March Madness 2013 Bracket: Which Cinderella Stories Are Elite Eight Bound?

Maxwell OgdenCorrespondent IIIMarch 25, 2013

PHILADELPHIA, PA - MARCH 24:  Christophe Varidel #5 of the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles celebrates on the bench late in the second half while taking on the San Diego State Aztecs during the third round of the 2013 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Wells Fargo Center on March 24, 2013 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Six days into the 2013 NCAA tournament, we've cut our field down to 16 teams. Entering the Sweet 16 will be three No. 1 seeds, three No. 2 seeds, three No. 3 seeds, three No. 4 seeds, a No. 9 seed, No. 12 seed, No. 13 seed and No. 15 seed.

With the latter teams established, there is only one question worth asking—which Cinderella squads are Elite Eight bound?

There are trendy favorites with back stories worth marveling and achievements that will go down in the record books. We've also seen teams go from the play-in game to the brink of glory.

The term "Cinderella" has never been more applicable.

The question on everyone's mind is simple—which teams can extend their time in the Big Dance and arrive in the Elite Eight?

In order to answer such a question, we must first define the competition. After all, a berth in the Elite Eight relies directly upon one's ability to overcome an elite Sweet 16 opponent.

So who's going dancing?


No. 2 Florida vs. No. 15 Florida Gulf Coast

The Florida Gulf Coast Eagles are the first No. 15 seed in NCAA history to make an appearance in the Sweet 16. With one more win, they could continue on that path of history by becoming the first No. 15 seed to make it to the Elite Eight.

Standing in their way is in-state rival and No. 3 seed Florida.

For what it's worth, the Eagles already own a victory over a team from the great state of Florida. That victory just so happens to have come against a school seeded higher than the Gators.

The ACC regular-season and tournament champion No. 2 Miami Hurricanes.

With this in mind, the Eagles are in prime position to take the mighty Gators down. If that's not enough of a selling point, try the fact that the Eagles have already defeated No. 2 Georgetown and No. 7 San Diego State.

The question is, can they take down the Gators?

If we're going based on the quality of each respective roster, the easy answer is no. After all, Florida is one of the most efficient offensive teams and dominant defensive teams in the nation.

Florida ranks 10th in field-goal percentage and second in opponent points per game.

With all of this being noted, it's hard not to get caught up in the magic surrounding Florida Gulf Coast. Picking with our hearts is often easier than with our heads around this time of year.

Expect the magic to continue as the Eagles make a statement against their in-state foe.


No. 9 Wichita State vs. No. 13 La Salle

This game may be the best thing that has ever happened to the mid-major conferences. Not only does it guarantee at least one Cinderella will enter the Elite Eight, but it pits two teams that entered the NCAA Tournament as at-large bids.

The question is, which team will advance to the Elite Eight?

Wichita State has made it to the Sweet 16 with a 73-55 win over No. 8 Pittsburgh and a 76-70 victory against No. 1 Gonzaga. They also own victories against the likes of Creighton, VCU and Southern Miss.

As for La Salle, they're now 3-0 during the NCAA tournament. They defeated Boise State in a play-in game, No. 4 Kansas State in the Round of 64 and No. 12 Ole Miss in the Round of 32.

Each of those victories have come by single-digits.

When these two sides square off, one could stake the claim that La Salle has, in fact, secured momentum with three tough tournament victories. With that being said, momentum is closer to equal after Wichita State upset No. 1 Gonzaga.

La Salle's guard play is on par with the best in the tournament. The Shockers, meanwhile, have significant depth with great size.

When it comes down to it, Wichita State's ability to control the glass will be enough to secure the W and continue the Cinderella run.