With the college basketball season just around the corner, let’s look back on the most underrated march madness teams. Who will be this years Cinderella story?
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What do the Loyola Ramblers (2018), VCU Rams (2011), and the St. Peter’s Peacocks (2022) all have in common? They’re underrated teams in march madness.
No one believed in them and they all overcame the odds to progress deep into the NCAA Tournament.
What makes March Madness so exciting is that it’s not a matter if there will be a Cinderella Story, but who.
Here, we’ll take a look back at some of the biggest underdog stories from years past and look at some prospects for the upcoming 2023 tournament. Take a look and keep it in mind when filling out your brackets!
Saint Peter’s Peacocks (15 Seed; 2022)
We’ll start this off with a bang and look at the Peacocks from Saint Peter’s. A No. 15 seed, this team overcame the odds repeatedly but eventually fell in the Elite Eight.
The Peacocks took on the Kentucky Wildcats in the first round, a perennial tournament winner and a No. 2 seed. The Peacocks downed them 85-79.
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From there, they took on the No. 7 seed Murray State. A respectable seeding, but coming off of the Kentucky win, it was as surprising.
Advancing to the Sweet Sixteen, the Peacocks would take on yet another high-seeded team, the Purdue Boilermakers, a No. 3 seed. However, the Peacocks prevailed yet again, winning by just three points.
The Cinderella Story came to an end in the Elite Eight, losing by 20 to the North Carolina Tar Heels, but Saint Peter’s is ingrained in March Madness folklore forever. They made it the furthest of any No. 15 seed ever, supplanting 2013’s Florida Gulf Coast.
VCU Rams (11 Seed; 2011)
College basketball head coach Shaka Smart became the head coach of the Rams in 2009 and immediately added to his stock.
Just a couple of years into his tenure with VCU, the team received an at-large bid into the 2011 tournament as a No. 11 seed.
An at-large bid is when a team is selected to participate in the tournament without automatically qualifying by winning their conference title. The selection committee determines the teams, which consists of conference commissioners and athletic directors.
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Well, they obviously made the right decision as this team would go on to the Final Four, downing Georgetown (6), Purdue (3), Florida State (10), and even the Kansas Jayhawks, the No. 1 seed, by 10 points.
The run came to an end when they lost to Butler in the Final Four by eight.
Because of this tournament run, the Rams are viewed in higher regard, and Smart went on to coach Texas and is currently with Marquette.
Florida Gulf Coast Eagles (15 Seed; 2013)
We already look at Saint Peter’s from 2022, but now we’ll look at another No. 15 seed that overcame staggering odds.
Before Saint Peter’s, this was the best No. 15 seed in NCAA history. Florida Gulf Coast took down teams like Georgetown and San Diego State on their way to the Sweet Sixteen. That year, the team was nicknamed Dunk City due to their high-flying brand of ball.
Losing to the interstate Florida Gators in the Sweet Sixteen, we would go on to recognize Sherwood Brown, who received awards in the ASUN Conference.
He ultimately went undrafted and is currently playing for the Montreal Alliance in Canada.
Davidson Wildcats (10 Seed; 2008)
In the year 2023, you may be familiar with this NBA player who plays for the Golden State Warriors named Stephen Curry.
Well, before his Hall of Fame career in the NBA, he was a mere point guard for the Davidson Wildcats in 2008. A No. 10 seed in the NCAA Tournament, Davidson hadn’t won a game in the NCAA Tournament since the year the United States visited the moon in 1969.
Davidson would go on to lose in the Elite Eight to the eventual champion Kansas Jayhawks, losing by just two.
During this stretch, Curry averaged an astonishing 34.3 points per game, 4 steals, and over 50% shooting from three-point range.
Underrated March Madness Teams Heading Into 2023 Tournament
- Miami Hurricanes: The Hurricanes have won seven straight games, beating teams like Duke, Louisville, UNC, and other ACC teams, and are the current No. 13 seed.
- VCU Rams: We told you this program got plenty of notoriety after that 2011 campaign, and it’s continued more than a decade later. The Rams are 21-7 and have recently beaten Vanderbilt, Pittsburgh, and Kennesaw State. They stand atop the Atlantic 10 standings.
- Boise State: Winning seven of their last eight games, the Broncos have beaten Texas A&M and New Mexico this season. They’re led by Tyson Degenhart, who’s shooting 52.3% from the field.
- Kentucky Wildcats: Unranked or not, the Wildcats are always a scary program to encounter in the tournament. They’re 19-9 this year but are on a three-game winning streak. This season they’ve beaten Tennessee twice, Texas A&M, and Michigan. Oscar Tsheibwe has played great, averaging 16.2 points and 12.7 rebounds per game.