Cheerleader Showdown: College Basketball Conference Championship Edition

Zack PumerantzAnalyst IIIMarch 5, 2012

Cheerleader Showdown: College Basketball Conference Championship Edition

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    While it's usually salivating students, hungry ballers and humorous mascots that hog the college basketball spotlight, we're beginning to see a vast collection of seductive cheerleaders start to distract the cameras and clog television sets.

    Once featuring stellar ball movement and chaotic crowd intensity, the NCAA hardwood now seems to consist mainly of beautiful women dancing the night away.

    These cheerleaders are eager, sexy and fearless...a deadly combination indeed.

    Let's take a look at the sexiest cheerleaders gracing college courts.

    There's sure to be plenty of flagrant fouls.

30. We're Not in Kansas Anymore

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    Sure they finished 16-2 in the Big 12 during yet another dominating campaign, but that's not what has us keeping close eyes on the Jayhawks.

    This cameraman's ability to master his focus makes this quite an iconic shot.

    Any Kansas student's greatest memory.

29. Mama Said, Ma-Mama Said, Mama Said

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    The Gators may be 22-9, but it's their colorful in-break presentations that have us glued to the screen.

    Although these girls do seem a bit distracted by a fluffy mascot.

    Mama did say.

28. A Herd of Colorado Buffaloes

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    In only his second season at Colorado, head coach Tad Boyle led the Buffaloes to a 19-11 record and the No. 6 seed in the Pac-12.

    But with leading scorer Carlon Brown averaging only 12.2 points per game, there's clearly something else helping with team success.

    It's always the Lady Buffs.

27. Meet the Spartans

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    Now that they've fallen into a three-way tie for the Big Ten regular-season title with Michigan and Ohio State, the 24-7 Spartans are seemingly at a crossroads (albeit owning the top seed).

    Their loss to the Buckeyes was more than just demoralizing, as Branden Dawson was lost to an ACL tear.

    They'll be counting heavily on their happy-go-lucky cheer crew to distract either Illinois or Iowa in the Quarterfinals.

26. Seminoles on the Prowl

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    After winning a buzzer-beater at Virginia and beating Clemson at home to finish 12-4 in the ACC, the stealthy Seminoles seemed set for an epic tourny run.

    Florida State must be rumbling, bumbling and stumbling as they prepare for, most likely, Miami, with a potential second-round matchup against Duke.

    They seem quite confident.

25. Moving Up the Vols

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    Now that Tennessee (18-13, 10-6 SEC) has secured an opening-round bye in the SEC Tournament, they can sit back and watch their cheerleaders master the art of loyal support.

    This team seems extremely close to truly shocking the crowd.

    The Vols are good too.

24. A Deal with the Sun Devil

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    They may have stunned rival Arizona on Sunday with a 87-80 win, but the 10-20 Sun Devils must realize they didn't achieve much promise this season as they prepare for No. 7 Stanford in the Pac-12 tournament.

    Their cheerleaders clearly haven't gotten the message.

23. The Oregon Trail

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    The quacky Ducks had more than just a stellar .464 field goal percentage to lead them to a 22-8 record this year, they had beauty, bravado and an affinity for the blooper. 

    Curly hair and baffling smile intact, the third girl from the right shows fans that she's got a new style.

22. The Right to Bear Arms

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    A season-finale loss to Iowa State secured a disappointing 2-6 record against teams in the top half of the Big 12. 

    But the 25-6 Bears aren't worried, their seemingly-truant cheer squad is ready to shock the calm campus with their pleasant smiles.

    How Sweet.

21. The Wolverine State

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    Wins on the road against Illinois and Penn State gave the 13-5 Wolverines a tie with Ohio State and Michigan State for the Big 10 title. 

    But that can't possibly please Michigan more than their expected matchup against Northwestern in their first game.

    Their support crew doesn't seem too worried.

20. Hurricanes That Deliver Gold

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    For those who don't follow Tulsa, it's time to get quickly acquainted.

    Even many fans likely forget the team's 17-13 record with stars like this perusing their hardwood.

19. 'Nova and Cream Cheese

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    Unless they make a historical run at Madison Square Garden, this year could mark the first time since the 2004-05 season that the Wildcats haven't earned a spot in the NCAA Tournament.

    A rebuilding effort clearly starts with the cheerleaders, and Villanova has done a stellar job building from within.

    Now for the talent on the court.

18. Memphis, the Silent Musical

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    Peace out y'all...that's the message we're sensing here.

    While they naturally won the C-USA title and finished 13-3 in their conference, it was the Tigers' off-court beauty that had us thoroughly drooling.

    We hate long goodbyes.

17. A Certain Breed of Bulldog

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    As they prepare for Saint Mary’s in hopes of a tournament title tonight, the Gonzaga cheerleading squad will be studying film and honing their craft.

    They seem optimistic about their chances.

16. Welcome to Miami

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    It's only fitting that these South Beach cheerleaders are holding practice at the beach, as they look back on Miami's 18-11 regular-season finish.

    Those Hurricanes never fail to absorb our hearts.

15. When in Washington

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    Thanks to Cal's loss against Stanford on Sunday, the starving Huskies were given the Pac-12 conference title, yet it seems as if they do in fact have a promising unit heading into the conference tournament.

    These feisty supporters seem eager to prove doubters wrong.

14. Kentucky Fried Beauty

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    Just in case we had forgotten about the 30-1 Wildcats finishing a perfect SEC season and holding the No. 1. seed, this Kentucky girl is here to remind us.

    Either that or her kid just turned one years old and she's eager to spread the news.

13. Clemson's Grrrrreat

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    A 16-14 record may not seem impressive, but Clemson University clearly has serious talent heading into postseason play.

    But we're not sure about on the court.

12. Making the Cameron Crazies

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    While Duke finished second in the ACC (despite Saturday’s loss to North Carolina), their cheerleaders earned a fictional spot as the most fearless crew in college ball.

    We can't see her face, but this girl's voluptuous moves are viciously inspirational.

11. Rebels Runnin' Through Las Vegas

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    As they prepare to take on Air Force in their first Mountain West Conference Tournament game, the Runnin' Rebels will look to their exuberant supporters for motivation.

    With a comical smile, memorable outfit and magnetic eyes, this Rebel seems ready to will the team to numerous victories.

    The cheerleader seems excited too.

10. A Tall Mountaineer to Climb

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    We like to think of coach Bob Huggins as an energetic bear...never a boring moment with the fifth-year coach.

    He led the Mountaineers to the Final Four two years ago, can he do it again?

9. The Rare Golden Bear

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    We're beginning to feel as though Cal's loss to Stanford critically hindered their momentum heading into the Pac-12 tournament.

    But by the looks of things, the Golden Bear cheerleaders beg to differ.

8. These Toreros Never Fail

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    The bullfighters of San Diego may be 13-18, but their quiet cheer squad is among the best in college basketball.

    Not that we ever stopped following San Diego basketball.

7. Saint Mary's and Joseph

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    With the Gaels set to battle the Gonzaga Bulldogs tonight for the tournament title in what we expect to be a riveting game, they'll be counting on their flexible cheer unit to channel the right energies on the court.

    Their focus is inspirational, if not jaw-dropping.

6. Aztec Two-Step

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    San Diego State must feel quite good about their wins at Boise State and TCU, as they helped secure a second-place tie with New Mexico in the Mountain West Conference.

    These cheerleaders believe it was about heart and the will to dominate the crowd.

    They got the moves to dominate.

5. A Case of Tar Heel's Foot

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    After losing to Austin Rivers and Duke on a heart-wrenching buzzer beater last month to end North Carolina's 31-game home winning streak, the Tar Heels and their fans were naturally looking for revenge.

    Saturday night they earned that chance and went on to defeat Duke at Cameron to secure the top spot.

    They seem to be picking up steam in all facets of the game.

North Carolina Tradition

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    After being inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007, UNC head coach Roy Williams could've retired from the hardwood and taken his talents to the couch with a chilled glass of whiskey and a warm fire.

    But with cheerleaders like this, he must've figured he'd stick around for a little longer.

4. The Eyes of Tigers

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    After winning a brutal home game against Iowa State and annihilating Texas Tech, the Missouri Tigers were undoubtedly feeling good about their tournament chances.

    But not because of guard Marcus Denmon's 18.0 points per game. No, they're understandably much more focused on spotlighting their magnificent cheer squad.

    These smiles never dwindle.

Missouri a Midwestern Sensation

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    It's hard to exclude the Tigers' encore act when she has moves better than jagger.

    Even those from the east coast can't possibly contain their excitement about March Madness.

3. Cardinal Sin

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    With stout defense and an undeniable three-point prowess, the 22-9 Cardinals could be a daunting matchup for anyone.

    But as their cheerleaders naturally tantalize opponents with their vicious smiles and seductive moves, Louisville likely doesn't need to dominate in order to advance.

Louisville Slugger

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    Undoubtedly a top prospect in the upcoming cheerleader draft (no, that doesn't exist yet), this girl's got the moves to impress scouts and eventually dominate her league.

    Let's get moving on that draft.

2. High Tide in Alabama

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    The 9-7 Alabama squad must be looking forward to their David-and-Goliath matchup against the unspectacular Gamecocks in the first round of the SEC tournament on Thursday.

    We, however, are a bit more enthused about the chance to see their seductive sideline stars march back and forth with a limited dress code.

    Ok, so maybe it's mostly about the pom poms.

1. Something Is Bruin at UCLA

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    With a record of 18-13 and a scandalous reputation, UCLA basketball isn't giving fans much these days.

    But their cheerleaders haven't faded from the spotlight, as these girls seem prepped for a bright future.