UC Irvine is in the dance for the first time as a Division I basketball program. Congratulations, Anteaters. Wait, Anteaters?
Let's quickly run down UC Irvine as a basketball team: They're a Cinderella who won the Big West title over Hawaii, and they'll play their first game against Louisville. They sound like an ideal shocker, but they'll probably lose, because even though the upset would be neat, it's highly unlikely that Rick Pitino's Cardinals would screw up their first game that badly. Hey, root for those Anteaters anyway.
UC Irvine's led in scoring by senior forward Will Davis II, who scored 12.9 points per game this season with a .541 field goal percentage. If you're more interested in athletic trees, however, the squad also has Mamadou N'diaye, the tallest player in college basketball. The 7-foot-6 center sat out 19 games because of injury, but in the time he's played, he's averaged 10.4 points per game, 5.1 rebounds per game, and 1.7 blocks per game.
With his reach, N'diaye can ruin shots on anyone foolish enough to drive on him:
On the other hand, N'diaye is also a candidate to get his ass dunked on in highly embarrassing fashion:
Whether he's blocking shots or getting posterized, that gigantic man is a good bet to provide us with a memorable highlight or two.
Okay, that's enough about the actual basketball team. Let's talk anteaters. The school was apparently inspired by the anteater in the comic strip B.C., which is odd but creative. College basketball doesn't need another Wildcat or Bulldog.
The current rendition of Peter the Anteater looks to be using anteater growth hormone:
The current version of Peter also sucks when compared to the 1980 Anteater:
That anteater rules. It's some mook—probably named Derek—in sunglasses, lounging on a few chairs. "Huh? Oh, yeah. Go team. Let's get some brewskies." What a chill anteater.
Now, look at 1994's anteater:
Why does an anteater need rollerblades? Who knows? It's California. They do weird things in that broke-ass state. The point is, these are both excellent anteaters, and the incumbent mascot is trying too hard to be fierce. Scrap him and go back to the cool sociology major wearing sunglasses.
Let's end with the real deal. Here's a video of a giant anteater. Did you know they have claws? I did not:
Top photo: AP