March Madness is not complete without upsets that become memorable tournament runs
That Cleveland State team, by the way, went on to beat Wake Forest in the first round in A pair of basketball greats were just emerging into the consciousness for the Friars' run. Second-year coach Rick Pitino relied heavily on point guard Billy Donovan, who dropped 35 points in the first round, 35 points in the second round and 26 in an upset of 2-seed Alabama in the Sweet Up next was Big East rival Georgetown in a rubber match after a split in the season series. We're used to Wisconsin dominating now, but two decades ago their place in the big dance was more novelty than expectation.
The calling card was of course the defense, as this team from the regular season beat No.
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Eventually Wisconsin lost to Michigan State, who would go on to win the national championship that year. It was the year that "play angry" became a thing, and so did Gregg Marshall. Ron Baker and Fred VanVleet were young freshmen and budding college basketball stars while Cleanthony Early led Wichita State in scoring and rebounding.
The Shockers beat 1-seed Gonzaga and 2-seed Ohio State on this run before falling to Louisville, the eventual champion, in the Final Four.
This was the beginning of Marshall's moment with Wichita State, a moment that will continue with their highly anticipated showing in the NCAA Tournament. Just a lanky sophomore at the time, Stephen Curry stole the hearts of basketball fans everywhere with his clutch performances in Davidson's ridiculous Cinderella run in The Wildcats got to start their run just a few hours down the road in Raleigh, N. The games were close, everyone knew Curry was going to get the ball and still he delivered with 40 points in a six-point win against Gonzaga and 30 points in a four-point win against 2-seed Georgetown.
In the Sweet 16, the future MVP dropped 33 against Wisconsin and then finally cooled off in a two-point loss to Kansas, the eventual national champion, in the Elite Eight. This was the start of it all for Mark Few, the first run that made Gonzaga a regular contributor to the college basketball scene. Now the Zags are battling for top seeds on an annual basis and no longer considered a Cinderella. The Zags beat No.
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A Cinderella run doesn't require that the team come from a mid-major conference, but if that was a qualification then the conversation has to always start with George Mason. In , Jim Larranaga led the Patriots to the Final Four as the first mid-major team to get that far since Jai Lewis and Will Thomas crashed the glass while the team shared the scoring responsibility and squeezed the life out of opponents on defense. LSU was the first seed to make the Final Four, the lowest seed ever, and did so after barely making the tournament. The Tigers won just eight of their last 19 games but still got a home-court advantage in the draw that brought an expected amount of grumbling from the opposition.
LSU beat Purdue in double overtime, took down Memphis on an Anthony Wilson buzzer beater and finally beat Kentucky after three losses to the Wildcats earlier in the year. Dale Brown's defense played a huge role in the unexpected tournament wins in what is still a banner year for the LSU program. Oklahoma had 35 wins going into the national championship game, two of them against Big Eight rival Kansas. But the Jayhawks had the best player in college basketball that year, Danny Manning, and a willing but beat-up roster that history now simply refers to as the "Miracles.
Kansas had dealt with injuries, suspensions and disappointments through the year but finished on top with its first national title since Phog Allen was the head coach in Lawrence. The Rams' Jamie Skeen was one of four senior starters for this group that put Shaka Smart, then 33, square in the college basketball spotlight. They had Lil B on their side "swag" and plenty of good mojo during the improbable extra-game run that started with a fourth place finish in the CAA and ended with a loss to Butler in the Final Four.
We had to choose one, so it's Butler's second run, not the first in , losing to Duke on Gordon Hayward's close miss at the buzzer from half court , that gets the nod for our Cinderella rankings. Having seen Brad Stevens and Matt Howard win the hearts of fans looking for an underdog the year before brought buzz to their run the second it even seemed likely, even if Gordon Hayward was off to the NBA.
That meant that everyone was watching as Butler advanced in the most bizarre way. First came Matt Howard's tip-in at the buzzer against Old Dominion then his last-second free throw to beat Pitt, the No. The Bulldogs went on to beat Wisconsin and advance to the Final Four with an overtime win against Florida.
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