Qualifications for being a Cinderella:
Below an 8 seed
Not a typical college basketball powerhouse
USC just snuck into the tournament being right on the bubble, actually having to play a play in game against Providence in the somewhat new first four format just to get in. Many thought USC was unworthy of a spot in the big dance, yet here they are leaving their mark. USC beat SMU in a nail bitter that came down to the final shot. SMU was heavily favored as 80% of people who filled out brackets had SMU winning that game. SMU coming out of the American conference in my opinion wasn't nearly as strong as their record, so I certainly wasn't surprised when USC, who plays in the PAC 12 aka the conference of champions, pulled off an upset to advance to the round of 32. The Trojans will take on Baylor on Sunday for a chance to punch their ticket to the sweet sixteen. A lot of people consider Baylor to be a very overrated team, so USC will definitley show up with a good shot at continuing their Cinderella run.
Rhode Island 11:
Another 11 seed that has begun their journey into the making of a Cinderella story. Creighton has been very good team all season, I was certain they'd win this game with ease, and get blown out by Oregon in the next game. Instead URI decided to punch them in the mouth early and never looked back. Everyone of the starters for URI scored in double digits, meanwhile Creighton only had two starters in double digits. The final score was 84-72 and now URI will face Oregon in the round of 32. Hate to piss on their parade, but their won't be a fairy tale ending in this Cinderella story, as a matter of fact it'll end tomorrow when Oregon smokes them. Still nice to walk away with one win though, a tip of the cap to you Rhode Island.
Wichita State 10:
Dayton couldn't hit a shot if their lives depended on it, they couldn't rebound for shit, inside the paint they were manhandled, and they still barely lost the game. That speaks volumes about this Wichita State team. The Shockers are always a team that comes alive in the tournament every year and makes some noise, although they just happened to run into the world's coldest team last night. This team is no where close to the final four team of 2013, however Wichita State is usually a shoe in to win their first game of tournament since they've now done it 5 straight seasons. They haven't made it to the sweet 16 in 2 seasons, so I'm sure the Shockers will be hungry for that. Too bad Kentucky isn't ready to go home yet. Kentucky will end Wichita States annual attempt at completing the Cinderella run come Sunday.
Seems like the 11 seed is the hot upset seed this year, three out of four advancing to the round of 32, and the one I'm most confident in is Xavier. Xavier kept it close in the first half and then came out guns blazing in the second while Maryland rolled over like they have all season. Xavier's road only gets harder from here though, with FSU later today, however I think they'll be able to win and secure their spot in the sweet 16. Between them and USC I think we'll have 2 11 seeds in the sweet sixteen this year, and who knows, maybe Rhode Island will be able to pull off a miracle too.
Middle Tennessee 12:
For some reason MTSU was favored by Vegas to win going into their matchup with Minnesota, that's not something you see everyday since MTSU was a 12 seed playing a 5 seed. Doesn't make much sense why they'd do the seeding like that then, but nothing the committee does makes sense, so why question it now. Middle Tennessee is electric, any college team that has a cardinal direction followed by their state name is a team I want to make a deep run in the tournament. Of all the Cinderellas that have advanced this is the team I'm pulling for the most. Since I don't have a dog in the dance, I'm making the executive decision right now to back this team 1000%. I love Butler, but this is the year of the Cinderella story, and Middle Tennessee ain't being stopped.