Ranking the 10 Ugliest College Basketball Uniforms in History
College basketball isn’t always as efficient and smooth as the NBA, but more often than not there is a type of brilliance about some of the nation’s best athletes putting their talents on display for nothing more than school pride, the drive to win and the chance to cut the nets down.
But occasionally the teams just look downright ugly when they are doing it.
As companies like Nike and Adidas continue to use college athletes as pawns and walking advertisements in their never-ending quest to sell the newest/most retro/flashiest alternative jerseys and T-shirts, sometimes the uniforms are simply dreadful-looking.
Read on to see those that truly stand out as the 10 ugliest college basketball jerseys in history.
No. 10: Villanova
There may not be a college basketball uniform that better symbolizes the fashion of the 1990s in one picture than those Villanova wore during the 1994-95 campaign.
The cartoon-like font on the actual jersey is one thing, but it is the shorts that make this an abomination. The diagonal patterns and mix of approximately 750 colors was probably the main reason why the Wildcats only donned these threads for one season.
No. 9: Detroit Mercy
Detroit Mercy donned some throwback threads in December of 2011 on the night the program dedicated the court to Dick Vitale (it’s completely shocking that something outlandish and garish had to do with Vitale).
Instead of retro-looking throwbacks, fans were treated to a game featuring uniforms that looked like something out of a Renaissance Fair.
No. 8: Kentucky
Sometimes subtlety goes a long way. Putting claw marks on basketball shorts would qualify as one of those times.
Kentucky did save a little room on its shorts in the mid-'90s for its traditional blue, but the majority of the material was scratched up by the world’s largest Wildcat. Fortunately for Big Blue Nation, the Wildcats have historically had more success on the court than in the fashion department.
No. 7: Florida A&M
The green and orange color combination simply doesn’t work.
Florida A&M’s squad looks more like a group of Pokemon than a basketball team. What’s more, outside of the rubber snakes in the toy department of a store, there aren’t many bright green and orange rattlesnakes out there anyway.
No. 6: Wyoming
Not only does Wyoming don a yellow and brown combination, making the Cowboys look more like UPS delivery men than basketball players, but it is a dreary brown and yellow.
There isn’t the pop of the bright yellow of Oregon (this isn’t an endorsement of the Ducks’ catalog of space-age jerseys that are usually only appealing to 12-year-old kids, just an observation), and the entire ensemble just looks a bit sad.
No. 5: Adidas Uniforms
In February of this year Adidas trusted in the slogan any press is good press when it unveiled its modern take on the Zubaz style for six different teams.
Cincinnati, Louisville, Notre Dame, UCLA, Kansas and Baylor (the Bears are familiar with terrible jersey choices though thanks to their garish yellow uniforms that would make a highlighter blush) were all given brightly colored messes to wear for the stretch run of the season.
Seeing as how the Cardinals won the national title though, perhaps more teams will be willing to disregard their looks on the court in the future.
No. 4: Kentucky Again
Whenever one of the most iconic and storied programs in all of college sports has a chance to wear uniforms that look like blue jeans, it has to jump at the opportunity.
That is exactly what Kentucky did in the mid-'90s with these denim jerseys. Of course, that team won a national title in those repulsive uniforms, so all is forgiven among the Wildcat faithful.
No. 3: Kansas State
Purple by itself is usually a fairly stylish color (although not always on the basketball floor), but even Barney the dinosaur knows that the combination of two different shades of purple together is rough.
Kansas State tried out a two-tone look in the 1970s and early 1980s and was met with nothing more than laughter. ESPN’s Page 2 once voted these the ugliest threads in all of college sports.
No. 2: Marquette
Marquette won the 1977 national championship game over North Carolina, but anyone watching would be hard-pressed to remember the outcome because the baby blue and gold uniforms Al McGuire’s team wore were too distracting.
It wasn’t so much the color scheme as the fact that they were purposely designed to be worn untucked with the word Marquette written across the bottom. The result was a squad that looked like it was wearing baby bibs on the sport’s biggest stage.
No. 1: Marquette Again
The Pittsburgh Steelers made some headlines last season by donning bumblebee-inspired uniforms, but those looked like Yankee pinstripes compared to the eyesores Marquette wore in the early 1970s.
The best part about these uniforms was the fact that the NCAA officially banned them from use following the 1971-72 season. It was said that the jerseys were too distracting and created a “psychedelic effect” on opponents.
These ones take the top spot on our list because if something causes the NCAA to use the phrase “psychedelic effect” it deserves special recognition.
Follow and interact with college basketball writer Scott Polacek on Twitter @ScottPolacek.