Every year come NCAA Tournament time an upstart team. XN Sports compiled a list of the top Cinderella runs in the history of the NCAA Tournament:
top 10 cinderella runs
March Madness: Top 10 Cinderella runs
This year was known as the Magic and Larry show but the Final Four that season also included the Quakers.
Penn is the last team from the Ivy League to reach the Final Four, making it as a No. 9 seed. After edging No. 8 Iona in the first round, Penn stunned top-seeded North Carolina in the second round 72-71. Victories over Syracuse and St. John’s made the Quakers were the first Ivy League team since Bill Bradley led Princeton to the 1965 Final Four.
Michigan State and Magic Johnson ended the Quakers’ run at a national title and eventually won it all with a victory over Indiana State and Larry Bird.
(Photo by Michigan State/Collegiate Images/Getty Images.)
Villanova went 19-10 in a rugged Big East Conference that had a pair of No. 1 seeds in the tournament in Georgetown and St. John’s. The Wildcats were a No. 8 seed and got past Michigan and top-seeded North Carolina en route to the Final Four.
After knocking off Memphis State in the national semifinals, Villanova got a third crack at Georgetown and they shot the lights out to upend the defending national champion Hoyas and become the lowest-seeded national champion in history.
(Photo by Villanova University/Collegiate Images/Getty Images)
Coach Dale Brown’s squad was plagued by injuries but the Tigers still became the first No. 11 seed to make the Final Four.
LSU beat sixth-seeded Purdue, No. 3 Memphis State, No. 2 Georgia Tech and No. 1 Kentucky on its way to the Final Four in Dallas before losing to eventual national champion Louisville.
Loyola Marymount (1990)
One of the more emotional runs in NCAA tournament history took the Lions all the way to the West Regional Final.
Loyola Marymount averaged an NCAA-record 122.4 points a game but then star forward Hank Gathers collapsed and died on the court during the West Coast Conference tournament.
Shaken at the loss of their friend and teammate, the Lions entered the tournament as the No. 11-seed despite being ranked in the top-25 to end the regular season. Loyola Marymount then won three games, including a rout of defending champion Michigan in the second round to advance to the Elite Eight.
Eventual champ UNLV ended the run but between Jeff Fryer’s long-range bombing and Gathers’ childhood friend Bo Kimble shooting his first free throw of each game left-handed in Gathers’ honor, it’s a run that will be long remembered.
(AP Photo/Bob Galbraith)
In just its second ever trip to the NCAA Tournament, Gonzaga was really only known because it was the alma mater of NBA guard John Stockton.
The 1999 team changed that and put Gonzaga on the basketball map with its tun to the Elite Eight. Led by Matt Santangelo and Casey Calvary, Gonzaga got past Florida in the Sweet 16 before the run came to an end with a loss to eventual national champ Connecticut in West Regional final.
(AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
Kent State (2002)
Future NFL star Antonio Gates was on this team that went 30-6 and become the first MAC team to advance to the Elite Eight since Ohio in 1964, when the tournament contained only 22 teams.
The Flashes knocked off seventh-seeded Oklahoma State Cowboys, second-seeded SEC champion Alabama and third-seeded Pitt in Overtime to move to the Elite Eight. The run came to an end with an 81-69 loss to Indiana.
(AP Photo/Ed Reinke)
George Mason (2006)
The Patriots went 23-7 and earned the No. 11 seed in the Washington regional.
The run started with a victory over Michigan State and then George Mason took out North Carolina and Wichita State to set up a regional final matchup with top-seeded UConn.
George Mason outlasted Rudy Gay and Connecticut, 86-84, in overtime to become the second 11-seed in history to advance to the Final Four.
(Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
Steph Curry is the NBA’s best shooter but before he became a standout for the Golden State Warriors, he led Davidsson on a magical NCAA Tournament run.
The Wildcats were the 10th seed in the Midwest regional and opened with a win over Gonzaga. Curry then scored 30 points in a win over Georgetown and 33 in a 17-point blowout of Wisconsin.
The run came to an end in the regional final as eventual champion Kansas “held” Curry 25 points in a two-point victory.
(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Butler came within inches of a national title as Gordon Hayward's last-second shot from half court nearly banked in.
Led by Hayward and Shelvin Mack, Butler beat the top two seeds in its region, Syracuse and Kansas State, and also took out Michigan State in the Final Four.
(Photo by Mark Cornelison/Lexington Herald-Leader/MCT via Getty Images)
The Rams were lucky to be in the tournament and had to play in one of the first four games to even get into the real field of 64. Once VCU got by USC in Dayton it took off and went all the way to the Final Four before being stopped by Butler.
With the run, VCU became the first team to ever win five games to get to the Final Four.
(Nuccio DiNuzzo/Chicago Tribune/MCT via Getty Images)