Best Cinderella Stories in NCAA Tournament History

Five of the Best Cinderella Stories in NCAA Tournament History 
What makes March the Maddest? Cinderella Stories do, right? The tournament deep run surprise team emerges as if the stars align for one team. This is how it would be for the Gonzaga Bulldogs in the 1998-1999 season. From Spokane, Washington, the fans will always remember how they beat Minnesota, then Stanford, then Florida. By the quarter finals they had to end their fairy tale run with a defeat to the eventual champions, Connecticut. This run had come after never being in a NCAA Tournament except for a one and done in 1995.

The previously unknown Gulf Coast team from Florida, the Eagles, began their run in 2013 at the Atlantic Sun champs. The Eagles were the underdog that the crowd glommed onto as they applied a game plan that would not quit while they proceeded to put the Georgetown heavy favorites away, lead by Otto Porter Junior. The name ‘Dunk City,’ was penned as the Eagles shoved them aside with their airborne style, flying their way to a 78 to 68 route over Georgetown. Reaching the Sweet sixteen as the first number 15 seed, they made Cinderella history.

Davidson, of North Carolina, the stomping ground of NCAA March Madness, was showing their upstart potential by narrowly losing to the famous Duke Blue Devils and the UNC Tarheels earlier in the 2007-08 season. They went on a tear, being undefeated for 22 games leading up to the Southern Conference meet. Seeded as number ten, with nothing to lose and no media hype, they reached the Elite Eight after trouncing Gonzaga, Georgetown, and Wisconsin. A star was born as Steph Curry made 19 three-pointers, capturing hearts everywhere. Curry and Davidson were finally stopped by the 2007-08 Champions on their way to the top, the Kansas Jayhawks.

A highly ridiculed seed in the 2010-11 season was The Rams of VCU. Pundits were mystified by the NCAA Selection Sunday antics. By choosing VCU based on lack luster credentials, the choice was creating jokes by commentators of ESPN. Someone knew something that the experts did not as VCU showed up for their first three games, burying hopes of big teams such as USC, Georgetown and Purdue, arriving at their first Sweet Sixteen. They took Florida to overtime, finally, duking it out to win. After that, The Rams sent shockwaves throughout the B-ball world by defeating Kansas. Their Cinderella run came to a halt in the semifinals in a loss to Butler.

Finally, the George Mason Patriots must be noted as the team that blew everyone away in their unsuspecting manner in 2005-06 season. As the eleventh seed, they began with a quiet but impressive record of being in the top 25 that season. Having been selected because of this, yet still causing negative vibes from doubters about the validity of their qualifications, they proceeded to mow down their opponents such as Michigan State, the Defending Champion Tarheels, Wichita State and UConn. Randy Gay got noticed in this run and eventually was drafted to the NBA, after he lead George Mason to the Final Four that year where they were stopped by the Florida Gators, the two time National Champions. This was not just the Cinderella story of the season, it was the most or one of the most memorable Cinderella stories in the entire NCAA Championship history.

The adrenaline levels are always enormously high for all who are fortunate enough to be selected with their team to compete in the NCAA championships. The event calls on the deepest commitment in each and every player so that magic happens, in particular, it happens for one special team in some very special moments.