March Madness 2011 Predictions: Which Cinderellas Will Fade?
Unfortunately for the first few rounds of the NCAA tournament, there have only been a couple of Cinderella teams.
In fact, there have only been four by my count. VCU, Richmond, Morehead State and Gonzaga. Although Marquette is an 11 seed, they are in the best conference in all of college basketball.
However, the four teams listed above are not. They are the typical mid-major teams that earn the nickname Cinderella come March Madness time.
That said, the question remains: Which Cinderellas will fade?
Virginia Commonwealth Rams
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Virginia Commonwealth is showing why they belong in the NCAA tournament. They have already won two games in the Big Dance against USC and Georgetown.
Let's not forget they have won both of these games by an average of 15.5 PPG. To say the least, VCU has been playing some great basketball.
However, the Rams beat USC—a team most people did not think deserved to be in the tournament—and Georgetown, who hasn't won a game since February 19th.
Not to take anything away from VCU because they have been playing really good basketball, but they lucked out in their first two games.
They will not have this same luck against the Purdue Boilermakers. Purdue is a much better team than Georgetown and USC—as VCU will find when they face off.
That said, the Purdue Boilermakers and JaJuan Johnson will put an end to VCU's Cinderella run.
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The Richmond Spiders beat a very good team in the Vanderbilt Commodores.
Richmond has a very good chance of making it to the Sweet 16. Their next game is against another Cinderella team in Morehead State and Richmond really has to like their chances in that game.
However, Morehead State is very capable of knocking off the Spiders.
Although Richmond is a better team than Morehead State, it will not matter in the Sweet 16 because whoever wins will have to most likely faceoff against the No. 1 seed in the region, the Kansas Jayhawks.
Kansas will prevail and will end the Richmond Spiders' Cinderella run, but not before the Richmond Spiders make it to the Sweet 16.
However, if the Jayhawks can somehow get knocked off by Illinois, look for the Spiders to make it even deeper into the NCAA tournament.
Morehead State Eagles
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The Morehead State Eagles had the biggest upset in the whole entire tournament so far. They knocked off a very good team in Louisville, making a three-pointer to go ahead with 4.2 seconds left in the game.
However, just like the last slide, whoever wins between Morehead State and Richmond will most likely have to face off against the Kansas Jayhawks.
Although everyone wants to see these Cinderella teams move on, neither Morehead State nor Richmond is capable of pulling off an upset against Kansas (although there have been bigger upsets in the past and they don't call it March Madness for nothing.)
I see the Eagles getting beat by Richmond in a close game. However, whoever wins this game will find life a lot harder against Kansas in the Sweet 16.
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The Gonzaga Bulldogs have been here before.
They are used to the March Madness environment and, for that matter, making a run in the NCAA tournament.
They last made it to the Sweet 16 in 2009, but got knocked off by the North Carolina Tar Heels.
That said, the Bulldogs are poised to make another Sweet 16 run when they face off against BYU. Gonzaga has to like their chances in this game and will dominate the boards thanks to their size advantage over BYU.
Without Brandon Davies, BYU is not the same team.
The Bulldogs clearly have the size advantage in this game thanks to the two seven-footers on their team. Although Jimmer Fredette will go off in this game, it will not be enough—and the Gonzaga Bulldogs will keep their Cinderella hopes alive.