Every mascot in the 2024 men’s NCAA Tournament – NBC Boston

Every March Madness gets hectic, but there’s a high chance 2024 is the most mind-boggling yet.

There are no clear favorites on the men’s side of things, where the four No. 1 seeds are UConn, Houston, Purdue and UNC.

The 2023 tournament saw then-No. 4 seed UConn prevail 76-59 over No. 5 seed San Diego State in the final, one of the lowest-seeded matchups ever in the championship game.

With the parity and unpredictability 2024 could bring, there should be extra fun involving the mascots hyping up their respective teams.

But just who are the mascots in 2024? Let’s break it down by animal category:

1. Human mascot: 10

If we’re counting human mascots as animals, then technically it has the most. But with Virginia being a First Four team, it could drop to nine.

  • No. 1 Purdue (Purdue Pete)
  • No. 4 Duke (Blue Devil)
  • No. 5 Saint Mary’s (Gael)
  • No. 7 Dayton (Rudy Flyer)
  • No. 8 Nebraska (Lil’ Red)
  • No. 9 Michigan State (Sparty)
  • No. 10 Virginia (Cav Man) [First Four team]
  • No. 11 Duquesne (Duke)
  • No. 12 McNeese (Rowdy)
  • No. 16 Stetson (John B.)

CHICAGO, IL – MARCH 17: Michigan State Spartans mascot Sparty is seen during the Big Ten Tournament championship game between the Michigan State Spartans and the Michigan Wolverines on March 17, 2019, at the United Center in Chicago, IL. (Photo by Patrick Gorski/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

2. Bird: 9

Different bird species form the second-most represented group. If Wagner loses its First Four game, then the total would drop to eight. The only unclear fit was the gamecock (South Carolina), but it falls in this category as a rooster.

  • No. 2 Iowa State (cardinal)
  • No. 2 Marquette (golden eagle)
  • No. 3 Creighton (bluejay)
  • No. 4 Kansas (jayhawk)
  • No. 6 South Carolina (gamecock)
  • No. 8 Florida Atlantic (owl)
  • No. 14 Morehead State (beaker)
  • No. 15 Saint Peter’s (peacock)
  • No. 16 Wagner (seahawk) [First Four team]

3. Bulldog/dog: 7

Combining all the dogs, there are seven teams that have it as their mascot, including live ones.

  • No. 2 Tennessee (Smokey, live)
  • No. 5 Gonzaga (Spike)
  • No. 8 Mississippi State (Bully, live)
  • No. 10 Drake (Griff, live)
  • No. 12 James Madison (Duke Dog)
  • No. 13 Samford (Spike)
  • No. 13 Yale (Handsome Dan, live)

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – MARCH 25: Gonzaga Bulldogs mascot Spike the Bulldog performs during the game against the Connecticut Huskies in the Elite Eight round of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at T-Mobile Arena on March 25, 2023, in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

4. Cougar: 6

Moving onto cougars, this is an animal represented by six teams. Montana State are the bobcats and a First Four team, so it may be cut from the list.

  • No. 1 Houston
  • No. 6 BYU
  • No. 7 Washington State
  • No. 13 Vermont (catamount, extinct)
  • No. 13 Charleston
  • No. 16 Montana State [First Four team]

T-5. Husky/Wolf: 4

Four teams have either a husky or wolf, with New Mexico being a lobo, a type of wolf.

  • No. 1 UConn
  • No. 10 Nevada
  • No. 11 New Mexico (lobo)
  • No. 11 NC State

UNCASVILLE, CONNECTICUT – DECEMBER 10: The UConn Huskies mascot performs during the game against the North Carolina Tar Heels at Mohegan Sun Arena on December 10, 2023, in Uncasville, Connecticut. (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)

T-5. Water species: 4

These four schools are represented by an animal who spends significant time in water.

  • No. 7 Florida (gators)
  • No. 9 TCU (frog)
  • No. 11 Oregon (duck)
  • No. 15 Long Beach State (shark)

T-7. Tiger: 3

Auburn and Clemson are the notable tigers in the tournament, with Grambling State a First Four team.

  • No. 4 Auburn
  • No. 6 Clemson
  • No. 16 Grambling State (First Four team)

T-7. Wildcat: 3

Wildcats rival tigers with three teams, too.

  • No. 2 Arizona
  • No. 3 Kentucky
  • No. 9 Northwestern

TAMPA, FLORIDA – MARCH 12: Kentucky Wildcats mascot against the Tennessee Volunteers in the semifinals of the Men’s SEC basketball Tournament at Amalie Arena on March 12, 2022, in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Mascots represented by two teams: 6

There are six cases in which two teams have the same mascot. Here’s the rundown, though multiple teams are competing in the First Four.

  • Horse: No. 10 Boise State (First Four), No. 16 Longwood
  • Buffalo/Bison: No. 10 Colorado (First Four), No. 16 Howard (First Four)
  • Ram: No. 1 UNC, No. 10 Colorado State (First Four)
  • Bear: No. 3 Baylor, No. 14 Oakland
  • Raiders: No. 6 Texas Tech, No. 14 Colgate
  • Aggies: No. 8 Utah State, No. 9 Texas A&M

Teams that do not share a mascot: 8

These eight schools do not share a mascot. Not all are animals, too, such as Western Kentucky’s Big Red.

  • Elephant: No. 4 Alabama
  • Badger: No. 5 Wisconsin
  • Longhorn: No. 7 Texas
  • Antelope: No. 12 Grand Canyon
  • Dragon: No. 12 UAB
  • Kangaroo: No. 14 Akron
  • Blob: No. 15 Western Kentucky
  • Jackrabbit: No. 15 South Dakota State
Western Kentucky


HUNTSVILLE, AL – MARCH 16: W\ mascot Big Red during the Conference USA Men’s Championship game between the UTEP Miners and the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers on March 16, 2024, at Propst Arena in Huntsville, Alabama. (Photo by Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Teams with no mascots: 2

No. 3 Illinois and No. 5 San Diego State do not have school-sanctioned mascots, so both fall under this category.

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