Top 10 mascots in college basketball

With the 2014-15 season right around the corner, it's time for a week's worth of top 10 lists to get you excited for the season.

Today's topic: The all-important best mascots in the game. Players change. Coaches come and go. Even arenas and courts get new looks. But mascots, for better or worse, are forever.

For example, you, Kansas State fans, may long for a full-bodied mascot. Alas, you are stuck with a male cheerleader wearing a Wildcat bobblehead.

And so the top 10:

Michigan State's Sparty

Sparty is the mascot bomb -- intimidating but friendly, tough but entertaining, chiseled but cuddly, a real Renaissance man. And he gets bonus points for having a slight resemblance to Tom Izzo.

Butler's Butler Blue

He wears a cool sweater, travels and, despite both a severe drooling problem and no opposable thumbs, runs his own Twitter account, @ButlerBlue3. Best of all, he comes to indoor games. Apparently, he and Georgetown's Jack the Bulldog are the only housebroken mascots.

Stanford's Tree

Ordinarily we'd think the Tree had jumped the shark with its irreverence toward all things mascot, but then Stanford went and debuted a deranged palm tree this year. Already sporting a Miley Cyrus-esque tongue, it just needs her creepy teddy bear onesie to win the season.

Syracuse's Otto the Orange

On his own merits, we might vote Syracuse's Otto the Orange No. 1. When he does his forward roll, it almost warms the heart enough to make a person forget it's February and she's in Syracuse. Almost.

Tulsa's Captain Cane

For those old enough to remember Captain Caveman, you can almost hear the hero's call in your head, which makes the Golden Hurricane's Buzz Lightyear look-alike an instant favorite. The fact that he's a hero named after a hurricane is utterly nonsensical and entirely genius.

Wisconsin's Bucky the Badger

Is it the parallelogram-shaped head or the fancy striped sweater that gets us? OK, it's both.

Saint Joseph's Hawk

The Hawk's version of hell? Multiple overtimes because he must keep flapping. We applaud both his durability and ability to meld the iconic fan chant -- "The Hawk will never die" -- with a bird costume.

Stephen F. Austin's Lumberjack

The Lumberjack, who sports a mullet, suspenders and a plaid shirt, is one Members Only jacket away from a 1980s costume party. He narrowly beats out the San Diego State Aztec for honors among the brave college men who dress up in public to support their teams.

Tennessee's Smokey

It would be better if the Vols brought the real dog to the arena (see Butler), where his howl could rival the West Virginia Mountaineer gunshot as the most intimidating indoor sound. But at least the oversized, fluffy Bluetick hound costume is cute.

Saint Louis' Billiken

If the creators of "Monsters, Inc." really wanted to come up with a critter that would haunt children's dreams, they would have included the Billiken. He's so utterly terrifying that he's amusing.