Who Will This Year’s Cinderella Team Be?

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bill-swift - March 13, 2012

Picking the NCAA tournament winner is really pretty easy. After 30+ regular season games and a conference tournament we know who the good teams are, i.e. Kentucky, Syracuse, North Carolina, Baylor, Duke, etc. Go with anyone of those guys and you'll likely come close if not end up being right.

However, if you want a real challenge try picking the team that will win that is not supposed to win. That's right, I'm talking about the Cinderella team; the one that should get its butt kicked, but with a little help from the March Madness magic fairies goes on a winning streak at the perfect time of year.

Picking Cinderella teams has become as much in vogue as picking the winner of the tournament. Everybody does it! However, the difference between my Cinderella teams and the ones the other guys are picking (Detroit? St. Bonaventure? Please!) are mine actually have a real shot at winning.

Now skeptics will say that they aren't Cinderella teams if they aren't high seeded teams. I beg to differ. Since 1979, there have been only four teams seeded No 9 or higher to make the Final Four. In fact, in that time frame only 21 teams ranked higher than No 4 have made it to the semi-finals.

In reality, anyone seeded No 5 or higher could be conceivably called a Cinderella team. That being said, it would be no fun at all to pick higher seeded teams, and since there is a wealth of talent in the higher seeds (No 10 and up) we don't need to.

VCU (No 12): It is almost unfair to call these guys a Cinderella team a year after being the quintessential Cinderella in last year's tournament. The team may be minus a marquee player, but it does have a talented roster that knows how to dig deep in crucial games thanks to the coach with the coolest name in basketball— Shaka Smart.

Texas (No 11): The Longhorns are a young, talented team that could be ready to put it together at the right time. They have struggled at times during the season, but what do you expect when the team is forced to work in three new starters. If J'Covan Brown can keep up the scoring along with the help of freshmen Myck Kabongo, Sheldon McClellan, Jonathan Holmes, and Julien Lewis these guys could easily be meeting Ohio State in the Sweet Sixteen.

Xavier (No 10): If there is one thing that the tournament does tend to recognize it is talent. If talented players get hot at the right time, they can beat anyone. Xavier has that in guards Tu Holloway and Mark Lyons. Don't be surprised if these guys send the Irish home early and give Duke an early exit. They may have their hands full against Baylor though…

West Virginia (No 10): These guys were not overly impressive in conference play (9-9), but that could be blamed on the same problem that Texas had—working in freshman. The Moutaineers played with nine of them on the roster this year, and much like the Longhorn talented youngsters these guys are primed to make a run. They'll have a tough time with Ohio State in the Round of 32, but if Kevin Jones can shut down Jared Sullinger like they hope the rest of the bracket better watch out!

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