NCAA Tournament Preview: The Cinderellas
Cinderella, Cinderella, it’s March Madness, Cinderella. Since the dawn of time there have been plenty of Cinderella teams that somehow sneak their way into the Final Four. We saw this a few years ago with George Mason, and before them teams like Valparaiso. Most of the time these teams don’t pan out in the tournament, but every once in a while they’ll catch lightning in a bottle and make March Madness enjoyable because there is no such thing as a sure bet.
As a Buffalo Alum, this pick is both with the mind and the heart. With leaders such as CJ Massinburg, Wes Clark, and transfer Jeremy Harris, Buffalo has a good shot to make it to the Sweet 16. Their biggest test will come in the first round against Arizona.
If they can somehow get past consensus top pick Deandre Ayton and the Wildcats, Buffalo may be the team to shock the country. Nate Oats’ team relies on defense and a high-powered offense. They had a relatively easy path through the MAC Tournament with the number one seed, but they are battle tested and almost beat Syracuse and Texas Tech.
Western New York must love Double G Sports right now. For all you Western New Yorkers, we have your back here in the NCAA Tournament. The Bonnies always play Buffalo tough, and if they make it through their first four game against UCLA they’re battle tested.
They had the second seed in a pretty decent A10 conference and although not many people have heard of them, their stifling defense and offensive rebounding ability will make them a darling of the tournament.
Yes, yes, I know I picked Duke to make a deep run. HOWEVER, it was prefaced that Duke has been the ultimate boom or bust team in the tournament recently. Look at Michigan State just two years ago, who lost to a middling Middle Tennessee State team.
Iona is battle tested. They have all the pieces to make a run, and they’ve been in the tournament three years in a row. Look for the experience of the team and the leadership of coach Tim Cluess to guide the Gaels to a first round upset of Duke and potentially even more.
Rhode Island did not win their conference tournament but the Danny Hurley led team dominated the Atlantic 10 this season. Editor’s note: We may see Rhode Island as two different categories but we both agree that Rhode Island is a team to be reckoned with.
New Mexico State has been in the tournament six of the last seven years and is hungry to prove they are one of the best unknown teams in the country. Davidson needed to win their tournament to even make it into the tournament, but now that they’re in they may continue their winning ways and make another improbable run at the title.