By Matt McGouran | Sports Writer
Junior Zeshaan Dhuka goes to fill out his new bracket for this years NCAA Tournament. Dhuka looks around his bracket and sees the Dayton and Ohio State, and thinks that Ohio State is a lock to win, but Dayton pulls off the upset by defeating the heavily favored buckeyes.
A cinderella team is a team from a mid-major conference that upsets one or a couple of the top teams in the NCAA tournament. Every year a couple teams from these conferences come in and win a couple games that no one expected them to even be competitive. Usually, there are about two or three cinderella’s each year.
“I think this year’s Cinderella team will be Dayton because they beat two teams that a lot of people though they would lose to,” Dhuka said.
Majority of the time, cinderellas are teams that most people haven’t even heard of. Just last year, teams like Florida Gulf Coast, La Salle, and Wichita State
surprised everyone by making it to the sweet 16, and in Wichita States case, the final four.
“These teams winning shows that they are actually really good and under the radar, and show how even the playing field can be,” Dhuka said.
Every once in a while, a Cinderella team will get hot and advance all the way to the championship game. Back in the 2010 and 2011, the University of Butler surprised everyone by making it to back to back title games, but losing in both.
“I think that them making it into the championship game just shows how dedicated they were those seasons,” junior Jason Powell said.
Cinderella teams can be very frustrating to people who fill out bracket each year. Every once in a while there is a major upset, like 15 seed Lehigh defeating 2 seed Duke in 2012, that completely destroy peoples brackets. But, Dinderellas can also make them seem like geniuses for correctly picking something no one expected.
“I have picked a couple upsets in the past,” Dhuka said, “like this year, I had Stanford beating New Mexico.”
Fans whose teams have been knocked out of the tournament generally start cheering for cinderella teams. With the large amount of cinderella teams each year, each fan has a different favorite cinderella team and for different reasons.
“My favorite Cinderella team the past couple years has been Harvard because they played pretty good against the tougher teams,” Powell said.
Each year there always seems to be a major upset that shakes the brackets and shows how even all of the teams are, especially with all of the recent parity in college basketball. Just recently, there have been 15 seeds like Florida Gulf Coast, Lehigh and Norfolk State winning against some of the top teams in the country. These schools victories show that nothing is guaranteed and that everyone has a shot to win.
“This shows that no one is sure to win because all of the teams are good enough to make it,” junior Carlos Barrera.
People have many different reasons for why they would cheer for a certain cinderella in the tournament. Some people like to cheer for these teams because they miraculously picked them to make it that far, or because they love seeing other people’s brackets fall apart.
“I think it’s really funny when lower seeded teams win because it messes up everyone’s brackets,” Powell said.
For majority of the followers of the NCAA tournament, their teams usually lose in the first couple rounds. But, cinderella teams offer them the opportunity to cheer for an underdog team and still have a rooting interest in the tournament.
“These teams winning keeps it more interesting and fun for all of the fans,” Barrera said.
With a cinderella team basically every year, fans always look forward to seeing which under the radar teams are able to surprise everyone. Cinderella teams bring a type of excitement to the tournament that the best teams do not bring, because the cinderella are small schools defeating the bigger schools in upsets that no one would expect.
“Cinderella’s make the tournament more fun to watch because they keep people interested in watching the games and they never know who is actually going to win,” Powell said.