The excitement of March Madness is all about the upset. The tournament is so exciting because the unknown “Cinderella” has a chance to make a statement and take down the favorite in the tournament and destroy thousands of brackets in the process.
2011 is no different. The upsets have been plentiful and teams have stunned the college basketball world in the first round.
In the past most Cinderella teams have faded after the first upset, but a few have pressed on to go deep into the tournament.
Here is a look at the Cinderella team that has the best chance to advance in the NCAA Tournament.
Before this tournament started it would be difficult to locate Morehead State on a map or name one player. After the huge upset of Louisville on day one, Morehead State is now in the spotlight.
The latest March Madness Odds have Morehead State as underdogs once again in the round of 32 against Richmond.
Center Kenneth Faried gives this team a big man down low that can dominate any game. He is the leading rebounder in the country and opens up shots for his teammates by demanding double teams down low. He kicks out rebounds and is very unselfish making him a natural leader on the floor. With a game against Richmond on deck, Morehead State can win again, but with the winner of Kansas/Illinois waiting, that could be the end of the road.
The Spiders stunned a few teams by winning the Atlantic-10 tournament, and then they took their underdog label to the national stage.
In the NCAA Tournament they promptly ejected No. 5 Vanderbilt and will now play Morehead State in the round of 32.
Kevin Anderson is the senior leader for this team and he makes great decisions at guard. Senior Justin Harper is the team’s leading scorer and gives the Spiders senior leadership down low. Richmond has what it takes to beat Morehead but could hit a brick wall after that , when they would face the winner of the Kansas / Louisville matchup.
When it comes to Cinderella teams VCU has to be the belle of the ball. They were one of the most criticized teams for being selected to participate in the tourney as many so-called experts believed that VCA should have been sent to the N.I.T.
VCU has quieted all of their critics with a resounding run in the NCAA Tournament. The defeated USC in the “First Four” game, but were expected to play nice and get slaughtered by Georgetown.
VCU had other plans. They stomped Georgetown, sending them home in the first round and making a statement that they belong in the tournament. They won by eighteen and were never in jeopardy of losing the game as they toyed with Georgetown in the second half.
Joey Rodriquez is a polished guard that makes plays and allowed VCU to have three players in double digits. With Purdue on deck, VCU’s run should end here, but counting out VCU could be a big mistake.
The No. 11 seed Marquette Golden Eagles played inspiring basketball as they knocked out No. 6 Xavier in the second round. Buzz Williams has the Eagles playing at a high level and this team has the unique ability to completely bust a bracket.
Darius Johnson-Odom and Jimmy Butler are scorers that can run up and down the court, but the Eagles will have to play defense sooner or later.
The Golden Eagles will face Syracuse, a team they beat in the regular season, so anything is possible. The problem with Marquette is you never know what to expect making them a wild-card in this tournament.
The Gonzaga Bulldogs have played Cinderella before. They are infamous for making runs in the big dance and are up to their old tricks with an upset win over No. 6 St. Johns in the second round.
The Bulldogs are playing their best basketball of the season and crushed the Red Storm in a game that was not even close.
Marquise Carter netted 24 points in that game and the Bulldogs have won 11 in a row as they head into a game with BYU in the round of 32.
Jimmer Fredette will get his points, but Gonzaga has a realistic chance of taking down the Cougars in the next game. Head Coach Mark Few knows how to get his team prepared for a run in the tournament and they will steal some of the home court advantage away from the Cougars. The winner of the game between UCLA and Florida awaits Gonzaga if they beat BYU and a trip to the Elite Eight is in their sights.
Gonzaga is the Cinderella team that has the best chance of advancing.
Matt Regaw is a B/R Featured Columnist and the founder of BookieBlitz.com, your one-stop shop for sports articles, previews and predictions. Feel free to contact Matt at email@example.com.
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