2010 NCAA Tournament: Five Cinderella Stories to Watch

Justin HauterContributor IMarch 14, 2010

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Since the 2008 NCAA Tournament, when Davidson and Steph Curry were two points away from the Final Four, March Madness has been missing the next Cinderella to wear that glass slipper.

Well, the 2010 tournament surely has dark horse teams that are capable of making that deep run in the tournament, and with mid-major conferences getting more bids than last year, it looks likely.

There are several teams to watch out for come tournament time.


Northern Iowa (28-4)

Conference: MVC; No. 9 seed in the Midwest 

Although Northern Iowa never played a top 25 team, they took care of the teams that they were supposed to beat for the most part and were ranked in the top 25 themselves for part of the season. They looked strong in their conference final against second-place Wichita State, winning by 15. Look for the Panthers to beat UNLV and give Kansas trouble.


Minnesota (21-13)

Conference: Big Ten; No. 11 seed in the West

Minnesota finished off the season strong, winning seven out of its last nine games before getting crushed by Ohio State in the Big Ten conference final. The Golden Gophers have quality wins over Ohio State, Butler, and Wisconsin and with some luck could get to the Sweet 16.


Louisville (20-12)

Conference: Big East; No. 9 seed in the South

Everyone knows Rick Pitino and the Louisville Cardinals come out of a strong Big East conference, and while they are not considered a true Cinderella story, they can still make some noise.

Consider that Louisville has beaten Syracuse twice and has a very winnable first round matchup against California. If they advance, the Cardinals would likely have to play Duke, but Duke has had several forgettable tournaments in the recent past.


Siena (27-6)

Conference: MAAC; No. 13 seed in the South

Siena, which was in the 2008 and 2009 NCAA Tournaments, beat Vanderbilt and Ohio State respectively to advance to the second round of both tournaments. So who have the experienced Saints drawn this year? Purdue. They have a chance to stage another tournament upset as the Boilermakers are without top player Robbie Hummel.

If Purdue overlooks Siena and lets their guard down, they could be watching the Big Dance from home.


St. Mary's (26-5)

Conference: WCC; No. 10 seed in the South

After beating No. 18-ranked Gonzaga by 19 in the WCC final and winning 10 of their last 12 games, the Gaels are on a roll. St. Mary's was snubbed last year after compiling a record of 26-6 and will be eager to show that they belong. They begin the tournament with a game against the Richmond Spiders and will be looking to make some noise.