College basketball’s power conferences are just opening their postseason tournaments, but many smaller schools have already punched their tickets to the Big Dance. As the Belmonts and UNC-Ashevilles of the world gear up for March Madness, they’ll look to join a grand tradition of underdogs who have made good on the game’s biggest stage.
One of the most dramatic such stories was written only a year ago, when Virginia Commonwealth became the third No. 11 seed in history to earn a spot in the Final Four. The Rams—who locked up a return trip to the NCAAs by holding off Drexel in last night’s CAA final—snuck into the tournament as one of the last at-large teams, then rampaged through the Southwest regional before finally falling in the national semis...to another Cinderella squad, eighth-seeded Butler.
Herein, a further look at the Rams, the Bulldogs and the rest of the 50 best Cinderella runs the NCAA tournament has ever seen.