A Cinderella Story is what we look forward to every single year. There have been a handful of great stories throughout the years from the Villanova National Championship run as an 8 seed in 1985 to the latest deep run in 2018 with Sister Jean and her Loyola Chicago Ramblers. We also saw the first #16 seed in the UMBC Retrievers defeat a #1 seed in the Virginia Cavaliers just a couple years ago. Anything can happen in the tournament, it is March Madness for a reason. Predicting who the next Cinderella story is one few can do. In this article, we’ll give our take of the most likely Cinderella team from each region.
West Region: UC Santa Barbara – #12 Seed
The UC Santa Barbara Gauchos won the Big West Conference tournament and are ready to shake things up this March. To no fault of their own, UC Santa Barbara hasn’t faced the level of competition that they will be up against in the tournament. With the controversy surrounding Creighton’s Coach, we are unsure of how well they will be able to hold themselves under the pressure against teams desperate for a win. UCSB has the potential to face another Cinderella team in the 13-seed Ohio Bobcats who are seeking to upset the Virginia Cavaliers. UCSB or Ohio have a very high chance of making the sweet 16 but we give the edge to the Gauchos for their ability to spread the ball all across the floor in a super efficient manner.
East Region: Michigan State -#11 Seed
The East Region is loaded with very talented teams. Many of the higher seeded teams will win in this region compared to other regions in the bracket. Georgetown is a popular Cinderella pick but don’t underestimate what this Colorado team is capable of this year. We are fading Georgetown and have the highest seed that can make a potential sweet 16 run or further is a team we are used to seeing at that stage but this time it will be from a different perspective, the Michigan State Spartans. The Spartans were one of the last four teams to make the tournament and have a play in game against the UCLA Bruins. The Spartans have turned their season around and should not have been in the last four, but they are there and should handle the Bruins with ease. The Spartans aren’t a conventional Cinderella team but being 5 spots lower than their first matchup are qualified for that title for the potential deep run they can make in their tough region.
South Region: Winthrop – #12 Seed
The Villanova Wildcats are without star player Collin Gillepsie as they head into the tournament. The Wildcats have been winless since losing Gillepsie with no true team identity and have not looked like the 2 National Championship teams they had a few short years ago. With Villanova being on the downside, they face a Winthrop team that has only lost 1 game all season in January. Winthrop is one of the top rebounding teams in the country and Villanova is on the opposite end with being one of the worst. Winthrop is trending in the right direction with their first round matchup and has strong potential to take down the winner of the Purdue-North Texas matchup.
Midwest Region: Morehead State – #14 Seed
Morehead State is currently the winningest team in the 2021 calendar year in all of college basketball. They won 19 of their last 20 games after a poor 4-6 start to the season. With their defensive-minded grit, defense is what wins championships and if they can stay hot on the other end of the court, they have serious potential to knock down West Virginia and the winner of Syracuse-San Diego State which will be a tough matchup. Syracuse and San Diego State are two teams that can win some games in the tournament as well if they can get hot making for a tough round of 32 matchup with Morehead State.