This is the college basketball analysis you didn't know you needed until now.
We analyzed all 351 NCAA men's basketball teams that competed at the Division I level last season and categorized each team's nickname into one of the following 16 categories:
- People (Mountaineers, Pioneers, Highlanders, Colonials, etc.)
- Fighters (Spartans, Raiders, Pirates, Buccaneers, Vikings, etc.)
- Cats (Wildcats, Tigers, Lions, etc.)
- Dogs (Bulldogs, Huskies, Terriers, etc.)
- Birds (Eagles, Cardinals, Hawks, Falcons, etc.)
- Bears (Grizzlies, Bruins, etc.)
- Horses (Broncos, Mustangs, Mavericks, etc.)
- Wolves (Wolfpack, Lobos, Coyotes, etc.)
- Other Animals (Wolverines, Gators, Horned Frogs, etc.)
- Insects (Hornets, Yellow Jackets, etc.)
- Mythology (Demons, Titans, etc.)
- Weather (Cyclones, Waves, Flames, etc.)
- Miscellaneous (Blue Hose, Rockets, Ragin' Cajuns, etc.)
A quick disclaimer: Some schools have a mascot that doesn't match up with their nickname, like Alabama with an elephant mascot or Stanford with a tree mascot, so we're strictly looking a school's nickname (the Crimson Tide or the Cardinal) for this story.
Our goal? To find out which of the groups listed above – both collectively and pound-for-pound – was the strongest last season.
Here's what we found: Cats, birds and fighters were collectively the three winningest mascots. It's not surprising that some of the more niche nickname types, like Aggies, Rams and Insects had fewer combined wins.
The chart below lists the number of teams in each type of nickname, total wins, losses, regular season conference championships, conference tournament championships, NCAA tournament bids and NCAA tournament wins.
|Type||teams||Wins||losses||reg. season||conf. tourney||ncaaT bids||NCAAT Wins|
Here were the most successful teams, grouped by nickname type, last season on a per-team basis, meaning we took the groups totals listed above and divided by the number of teams in each category.
|type||wins||losses||ncaa tournament wins|
While there isn't a single DI men's basketball team with the nickname of "Wolves," there are the Wolf Pack, Wolfpack, Ramblers and Seawolves, among others, and when you average the wins that group collectively won, the numbers are pretty impressive.
Loyola Chicago won 32 games, including four in the NCAA tournament during a Final Four run, and Nevada won 29 games and two in the tournament. We also included the South Dakota Coyotes, who were 26-game winners in the Summit League last season.