March Madness 2012: Power Ranking Top Potential Cinderellas
Cinderella may not be obvious at first, but after a couple of big wins, she shines brighter than her glass slippers.
This NCAA tournament field has its fair share of upsets in the making from which Cinderellas are born.
Year after year, many people fill out their brackets by giving the edge to the higher seeds. And year after year, many people have brackets covered with red marks after the first round.
Don't let this year be that kind of year.
Although there are going to be plenty of upsets in the Big Dance, let's take a look at one potential Cinderella from each region.
4. East Region: No. 12 Harvard Crimson
There is almost always a No. 12 upsetting a No. 5 each tournament.
Harvard and Vanderbilt may be this year's case.
How ironic for the Commodores to call themselves the Harvard of the South, since they will have to face off against the real Harvard in its first game of the tournament.
It may have been way earlier in the year, but Harvard did knock off the Florida State Seminoles. If the Crimson can beat FSU, it can certainly beat Vanderbilt.
Harvard is not a high-scoring team by any means, with only two players averaging double-digits.
But why not this team? What a great story it would make, considering Harvard has not been to the dance since 1946.
A win over Vandy could spark a Crimson run in a region with a weakened No. 1 seed in the Fab Melo-less Syracuse Orange.
3. Midwest Region: No. 7 Saint Mary's Gaels
Saint Mary's made the Sweet 16 just two years ago.
The Gaels have a great shot at beating Purdue in the first round. They will then most likely have to play No. 2 Kansas, but Saint Mary's beat a No. 2 seed in 2010 as a No. 10 seed, so it could happen again.
Matthew Dellavedova leads the team with 15.6 points per game and 6.4 assists per game. The Dova may not be the flashiest player in the world, and he certainly is not fast, but he finds ways to drive to the hoop and knocks down clutch three-pointers every game.
Don't forget about Rob Jones and Stephen Holt either, as both are capable of taking over for this team.
Saint Mary's may not beat you in the paint, but when they start to get on a roll in the shooting department, they're a dangerous team.
2. West Region: No. 12 Long Beach State 49ers
Long Beach State is nowhere near a big name team in college basketball. There are probably many people filling out their brackets and wondering who the 49ers even are.
Well, people better get use to the name, because there is a great chance that this team is going to make a deep run this year.
The 49ers are tournament tested, having played many tough teams. That is, of course, if you think Pittsburgh, San Diego State, Louisville, Kansas, Kentucky, Kansas State, Creighton and Xavier are tough teams.
Long Beach State may have only beat Xavier and Pittsburgh, but they played some pretty good basketball against these other opponents. In fact, the 49ers only lost to Kansas on the road by eight points and to North Carolina at Chapel Hill by six points.
Long Beach State should match up very nicely against New Mexico and any other team it faces in the dance.
1. South Region: No. 5 Wichita State Shockers
The Shockers may be the No. 5 seed in the South, but they do come from the Missouri Valley Conference, which is not a power conference by any means.
Wichita State will match up with Virginia Commonwealth in the second round. You will probably remember VCU for making it all the way to the Final Four in last year's tournament.
Well folks, this is not last year's tournament, and the Rams are only returning one starter from that team.
As for the Shockers, they are filled with experience, having six seniors on the team. Wichita State may have missed the NCAA tournament last year, but they did manage to win the NIT.
The Shockers have a great player at every position, including a seven-footer in Garrett Stutz, who leads the team in points and rebounds.
From top to bottom, Wichita State may be the best mid-major team in the dance.
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