UNLV: This Cinderella is Headed to the Big Dance, Not the Ball

Emily HartigCorrespondent IMarch 18, 2008

Every year, millions of fans take the time to diligently fill out their NCAA tournament brackets.

They spend hours meticulously deciding what team has the best chances of coming out on top, who's making an early exit, and who's boogeying their way into the big dance.

And, just like those who spend hours going back and forth, comparing odds and statistics, depth charts and shooting percentages, there undoubtedly ends up being that one person who puts a blindfold on, hangs a dart board on the wall with all the teams, and essentially plays pin the tail on the donkey to determine his or her bracket.

The odds and stats checkers despise these people.

They are the ones who spend painstaking hours mulling over their brackets, in hopes to win $50 in the office pool. But it's always those who go down the list and pick the team with the nickname they like better who end up winning those million dollar prizes.

So, I figured, if I can't beat 'em, I better join 'em.

As I scrolled through the list of this year's competitors, I realized (but not to my surprise) that I didn't know enough about any one team to make a valid point saying which team would shock the college basketball world with an unexpected upset. 

Because I knew I still wanted to have a say and make a cinderella selection, I did what any woman would do. I thought with my heart and not with my head.

So, for this year's NCAA Tournament, I selected No. 8 seed UNLV as my sleeping beauty.

My reasons might bewilder a bracketologist, but I'm sticking to my guns.

Las Vegas holds a special place in my heart. I am in love with this sparkling city. I visited there in 2003, and, as somewho who is turning 21 this April, I plan to return as soon as possible.  It would be great to return to a city that just had its team tap dance into the Sweet 16 or even the Elite Eight.

Also, those Runnin' Rebs have such stunning scarlet uniforms, and they just look so cute hustling up and down the court. I could just wipe the sweat off them. That alone warrants a victory. Cutest always wins in my book.

In addition to major cute points, UNLV has a player named Wink. Wink Adams. I think it's a given that, if your name is Wink, you are bad ass.

Last year, UNLV was able to sneak their way into the Sweet 16 for the first time since 1991, after winning the Mountain West conference and taking down Wisconsin and Georgia Tech.

I mean, if all these things don't convince you, then I don't know what will.

It just makes sense—if you have cute boys playing on your team and a handsome coach like Lon Kruger, you just can't lose.

In the first round, they will take out No. 9 Kent State, and, when they do, they will face Big 12 champion Kansas. 

But, and this is the one 'but' that always holds true without fail each year—anything can and will happen; this has been proven. So I feel like I have as good a chance as any of those odds and stats checkers to come out on top.

My cinderella team might be dancing their way from the Strip to San Antonio, and I just might shock everyone, too.