There many fun team names in the field for the 2017 NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament. Below are my favorites, with links (click images or marks) to their USPTO trademark records.

To me, the most interesting team names are the ones that are unique and quirky. Names like Eagles (North Carolina Central), Widlcats (Kansas State, Villanova), Tigers (Princeton), aren’t nearly as exciting.

Names that are used by more than one school in the tournament were automatically disqualified (Gaels, Gamecocks, Wildcats, and more).

Also note that this list is entirely subjective!

Note that a few have not properly protected their trademarks, which is shocking given the amount of money involved in televising tournament, the apparel and other promotional merchandise sold by every team, and that these are institutions of higher education. 


Wake Forest Demon Deacons – the history of the Demon Deacon

New Orleans Privateers (unregistered) – a ‘privateer’ is an armed ship owned and officered by private individuals holding a government commission and authorized for use in war, especially in the capture of enemy merchant shipping.

Minnesota Golden Gophers – from Wikipedia: The University Mascot is derived from a nickname for the state of Minnesota, “The Gopher State.” The original design was based on the thirteen-lined ground squirrel.

Iowa State Cyclones – the nick name dates back to the 1890’s

Purdue Boilermakers  – very unique and distinctive

Vermont Catamounts – a catamount is a large wild cat.

South Dakota State Jackrabbits – on the one hand they are rabbits, on the other hand they sound vicious

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Dayton Flyers – an homage to the Wright brothers, who are from Dayton.

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Wichita State Shockers – a reference to harvesting wheat

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Northern Kentucky Norse (no registration) – short for Norsemen

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Kent State Golden Flashes – unique, even if it doesn’t have a history behind it

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Here are some of the overall NCAA trademarks related to basketball (click for USPTO information):

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