With the NCAA set to commence on Thursday, most of the talk will surround Kansas quest to win a second national title in three years, Kentucky trying to reach its first Final Four in 12 years, can Syracuse rebound from two losses to end the regular season and Duke returning to its first Final Four since 2004.
The lost heroes of those teams are the cheerleaders that try stir up their teams' fans and help inspire their teams to victory. They work just as hard as the teams they cheer on and in some cases receive scholarships and are considered athletes just like the players that don jerseys.
Compiling the list was not easy. Every school has at least one hot cheerleader that deserves mention. The ones that are posted I am sure are the dreams of many young men (and even some not so young ones) on campuses across the country.
Not every school has a Hollywood idol. UK grad Ashley Judd has been cheering on her Wildcats for many years.
A year ago, everyone was wondering what happened to Kentucky basketball. Cheerleaders like this fiery supporter are excited that the Wildcats have returned to the nation's elite quickly. They are excited to see possibly the best freshmen class college basketball has seen since the Fab Five in 1992. John Calipari, John Wall and company has brought back the luster for Big Blue Nation.
The stereotype on BYU and Mormons is once of chaste and innocence. That definitely doesn't preclude them from having gorgeous women. The Cougars will play on Thursday and Saturday. They will also have to play in a region that plays the Sweet 16 and Regional Final on Thursday/Saturday. The school doctrine and Mormon Church prohibits them from playing on Sunday.
Watch out for BYU Sharp Shooter Jimmer Fredette. He average over 21 points per game, shoots nearly 45 percent from three point range, had seven games with at least 30 and two over 40 points this season.
Bruce Pearl has helped restore the interest in Tennessee Men's basketball on Rocky Top. Equal rights take on a new meaning in Knoxville. Watching Pearl's teams are fun with their high octane offense. During timeouts there are also plenty of opportunity to check out the beautiful women on the Tennessee sideline.
After advancing to the national championship game last season, Michigan State has a much tougher road as a five seed this year. After starting the year 19-3. Michigan State seemed to be every bit the team they were in 2009. The Spartans make only a third of their shots and are very balanced with four players averaging in double figures.
When Bob Huggins was exiled from Cincinnati, he landed in Manhattan, Kansas. He bolted after only one season for his Alma Mater West Virginia. Frank Martin has done an amazing job as his successor and the cheerleaders have their biggest reason to cheer since Mitch Richmond led the Wildcats to the Regional Final in 1988.
Frank Martin replaced Huggins and the Wildcats have had their best season in 22 years. Guards Denis Clemente and Jacob Pullen pace the K-State attack.
Ohio State won the impressive double-double in the Big Ten season by capturing the regular season and Big Ten Tournament titles. They will play in the heart of Big Ten Country in Milwaukee, easily drivable from Columbus. David Lighty is the lone significant hold over from their Buckeyes national runner-up team from 2007. OSU enters the tournament on a seven game winning streak and have won 13 out of 14 overall.
They are led by Big Ten Player of the Year and National Player of the Year candidate Evan Turner.
After winning the Pac-Ten's regular season(their first outright since 1953) and earning a number four seed in 2009, Washington had an up and down regular season this year. Washington posted only a 4-7 record on the road. They got hot at the right time and won the Pac-Ten tournament to earn the school's 11th NCAA Appearance.
As is the case with the Lorenzo Romar era, the Huskies are led by their strong perimeter game. Isaiah Thomas and Quincy Pondexter combine for 37 points per game.
Melissa is a junior from Hoover, Ala. that will cheer on Duke's stellar triumvirate of Jon Scheyer, Nolan Smith and Kyle Singler.
Amazingly Duke has gone six years without appearing in the Final Four. Since making his first appearance in 1986 (and then advanced to the F4 in five straight years from 1988-92) this is the longest stretch Duke has gone without making it back to the dance. Those three make up 68 percent of Duke's scoring, 34 percent of their rebounding, 73 percent of their assists and 58 percent of their steals.
Under Jay Wright, Villanova has become a mainstay in the NCAA Tournament. The Wildcats are making their sixth consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament are are coming off their first Final Four trip since 1985. As has been the norm in the Wright era, 'Nova is led by their outstanding backcourt. Scottie Reynolds and Corey Stokes and Corey Fisher fuel the Wildcats.
The Beach Boys once sang "I wish they all could be California Girls" The Aztec dance team definitely shows that almost over 40 years later that California women are still among the hottest in the country.
They will be trying to cheer on SDSU to its first ever NCAA Tournament win. Steve Fisher who won an improbable National Title at Michigan in 1989 is taking the Aztecs to its third tournament appearance in 11 seasons.
The so called experts always ask how battle tested a team is in getting to the tournament. San Diego State upset Mountain West Conference regular season champion and then UNLV on its home floor to win the MWC tournament.
Famous Alums Steven Stasburg and Marshall Faulk will be watching to see if their alma mater can win.
The Bulldogs wound up in the NIT after Kentucky tied the game on a shot relased by Demarcus Cousins with a tenth of a second remaining in the game. Although they didn't make the NCAA Tournament, they probably should have with cheerleaders like this.
MSU Center Jarvis Varnado is the NCAA Career leader in blocked shots.
Louisville enters the 2010 NCAA Tournament with Elite Eight Appearances in the last two NCAA Tournaments. The 2010 season wasn't as successful for the Cardinals as 2008 and 2009. Edgar Sosa and Jerry Smith are the only remnants from one of the best recruiting classes in Louisville history. Earl Clark left for the NBA after last season and Derrick Caracter was kicked off the team and subsequently transferred to Texas-El Paso.
Smith, Sosa and Samardo Samuels will be the keys if Louisville advances. The play Pac-10 Champion California in the first round. The Bears shoot the ball extremely well. If they survive and advance they would most likely match up with Duke in the second round in Jacksonville.
Clemson enters the NCAA Tournament for the third year in a row and still looking for its first win since 1997. The Tigers finished fifth in the ACC are a led by Forward Trevor Booker. Booker led the team in scoring, rebounding and field goal percentage.
The Tigers were upset by Miami in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. They matchup with another Tigers, Missouri in the first round this year. Both schools like to press and play up-tempo. The game itself should be one of the more entertaining games of the first round. Watching Clemson's dance team should certainly add to that.
Steve Alford left Iowa for the southwest, much like Lute Olson did in 1983. It remains to be seen if he can build Iowa in the power that Lute Olson built Arizona into. The Lobos had one of their best seasons ever in 2010. They set a school record for wins and earned their highest seed ever.
The Lobos thrive with balance scoring (four players average in double figures) and are led by Mountain West Player of the Year Darrington Hobson. Hobson led the Lobos in scoring, rebounding and assists and shot 38 percent from three point range. UNM is making its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2005.
Rock Chalk Jayhawk always has reason to be excited during basketball season. With Arizona missing its first NCAA Tournament since 1984, Kansas has inherited the nations longest NCAA Tournament streak at 21. The Jayhawks are only six away from tying North Carolina's all-time record at 27.
They will try to win their second NCAA tournament championship in three years. Holdovers Sherron Collins and Cole Aldrich have put Kansas on top of the rankings with Kentucky for the majority of the season. Collins, Aldrich and reserve Brady Morningstar were all a part of the 2008 National Championship team. Four players average in double figures and freshman Xavier Henry ranks among the nation's best.
The Beach Boys liked the Northern Girls for keeping their boyfriends warm at night. The Syracuse dance team definitely warms up the Carrier Dome in the winter. Syracuse set an an NCAA on campus record of 34,616 earlier this season against Villanova.
This year was one of Jim Boeheim's best coaching jobs ever. Boeheim won the Big East Coach of the Year after guiding the Orange to the regular season title. They lost stars Jonny Flynn, Paul Harris and Eric Devendorf early to the NBA.
Iowa State transfer Wesley Johnson and sixth man Scoop Jardine have filled in more than capably for Boeheim. The Orange lack significant depth, but have unbelievable balance. Seven players average at least eight points per game. They are a great shooting team and hold opponents to 39 percent from the floor.
A hottie from Vandy gives you the added bonus of knowing that these women are attending one of the best schools of higher education in the entire country.
The commodores had a quietly good season that earned them the fourth seed in the West. Senior guard Jermaine Beal and Junior Center A.J. Ogilvy lead their attack. Their aren't an extremely deep team but have nice size.
Jamie Dixon did perhaps his best coaching job since taking over for Ben Howland. The Panthers were a number one seed in 2009 and fell one game short of the Final Four. They were supposed to have a down year in 2010.
Sophomore Ashton Gibbs, Senior Jermaine Dixon and Junior Gilbert Brown have been the catalysts for Pitt despite losing a lot of star power after last season.
One website that compiled rankings of the schools with hottest women ranked the University of Florida number three in the country. It's hard to argue that with this pictures.
The Gators are making their first appearance in dance since winning back to back titles in 2006 and 2007.
This team bares no resemblance to the domination those teams had. The Gators are not very deep and like many of this year's teams, thrive in balance. Five players average between 10.6 and 13.5 ppg. Freshman Kenny Boyton is a future star, Erving Walker has settled into his point guard position and up front, Vernon Macklin, Alex Tyus and Chandler Parsons are all capable of big games and big shots.
Billy Donovan looks to build on the Gators 12 game NCAA Tournament streak.
Its going be hard for Gonzaga to bust out against FSU's tough defense. The Seminoles hold opponents to 37.6 percent from the field.
The 'Noles are big across the frontline with no one smaller than 6-8 and Xavier Gibson 6'11 off the bench. Sophomores Soloman Alabi and Chris Singleton are 7'1 and 6'9 and Leonard Hamilton's leading scores are tough on the boards.
Old Dominion is a Mid-Major that bears watching. Whitney loves cheering on her monarchs and was a cheerleader of the week.
The Colonial Athletic Association is one of the best Mid-Major conference and sent the Ultimate NCAA Cinderella, George Mason to the Final Four in 2006.
ODU thrives on defense, rebounding and balance. Forward Gerald Lee is the only Monarch that averages in double figure. He puts up 14.6 PPG and shoots better than 54 percent from the field. Five other players average between seven and nine points per game.
Coach Blaine Taylor is still looking for his first NCAA Tournament victory in his fifth appearance.
Scott Drew has rescued Baylor from the Abyss of College Basketball. They were almost an afterthought when tragedy struck in 2003. In Drew's first season, the Bears were only allowed to compete in conference games.
He has since taken them from an also ran program that very nearly got the death penalty to a number three seed in this year's tournament.
The Bears are extremely big and athletic. The starting five features 6'4 shooting guard Lacedarius Dunn and and frontline that goes 6'10, 6'10 and 7'0 across the front.
Dunn and point guard Tweety Carter lead a high octane offense and Michigan transfer Ekpe Udoh is a force inside. Udoh puts up 13.4 ppg, 9.8 rpg, 2.6 apg, 4.1 blocks per night. Carter and Dunn both shoot over 80 percent from the free throw line.
The Bears average 77 points per game and bring in star Quincy Acy off the bench. They had seven quality wins during the season, but will be looking for the school's first NCAA Tournament win since 1950. They lost to Purdue in their last appearance in 2008.
Enters the the 2010 NCAA Tournament with mixed emotions. The advanced to the Sweet 16 in 2009 before losing to eventual regional champion Connecticut. They will be missing star forward Robbie Hummel who is out for the season after suffering a knee injury in February.
Two thirds of their big three remain. The Boilermakers are going to have to lean heavily on center JuJuan Johnson and guard E-Twuan Moore for any sustained run this year.
With a brutal first round matchup against Siena, Purdue seems to be the trendy pick to be the first high seed to fall this year.
When Bob Huggins was fired from Cincinnati, the Bearcats fans were outraged about his ouster and thought that the UC President didn't have a leg to stand on. After one outstanding season at Kansas State, Huggy Bear left Manhattan for his Alma Mater.
He now has the Mountaineers on the verge of becoming an elite program. DeSean Butler led the WVU to the Big East Tournament title. His two baskets in the last five second in their quarterfinal and championship wins will become legendary. Butler is a star and as the MVP of the Big East Tournament.
Kevin Jones, Devin Ebanks and Darryl Bryant also average in double figures.
Maryland is driven by 2010 ACC Player of the Year Greveis Vazquez. Clark Kellogg would call him a stat sheet stuffer. The 6'6 Senior averaged 19.6 ppg, 6.3 apg. The Terrapins have good size with no one in the top six in the rotation shorter than 6'4.
They tied Duke for the ACC Championship, their first since their 2002 National Championship season.