It seems the higher the seed number in the NCAA men's basketball tournament, the more unique the nickname. But high school mascots are still the best.

I saw notes on Twitter about some of the more unusual nicknames for teams battling in the NCAA tournament. It got me thinking about the variety of mascots that have fought for Minnesota state titles over the past month. USA Today has run a national contest over the past few years to find the best high school nickname. The Blooming Prairie Awesome Blossoms were in the contention to be the Minnesota pick in that one a couple of years ago.

NCAA tournament mascots of note (along with the school's seed)

  • North Florida Ospreys (lost in a No. 16 seed play-in first-round game)
  • Coastal Carolina Chantileers (No. 16)
  • Lafayette Leopards (No. 16)
  • Manhattan Jaspers (also lost a No. 16 play-in game)
  • North Dakota State Bison (No. 15)
  • Albany Great Danes (No. 14)
  • California-Irvine Anteaters (No. 13)
  • Iowa State Cyclones (No. 2)

The following Minnesota high school teams have played in one of the recent state tournaments.

  • Thief River Falls Prowlers
  • Edina Hornets
  • Mahtomedi Zephyrs
  • Duluth East Greyhounds
  • Bemidji Lumberjacks
  • Battle Lake Battlers
  • Breckenridge Cowboys
  • Melrose Area Dutchmen
  • St. Paul Johnson Governors
  • East Grand Forks Green Wave
  • DeLaSalle Islanders
  • Esko Eskomos
  • Roseau Rams
  • Sauk Centre Main Streeters

This list includes the USA Today's 2014 high school nickname contest top finishers.

  • Centralia, Ill., Orphans (champion for the second straight year)
  • Terryville, Conn., Kangaroos
  • St. Mary's Episcopal of Memphis Turkeys
  • Bray, Okla., Donkeys
  • Chinook, Mont., Sugarbeeters
  • Yuma, Ariz., Criminals
Melrose Area mascot, Hans the Dutchman