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The gayest mascots in the NCAA basketball tournament

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Bulging biceps, six-pack abs and a fashion sense make the difference.

The NCAA men's basketball tournament kicks off Tuesday with the start of play-in games, and the event really takes off Thursday with the start of 32 first-round games over two days. It all leads up to the championship game April 6. There will be the players and coache, along with the cheerleaders, bands and -- best of all -- the mascots.

Some mascots are obscure (what the hell is a Jasper?), some are literal (Georgia's is a real bulldog) but all are colorful and add spice to the event. For the Patriots-Seahawks Super Bowl, I looked at the three gayest logos in NFL history. Now with March Madness, let's do the same with the "gayest" mascots in the 68-team tournament.

Since I got in trouble with some people over the gayest NFL logos, let me be clear: I am a proud gay man and this list is all in good fun. Marginalized groups have always been allowed to joke about the stereotypes the mainstream has about them. My dad loved nothing more than a good Polish joke, but only fellow "Skis" were allowed to tell them. In this case, I don't think there's anything wrong with being gay, so a "gay" mascot is pretty cool to me.

Here is my list after looking at the field.

Feel free to add yours in the comments.

Michigan State
Sparty, Michigan State: Those abs, those quads, that skirt.

Purdue

Purdue Pete. This is from circa 1996. Pete's got some guns on him and I love the short-shorts.

Wyoming
Pistol Pete, Wyoming. A true Brokeback Cowboy, he's packing heat around his waist. Love the leather chaps and matching vest. He can't quit you.

UC Irvine

Peter Anteater, UC-Irvine. Our third Pete in a row. From the school's website: "Over the years, the mascot's had multiple makeovers, moving from cuddly oversize fur ball to the tough, buff anteater with biceps he is today." He lives in SoCal so he has to look good.

Xavier
D'Artagnan, Xavier. He wears a hat with a feather, a cape and he's French -- gay!

Ohio State
Brutus, Ohio State. He's adorkable! Brutus is a total cutie and confident enough to pull off that shirt with those pants.

Duke 1950s


Duke 2015
Duke, two mascots -- top from the 1950s (thanks Cyd!) and bottom from today. The older Devil  sure could wield a pitchfork, though he's on the skinny side. Today's version looks like he does CrossFit in comparison.

Photos: Duke, Michigan State, Ohio State, Xavier and Wyoming by Getty Images and USA TODAY.