One of the biggest reasons NCAA D1 college athletics are so fun compared to that of the pro level is because of the wide variety of mascots and team names you will see. Imagine getting out of your communications class in the morning and then losing to the Demon Deacons in your Tuesday night game.
Team names are a great way for colleges to gain fans just because of their name. You can either be iconic as a basketball team based on your team’s success or based upon your team name, but if you have both, that is the best of both worlds. Let’s take a look at the top-five NCAA DI team names in basketball.
#5 Purdue Boilermakers
Some people think the Purdue Boilermakers are one of the dumbest names, but others love it. The school is known for its great engineering and its manufacturing of wins.
In 1891 after a 44-0 win against Wabash College, a writer for the Daily Argus stated, “Wabash Snowed Completely Under by the Burly Boiler Makers from Purdue.” The name stuck, and now people in West Lafayette, Indiana have a great respect for the profession. Love it or hate it, it has got to hurt when your team loses to the Boilermakers.
#4 North Carolina Tar Heels
Another classic one here, the North Carolina Tar Heels are one of the best names in all of sports. What the heck even is a Tar Heel?
The term “tar heel” was mainly derogatory, but the state of North Carolina which produced a lot of naval supplies during the Civil War embraced it. Since the 1880s, they have been called the iconic name, the Tar Heels.
#3 Youngstown State Penguins
Yes, a team from Ohio is called the Penguins, but it is a great name. Youngstown State is the lone DI team to rock the name, led by their mascot, Pete the Penguin.
In the year 1933, the magic began with the Penguin name. After the basketball team made a trip to West Virginia with the heat not operating on the bus, the joke came about. The joke quickly turned into reality and the rest is history.
#2 Hawaii Rainbow Warriors
The Hawaii Rainbow Warriors were very close to cracking the top spot in this prestigious list. For now, however, they must settle for the silver medal. For a team so isolated from the rest of their friends on the mainland United States, they sure deserve to have a great school name.
Reportedly, all of the athletic teams have a much better win record when a rainbow appears in the sky. If rainbows help that much, why not put it in the team name?
#1 Lousiana Ragin’ Cajuns
A great nod to the state of Louisiana and a team name that rhymes. Great work by the University of Louisiana. They are not one of the most well-known or successful programs, but you should still fear going up against a Ragin’ Cajun.
In 1960, Louisiana changed their team name from the Bulldogs, and now they get the top spot on this list which is not up for debate. So, do you agree with the list, or did we miss any of your favorite schools?