Top 3 Most Amazing Cinderella Runs In The NCAA Tournament

Why do we love sports? Because we like to believe that anything can happen. We like to see underdogs triumph in the face of impossible odds and we enjoy seeing the strength of the human spirit. There’s something innately relatable about it all that inspires and connects us. But no other event captures these qualities quite like March Madness. The NCAA Tournament is arguably the most exciting sporting event of all, with do-or-die stakes that can’t be matched by the NBA playoffs and last minute heroics that are often missing from the Super Bowl.

March Madness is all about crazy buzzer beaters, insane hot streaks and pure adrenaline. These are especially apparent when a dark horse team manages to upset a heavily favored opponent and make an unexpected run deep into the tournament. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it’s special. Here are the three most amazing Cinderella Runs in NCAA Tournament history.

2006 George Mason – At the time, George Mason University became just the second No. 11 seed in men’s college basketball history to reach the Final Four.

But, perhaps even more impressive, is who they beat along the way.


The GMU Patriots somehow notched victories over powerhouse mainstays in Michigan State and North Carolina during the tournament’s opening weekend.

They then upset top-seeded Connecticut in one of the most scintillating Elite 8 games in recent memory. Mason surrendered a four-point lead in that game during the final minute before somehow pulling it out in overtime. Nail biting, edge of your seat type of stuff right there.

Though Mason would be handled easily by eventual champion Florida in the Final Four, their run would catapult them into the national conversation and solidify that team as the most memorable and accomplished in school history.

Screen Shot 2016-03-04 at 12.55.41 PMScreen Shot 2016-03-04 at 12.55.41 PM1982 Houston – Believe it or not, but dunking wasn’t always an integral part of basketball. There was a time when jump shooting and basic fundamental lay ups were cornerstones of the game…I know, it all sounds incredibly boring, right?

But head coach Guy Lewis changed all that when he incorporated the dunk into the Houston Cougars’ offensive repertoire. Of course, that revolutionary strategy was buoyed by his two superstars, Clyde Drexler and Hakeem Olajuwon, who were especially adept at jamming the ball through the hoop with powerful force.The pair of future Hall of Famers helped drag the sixth-seeded Cougars into the Final Four back in 1982 with their new style of play. Unfortunately, they lost that game and would lose again in the championship game one year later. However, their unique scoring tendencies and impact on offensive game plans extends far into the present day. That’s got to count for something, no?

1985 Villanova – Villanova may not have been too low on the totem pole as a No. 8 seed, but they certainly weren’t expected to beat a No. 1 seed Georgetown team that featured Patrick Ewing. In fact, Nova had lost to Georgetown in two previous BigImage Courtesy Of: East matchups. The 30-2 Hoyas were such heavy favorites that this single victory qualifies the Wildcats, who had dropped 10 games that season, as bona fide Cinderellas.

Villanova struggled just to get past Dayton, Michigan and Maryland during the first three rounds while Georgetown was playing in its third title game in four years. However, the Wildcasts mustered 27 free-throw attempts, converting 22 of them, while shooting 78.6 percent from the field. Georgetown starters Ewing, Wingate and Michael Jackson all struggled with foul trouble for the game as the Wildcats managed to pull off one of the most historic upsets in college basketball history.

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My name is Nick and I love sports. I went to school for sports writing and I have loved sports for as long as I can remember.
I've always loved competition. There is no more pure way to measure the meddle of skilled competitors than on the playing field of the sports at which they love most.
From NCAA football to the NFL Pro Bowl, I love football! But that's not where my love for sports ends. I competed for my schools Lacrosse team during my time in college and even spent some time coaching during the time spent attaining my masters in sports journalism.
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