Every March millions of sports fans fill out bracket sheets with hopes of predicting the NCAA basketball tournament. The one thing every March has in common is the love-feast that comes into play for the Cinderella team aka The Underdog. Yes we all love a feel good story that shows David playing Goliath. We love even more when they win a few games.
We fill out our selection brackets with hopes of predicting who will be Cinderella. Last year we witnessed Butler take on the Cinderella role. We were a half court shot away from witnessing the ultimate miracle story come to life. As the tournament of 68 approaches I decided to start my own Cinderella list for the 2011 tourney.
The top 5 2011 Cinderella teams:
5. Oakland Golden Grizzlies (13 seed)- This Oakland team no doubt draws a tough game with Texas in their first matchup. Do you think the Golden Grizzlies are afraid? Absolutely not! This team is explosive on the offensive end and is second in the nation in FG percent and points scored. They have 5 players on offense who can put up double digits. They are led by Keith Benson who averages 18 pts and 10 reb per game. Benson has developed into one the best big men in college basketball. Oakland will be a hard task for Texas to knock out. They come into the game with only one lost since Feb 5 winning 18 out of their last 19 games.
4. Belmont Bruins (13 seed)- The Belmont Bruins might not be known in all parts of the country, yet. This is a 30-win team that knows how to win games. In 2008, this team was a last minute shot away from knocking off Duke in the first round. This Bruins team has good depth and can shot the 3 point shot with the best of teams. They bullied the Atlantic Sun conference this year by a winning average of 21 points per game. Yes they do not own a victory over a Top 25 team this season, but that is what March is for. Time to shock the world, or for the Bruins players finish what you started in 2008.
3. Utah State Aggies (12 seed)- The Aggies are another team all about playing like Charlie Sheen parties.. Winning! This 30 win team from the WAC owned the conference this year, The Aggies will be contested against Kansas State in their opening game of the tourney. Many experts believe this team could find Cinderella’s slipper for a few games and back a Sweet 16 push. They are led by Tai Wesley who averages 14.7 pts and 8 reb per game. They also tend to play 8 players per game keeping their legs fresh for crunch time. Will the Aggies have enough gas to make a deep push in the tourney? Only March will tell, but one thing is for sure, keep an eye open on the Aggies their experienced players know this their one shot to become a Cinderella team.
2. Old Dominion University Monarchs (9 seed)- The Monarchs don’t want to be called a Cinderella team. They feel like they belong. They won a tournament game last year against Notre Dame and nearly beat Baylor to land in Sweet 16. This season they look poised to go even further during the dance. They are playing last year’s Cinderella Butler in the first round. This is a very strong rebounding team led by Frank Hassell that is 7th in the nation. Kent Bazemore and the Monarchs play an extremely tight zone defense. Beware of the Monarchs to bust your bracket, just don’t say the Monarchs will be suprised one bit if they advance deep in the tourney this year.
1. Washington Huskies (7 seed)- The Huskies won the Pac10 thanks to Isaiah Thomas and his buzzer beating shot. They were already looked at as a team that could win into the Sweet 16. Now they look like a true Cinderella that could come out of the East region. They have a true clutch leader in Isaiah Thomas and are experienced in big time games. This team can fill up a score sheet as they are 3rd in scoring, 8th in assist, and 12th in rebounding in the nation. This is a team that gets production from Thomas as well as Bryan-Amaning, Holiday, Gaddy, and Wilcox. Watch out for the Huskies they are ready to rock the East region and show the world who is the 2011 Cinderella team.
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