(9) Illinois Fighting Illini
Champaign, Illinois

Conference: Big Ten | Enrollment: 52,331
Mascot: N/A | Fight song: "Oskee-Wow-Wow"
Official color(s): Orange and blue
Notable alumni: Hugh Hefner, Jesse Jackson, Dick Butkus, Deron Williams

(10) Boise State Broncos
Boise, Idaho

Conference: Mountain West | Enrollment: 22,113
Mascot: Buster Bronco | Fight song: "Orange and Blue"
Official color(s): Orange and blue
Notable alumni: Doug Martin, Jay Ajayi, Kellen Moore, Scott Jorgensen

(11) Arizona State Sun Devils
Tempe, Arizona

Conference: Pac-12 | Enrollment: 103,530
Mascot: Sparky | Fight Song: "Maroon & Gold"
Official Color(s): Maroon and gold
Notable Alumni: Jimmy Kimmel, Al Michaels, Barry Bonds, Reggie Jackson, Terrell Suggs, Phil Mickelson, James Harden, David Spade, Steve Allen, Nick Nolte, Linda Ronstadt

(11) Nevada Wolf Pack
Reno, Nevada

Conference: Mountain West | Enrollment: 21,657
Mascots: Alphie, Wolfie Jr., Luna | Fight Song: "Hail to our Sturdy Team"
Official Color(s): Navy blue and silver
Notable Alumni: Colin Kaepernick, Gina Carano

(12) VCU Rams
Richmond, Virginia

Conference: Atlantic 10 | Enrollment: 22,389
Mascot: Rodney the Ram | Fight Song: "Ram Fight Song"
Official Color(s): Black and gold
Notable Alumni: Patch Adams, David Baldacci

(13) Iona Gaels
New Rochelle, New York

Conference: MAAC | Enrollment: 3621
Mascot: Killian the Gael | Fight song: "Hail to Iona"
Official color(s): Maroon and gold
Notable alumni: Don McLean, Mandy Rose, Jason Motte, Scott Machado, Tommy Dreamer, Bud Cort

(14) Grand Canyon Antelopes
Phoenix, Arizona

Conference: Western Athletic | Enrollment: 16,001
Mascot: Thunder the Antelope | Fight Song: "GCU Fight Song"
Official Color(s): Purple, black and white
Notable Alumni: Henry Cejudo

(15) UNC Asheville Bulldogs
Asheville, North Carolina

Conference: Big South | Enrollment: 3300
Mascot: Rocky the Bulldog | Fight song: "Bulldog Fight Song"
Official color(s): Royal blue and white
Notable alumni: Nick McDevitt, Ty Wigginton, Molly Burch, Kenny George

(16) Howard Bison
Washington, D.C.

Conference: MEAC | Enrollment: 9689
Mascot: Bison | Fight song: "Fight Song"
Official color(s): Navy blue and white
Notable alumni: Kamala Harris, Sean Combs, Taraji P. Henson, Stan Verrett, Toni Morrison, Thurgood Marshall

East Region

(1) Purdue Boilermakers
West Lafayette, Indiana

Conference: Big Ten | Enrollment: 43,411
Mascot: Boilermaker Special | Fight song: "Hail Purdue!"
Official color(s): Old gold and black
Notable alumni: Neil Armstrong, Gus Grissom, Orville Redenbacher, Jim Gaffigan, John Wooden, Drew Brees

(2) Marquette Golden Eagles
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Conference: Big East | Enrollment: 8,143
Mascot: Golden Eagle | Fight song: "Ring Out Ahoya"
Official color(s): Blue and gold
Notable alumni: Rick Majerus, Chris Farley, Tom Snyder, Rachel Lindsay

(3) Kansas State Wildcats
Manhattan, Kansas

Conference: Big 12 | Enrollment: 22,221
Mascot: Willie the Wildcat | Fight Song: "Wildcat Victory"
Official Color(s): Royal purple
Notable Alumni: Kirstie Alley, Erin Brockovich, Eric Stonestreet

(4) Tennessee Volunteers
Knoxville, Tennessee

Conference: Southeastern | Enrollment: 22,317
Mascot: Smokey | Fight song: "Down the Field"
Official color(s): Tennessee orange and smokey
Notable alumni: Peyton Manning, Reggie White, Candace Parker, Jason Witten, Chris Moneymaker, Lou Albano

(5) Duke Blue Devils
Durham, North Carolina

Conference: Atlantic Coast | Enrollment: 15,892
Mascot: Blue Devil | Fight song: "Fight Blue Devils"
Official color(s): Duke blue and white
Notable alumni: Adam Silver, Ken Jeong, Richard Nixon, Melinda Gates, Ron Paul, Judy Woodruff, Jay Bilas

(6) Kentucky Wildcats
Lexington, Kentucky

Conference: Southeastern | Enrollment: 22,425
Mascot: The Wildcat | Fight song: "On, On, U of K"
Official color(s): Wildcat blue
Notable alumni: Pat Riley, Ashley Judd, Wynonna Judd, Mitch McConnell, Miss Elizabeth

(7) Michigan State Spartans
East Lansing, Michigan

Conference: Big Ten | Enrollment: 50,019
Mascot: Sparty | Fight song: "Victory for MSU"
Official color(s): Green and white
Notable alumni: Magic Johnson, Le'Veon Bell, Bubba Smith, Robert Urich, Dan Gilbert, Gretchen Whitmer

(8) Memphis Tigers
Memphis, Tennessee

Conference: American | Enrollment: 20,585
Mascot: TOM | Fight song: "Go Tigers Go"
Official color(s): Blue and gray
Notable alumni: Penny Hardaway, Derrick Rose, Isaac Bruce, Antonio Gibson, DeAngelo Williams

(9) Florida Atlantic Owls
Boca Raton, Florida

Conference: Conference USA | Enrollment: 29633
Mascot: Owlsley and Hoot | Fight song: "FAU Fight Song"
Official color(s): Blue and red
Notable alumni: Tecia Torres, Devin Singletary, Don Brewer, Shannon Spake

(10) USC Trojans
Los Angeles, California

Conference: Pac-12 | Enrollment: 46,000
Mascot: Traveler | Fight song: "Tribute to Troy"
Official color(s): Gold and cardinal
Notable alumni: George Lucas, Will Ferrell, John Ritter, Neil Armstrong, Reggie Bush, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Troy Polamalu

(11) Providence Friars
Providence, Rhode Island

Conference: Big East | Enrollment: 4,298
Mascot: Friar Dom | Fight song: "When the Saints Go Marching In"
Official color(s): Providence Black, Metallic and White
Notable alumni: Doris Burke, Janeane Garofalo, Lenny Wilkens, John Thompson, Jim Larranaga

(12) Oral Roberts Golden Eagles
Tulsa, Oklahoma

Conference: Summit League | Enrollment: 5051
Mascot: Eli | Fight song: "Oral Roberts"
Official color(s): Navy blue and gold
Notable alumni: Kathie Lee Gifford, Mark Gottfried

(13) Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns
Lafayette, Louisiana

Conference: Sun Belt | Enrollment: 16225
Mascot: Cayenne | Fight song: "Fight Song"
Official color(s): Vermillion and white
Notable alumni: Ron Guidry, Elfrid Payton, Ali Landry, Jake Delhomme

(14) Montana State Bobcats
Bozeman, Montana

Conference: Big Sky | Enrollment: 14,240
Mascot: Champ | Fight song: "Stand Up and Cheer"
Official color(s): Blue and gold
Notable alumni: Craig Kilborn, Sam McCullum, Jan Stenerud

(15) Vermont Catamounts
Burlington, Vermont

Conference: America East | Enrollment: 11,898
Mascot: Rally | Fight song: "Vermont Victory"
Official color(s): Green and gold
Notable alumni: Ben Affleck, John Dewey, Martin St. Louis

(16) Fairleigh Dickinson Knights
Hackensack, New Jersey

Conference: NEC | Enrollment: 10545
Mascot: Knightro the Knight | Fight song: "Fairleigh Dickinson Fight Song"
Official color(s): Burgundy and blue
Notable alumni: John Legere, Seth Greenberg, Zygi Wilf

(16) Texas Southern Tigers
Houston, Texas

Conference: Southwestern Athletic | Enrollment:10,514
Mascot: Tiger | Fight song: "Tiger Fight Song"
Official color(s): Maroon and gray
Notable alumni: Michael Strahan, Megan Thee Stallion

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