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North Texas Mean Green

1. Green Eagle. Although we all know UNT as the Mean Green, the school mascot is actually Scrappy the eagle. And Scrappy he is. In 1974 (back during Vietnam, when college students used to protest war in between bong hits), the school scrapped "Scrappy" because the flower children thought his name was too warlike. They renamed him "Eppy" the Eagle. That name stuck until December 2, 1995, at the UNT vs. Alabama Crimson Tide game, when the college announced that Eppy was Scrappy once again, no doubt pleasing many-a-confused fan who'd spent two decades wondering what the hell "Eppy" even meant. As for the "Mean Green" moniker, it's usually associated with 1969 UNT graduate "Mean" Joe Greene, but there is another story that links it to a couple of jokers starting a chant at a game back in the '60s. Understandably, most Mean Green fans prefer to stand by the Joe Greene story.

2. Cannon! North Texas loves its victory cannon. It's as much a part of the UNT family as Eppy, er, Scrappy the Eagle. They love that cannon so much, he even has a name! It's Boomer. Boomer the cannon. Boomer has been blowing his explosive wad to signal touchdowns since 1970. The original Boomer was retired in 1996 when the U.S. Field Artillery Association for Texas deemed him unsafe to fire, but the school promptly had him replaced. Which means that today's Boomer, a scale replica of a Civil War model, is actually Boomer II. The Son of Boomer. Boomer Strikes Back. The Wrath of Boomer. And so forth.


3. New To Hoops. Mean Joe reps UNT's respectable football program (they also have a decent soccer team, not that Leitch cares), but the Mean Green has never really been considered a national basketball powerhouse. This is UNT's first visit to the tourney since 1988, when they lost to second-seed North Carolina, which went on to the Elite Eight that year. The NBA standout to come out of their program is probably the mighty Lee Winfield and his 7.2 PPG through seven seasons with Seattle, Buffalo and Kansas City in the early 1970s. Things are looking up, though, with the Mean Green winning their first Sun Belt Conference title this season with a 23-10 record, the most wins by any UNT team. — Mike Bruno

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