Cinderella, a stella fairy tale from that crazy fabulous Disney library. A poor young peasant girl, through good graces and generosity is swept off her feet by an absolutely gorgeous prince, and fulfills every little girls fantasy, becoming a sparkly fairy tale princess. She's one of the most popular Disney leading ladies, and even has her own castle at the Magic Kingdom. Silver, glittery, and absolutely perfect in every way, Cinderella is the Disney princes we all aspire to be.
So you might ask yourself, why the NCAA basketball announcers keep mentioning her name? She's super amazing, but what does she have to do with sports?
Well, in the fabulous wild world of sports, Cinderella or a "Cinderella Story" refers to a team who comes out of nowhere, just as Cinderella did, to advance and surpass the most prominent teams in basketball, you know the Drusilla's and the Anastasia's. Simply stated, sure picks.
The "Cinderella" term was actually coined by Bill Murray in the 1980 movie Caddyshack. In the movie he refers to himself in a dream like fantasy as a classic "Cinderella" story. If you haven't seen the movie, I don't want to ruin anything for you, but to make this long story short, in the movie the unexpected happens, and his own "Cinderella" story unfolds. Murray's character goes from being a mediocre greens keeper to win The Masters. But that's golf, back to basketball.
A Cinderella team can progress through the tournament via two ways. They can fail to make it to the championship, becoming a pumpkin, thus returning to obscurity, or they can become the star of the ball, National Championships.
You'll even hear announcers use the term "Strike Midnight." If you remember in the fairytale, super fab Cinderella loses her couture at the strike of the clock, and returns back to being, well, a Joanie. Translate that into sporting code, when a team "Strikes Midnight" simply put, they've lost.
Cinderella isn't the first story that's been used in the sporting world. Often times teams with repeated success, i.e. USC Trojans Football, Florida Gators Football, Texas Longhorns Football, Duke Blue Devil Basketball, UConn Huskies Basketball, and North Carolina Tarheels are considered to be "Giant Killers" year after year, and are compared to stories like Jack the Killer and David and Goliath.
In order to progress as a super fan in the tournament this year, you'll need to know the potential fairy tales, and their stories. Let's look at a few of our first round "Cinderella" teams from Thursday. Do they have what it takes to become the stars of the ball? Or will they turn into pumpkins at midnight? All to be decided, in the most magical of scenarios... of course.
Who they beat: (3) Georgetown, 83-97
Next Game: TBD
Win-Loss Record: 21-14
Conference: MAC Eastern Division
Location: Athens Ohio
Star Players: Armon Bassett and Tommy Freeman
NCAA Tournament Appearances: 1960, 1961, 1964, 1965, 1970, 1972, 1974, 1983, 1985, 1994, 2005, 2010
(13) Murray State Racers
Who they beat: (4) Vanderbilt, 66-65
Next Game: March 20th vs. (5) Butler
Win-Loss Record: 31-4
Conference: Ohio Valley Conference
Location: Murray, KY
Coach: Billy Kennedy
Star Players: Isacc Miles and B.J. Jenkins
NCAA Tournament Appearances: 1951, 1964, 1988, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1995, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2010
(11) Old Dominion Monarchs
Who they beat: (6) Notre Dame, 51-55
Next Game: March 20th vs. Baylor
Win-Loss Record: 27-8
Conference: Colonial Athletic Association
Location: Norfolk, VA
Coach: Blaine Taylor
Star Players: Kent Bazemore and Gerald Lee
NCAA Tournament Appearances: 1980, 1982, 1985, 1986, 1992, 1995, 1997, 2005, 2007, 2010