Sharing Slippers: The 98 Greatest Cinderellas of the Last 20 Years

Yaneek SmithContributor IIIApril 8, 2011

Sharing Slippers: The 98 Greatest Cinderellas of the Last 20 Years

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    With Butler and Virginia Commonwealth having advanced to this year's Final Four, I figure now would be a good time to recount the great Cinderella runs we've seen over the past 20 years.

    These teams are the 14- and 15-seeds that have surprised the nation, the 12-seeds that have advanced to the Sweet 16, and, of course, the mid-majors that have made it to the Final Four.

    But how does one determine whether or not a team is truly a Cinderella?

    If a team advances to the Final Four like George Mason did in 2006, or to the Championship Game like Butler did this year and in 2010, can they really be considered a Cinderella?

    I believe they can.

    In 2000, Florida, just like Butler, advanced to the Championship Game as a No 5 seed. So are they a Cinderella? 

    I would say no, because, much of being a Cinderella is coming from a smaller, lesser-known school. It is about being one of the first teams from your program to leave its imprint on the NCAA Tournament. 

    At Florida, they had a team that advanced to the Final Four in 1994—Butler did not have any recent history comparable to that.

    That's not to say that a school from one of the BCS Conferences can't be a Cinderella. 

    Aren't North Carolina and Wisconsin's respective runs to the Final Four as No. 8 seeds in 2000 worthy or this kind of distinction?

    Absolutely.

    But, for a school from one of the major conferences to be on this list, it will have to have accomplished quite a bit. The sixth-place team from the Big 12 winning a game or two as a No. 12 seed doesn't have the same aura and mystique associated with it as does a No. 12 seed from the Missouri Valley Conference or the Mid-American Conference winning a few games in the tournament.

    Enjoy the countdown....

No. 98: The 2007 Virginia Commonwealth Rams

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    Year: 2007

    Seed: 11

    Advanced to: The 2nd Round

    Results: Defeated (6) Duke, 79-77; lost to (3) Pittsburgh, 84-79 (OT)

No. 97: The 2005 UAB Blazers

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    Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

    Year: 2005

    Seed: 11

    Advanced to: The 2nd Round

    Results: Defeated (6) LSU, 82-68; lost to (3) Arizona, 85-63

No. 96: The 2006 Wisconsin-Milwaukee Panthers

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    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Year: 2006

    Seed: 11

    Advanced to: The 2nd Round

    Results: Defeated (6) Oklahoma, 82-74; lost to (3) Florida, 82-60

No. 95: The 2010 Old Dominion Monarchs

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    Year: 2010

    Seed: 11

    Advanced to: The 2nd Round

    Results: Defeated (6) Notre Dame, 51-50; lost to (3) Baylor, 76-68

No. 94: The 2009 Dayton Flyers

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    Year: 2009

    Seed: 11

    Advanced to: The 2nd Round

    Results: Defeated (6) West Virginia, 68-60; lost to (3) Kansas, 60-43

No. 93: The 2007 Winthrop Eagles

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    Year: 2007

    Seed: 11

    Advanced to: The 2nd Round

    Results: Defeated (6) Notre Dame, 74-64; lost to (3) Oregon, 75-61

No. 92: The 2002 Wyoming Cowboys

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    Year: 2002

    Seed: 11

    Advanced to: The 2nd Round

    Results: Defeated (6) Gonzaga, 73-66; lost to (3) Arizona, 68-60

No. 91: The 2001 Georgia State Panthers

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    Brian Bahr/Getty Images

    Year: 2001

    Seed: 11

    Advanced to: The 2nd Round

    Results: Defeated (6) Wisconsin, 50-49; lost to (3) Maryland, 79-60

No. 90: The 1998 Western Michigan Broncos

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    Vincent Laforet/Getty Images

    Year: 1998

    Seed: 11

    Advanced to: The 2nd Round

    Results: Defeated (6) Clemson, 75-72; lost to (3) Standford, 83-65

No. 89: The 2003 Central Michigan Chippewas

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    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Year: 2003

    Seed: 11

    Advanced to: The 2nd Round

    Results: Defeated (6) Creighton, 79-73; lost to (3) Duke, 86-60

No. 88: The 1994 Pennsylvania Quakers

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    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Year: 1994

    Seed: 11

    Advanced to: The 2nd Round

    Results: Defeated (6) Nebraska, 90-80; lost to (3) Florida, 70-58

No. 87: The 1993 Tulane Green Wave

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    Scott Halleran/Getty Images

    Year: 1993

    Seed: 11

    Advanced to: The 2nd Round

    Results: Defeated (6) Kansas State, 55-53; lost to (3) Florida State, 94-63

No. 86: The 1991 Creighton Blue Jays

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    Year: 1991

    Seed: 11

    Advanced to: The 2nd Round

    Results: Defeated (6) New Mexico State, 64-56; lost to (3) Seton Hall, 81-69

No. 85: The 2000 Pepperdine Waves

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    Rick Stewart/Getty Images

    Year: 2000

    Seed: 11

    Advanced to: The 2nd Round

    Results: Defeated (6) Indiana, 77-57; lost to (3) Oklahoma State, 75-67

No. 84: The 1997 College of Charleston Cougars

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    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Year: 1997

    Seed: 12

    Advanced to: The 2nd Round

    Results: Defeated (5) Maryland, 75-66; lost to (4) Arizona, 73-69

No. 83: The 2004 Manhattan Jaspers

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    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Year: 2004

    Seed: 12

    Advanced to: The 2nd Round

    Results: Defeated (5) Florida, 75-60; lost to (4) Wake Forest, 84-80

No. 82: The 2009 Western Kentucky Hilltoppers

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    Year: 2009

    Seed: 12

    Advanced to: The 2nd Round

    Results: Defeated (5) Illinois, 76-72; lost to (4) Gonzaga, 83-81