NCAA underdogs are a large part of why we will all crowd around the TV during March to watch potential upsets, bracket busting games and buzzer beaters. There’s nothing better than watching a team nobody has ever heard of knock off one of the tournament favorites. This specific tournament is rich with underdog history and every year there’s a chance for a new historic game or deep run by a Cinderella team.
The Three Best Historic Underdogs
1. 1985 University of Villanova Wildcats
As a #8 seed, the Wildcats created a ton of history by winning it all in 1985. On their way to the title, they knocked off #1 Michigan, #2 North Carolina, and in the big game, they defeated heated Big East Rival Georgetown 66-64. This game denied Patrick Ewing and company a second consecutive National Title. This is by far the best run by a team ever and they are the lowest seed to win it all.
2. 2006 George Mason University Patriots
The Patriots made it to the Final Four as a #11 seed. When they entered the tournament, few had even heard of the Colonial Athletic Association and they received an at-large bid after falling in their conference championship. Perhaps the most incredible part of the story was the names of the schools they beat. This list included perennial powerhouses Michigan State, North Carolina, and heavy tournament favorites, UConn, Many believe this was the best run every by an underdog.
3. 2011 Butler Bulldogs
Many remember the amazing run Butler made just two years ago as a #8 seed. They knocked off #9 seeded Old Dominion, #1 seed Pittsburgh, #4 seed Wisconsin and #2 seed Florida. VCU was almost the best Cinderella story as a #11 seed, but Butler beat them in the Final Four. The Bulldogs finally fell to Connecticut in an ugly championship game. Oh yeah, this just so happened to come the season after they did the exact same thing, when they fell to Duke in the 2010 title game.
Potential Underdogs to Watch This Year
Whether you are filling out a March Madness contest for a car sweepstakes or a regular basketball brackets the underdogs can be the most fun of all. When making your picks for this year’s tournament check out the below schools All three of these schools have a great chance of not only winning a first round game, but also going deep into the tournament.
Akron has won 18 straight games, which is tied for the longest streak in the nation and they’ve squeaked into the top 25 in the Coaches poll. The biggest reason they could take down a top seed stands 7-feet tall and goes by the name of Zeke Marshall. He takes away any size advantage of a larger school and creates an issue for many teams without a tall center.
2. Middle Tennessee State
From the Sun Belt Conference, the Blue Raiders are a team poised to give others trouble. They’ve won 25 games so far this year, including 14 straight. Middle Tennessee might be the most balanced team in the country and they showed it against Troy by routing them 93-41 with 12 different players scoring. Many experts pick the Blue Raiders as one of the top underdogs.
3. South Dakota State
It may not take the entire team to create an upset for South Dakota State with Nate Wolters. He scored 53 points in one game and is considered one of the top players in the country. Even with a super star, the team is one of the best in assist to turnover ratio, free throw shooting and well above average from behind the arc. Wolters will certainly carry them, but this team has the potential for a deep run.
We always enjoy a few surprises, as fans, and this year will be no different. Many experts predict this year to be the year a #16 upsets a #1 and even if this doesn’t happen, we could see some serious underdogs taking out the big dogs.
Ashley Roberts is a sports enthusiast, and has followed the NCAA Tournament extensively for years now!