College basketball team nickname bracket: Day 2 of first-round voting is open
It’s Day 2 of the College Basketball Team Nickname Bracket, and the Strange & Quirky Region is open for voting. Herein lie the names that send you running to Google to figure out what they’re supposed to mean.
On Tuesday, we opened the voting with the Friendly & Funny Region. There’s still one more day to vote there, so head over if you haven’t made your picks.
Check out the matchups below and cast your votes. Voting will be open until 3 p.m. ET on Sunday. (Click here for a full-size version of the full bracket.)
No. 1 Shockers vs. No. 16 Mocs
Thanks to Wichita State’s recent runs of success, the luster of the Shockers nickname may have worn off for some of you, but it’s still a strong contender for the title. The name refers to the practice of harvesting — or shocking — wheat, a common pastime in the plains of Kansas and something old WSU players used to do for money.
Mocs! It does not refer to moccasins but is actually short for mockingbird. It’s the state bird of Tennessee, where the school is located, and the school website says a Moc “is a champion on the playing surface, in the classroom and, most importantly, in life.” Butch Jones would be proud.
No. 9 Tar Heels vs. No. 8 Ramblers
You know the Tar Heels well. The origin of their name may not be so familiar. It likely dates back to the Revolutionary War and probably has a very literal meaning, possibly referring to British soldiers getting the sticky substance — North Carolina’s biggest export at the time — on their shoes as they trudged around.
In the 1920’s Loyola’s football teams traveled — or “rambled” all around for their games. The name stuck and is undoubtedly unique and cool, even if a little lacking in creativity.
No. 5 Blue Hose vs. No. 12 Horned Frogs
Presbyterian will be a true test of how weird you all are. Can a pair of socks make a run in this tourney? Kudos to the Blue Hose for choosing “Hose” instead of “Sox” to mix things up a little. The school insists that this also honors “fierce Scottish warriors.” Come on, just embrace the socks.
According to this L.A. Times article, TCU opted for Horned Frogs after students in the late 19th century saw a bunch of the critters hanging around practice one day. But the animal they saw — and the one depicted in the school logo — is technically a horned lizard, not a frog. Will you reward or punish them for their embrace of biological inaccuracy?
No. 13 Jaspers vs. No. 4 Billikens
Manhattan’s Jaspers honor one of the school’s most prominent figures — Brother Jasper of Mary, F.S.C. Brother Jasper was pretty much the Nick Saban of the 19th century Manhattan extracurricular scene. He founded the school’s first band and glee club, coached the baseball team and became the school’s first athletic director.
Saint Louis boasts one of the most lovably weird nicknames of them all with the Billikens, a “mythical good-luck figure who represents ‘things as they ought to be.'” The beastly-looking baby also provides one of the quirkier logos in college sports.
No. 3 Gamecocks vs. No. 14 Sooners
You don’t need a Google search to know what a gamecock is, still it’s impressive that two schools — South Carolina, of course, and the lesser-known Jacksonville State — opted for a prize-fighting rooster for their team nickname. And you’ll get to watch the Jacksonville State version in this year’s NCAA Tournament.
The Sooners is another name paying homage to local citizens. When the Oklahoma Territory was opened for settlement in the 1800s, a gun shot used to signify the start of a new Land Run. If you left before the gun, you were dubbed a “sooner,” and the name came to signify “energetic, ‘can-do’ individuals.” But can they handle an angry rooster?
No. 11 Hoosiers vs. No. 6 Zips
Another regional term burned into the national consciousness thanks to sports, Hoosiers might be the most iconic of them all. It was likely a term of derision back in the day for people from the Indiana area, but after years of basketball successes and a classic movie about a small-town high school team, it’s now anything but.
Akron does rubber, so of course the university’s sports teams pay homage to that. The name is a shortened version of Zippers, which was the name of a popular rubber shoe in the 1920s.
No. 7 Seawolves vs. No. 10 Mean Green
It’s a wolf, but like, in the water. The Stony Brook website says the Seawolf is a “mythical sea creature … said to bring good luck to all those fortunate enough to see it.” I should hope so.
North Texas’ rhyming, colorful nickname came about after a fearsome football defensive unit in the 1960s was given the nickname “Mean Green.” The name stuck, even to one of the players on that defensive unit — “Mean” Joe Greene. Greene’s personal version of the nickname didn’t take hold until he had reached the NFL.
No. 15 Hatters vs. No. 2 Ragin’ Cajuns
Stetson carries the name of John B. Stetson, maker of the famous Stetson hats. Thus, the Hatters.
“A Ragin’ Cajun is not a person or an animal, but a feeling that describes our unique way of life,” says the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s website. Unique indeed, and a strong contender to come out of this region.
Coming Thursday: Voting for the first round in the Strong & Virtuous Region.