March Madness: Where have you gone, Cinderella?

NCAA Tournament: Thirty years after Villanova’s stunning upset of Georgetown for the 1985 crown, the best Cinderella story since then has been a handful of close calls.

By Greg DePalma, PSN Executive Producer

>>Listen live to Prime Sports College Hoops, Saturday at 11 a.m. ET

The good news takes us back 30 years when the Villanova Wildcats arguably engineered the biggest upset in tournament history with their win over Patrick Ewing’s Georgetown Hoyas. It was the age of the Cinderella with Jim Valvano’s North Carolina State Wolfpack upsetting Hakeem Olajiuwan and Phi Slama Jama 2 years prior.

What’s the bad news? It’s been 30 years!

We’ve seen close calls with Butler, George Mason, Virginia Commonwealth and Wichita State, but this is getting ridiculous. So what are the chances we’ll see a Cinderella this season – and in case we have one, how can we cash that lottery ticket?

Here are the teams that qualify as true Cinderellas and have the best shot at breaking the streak. Keep in mind we categorize a Cinderella as a team with either a low seed or a lack of national name recognition:

Cinderella’s Final 4

  • Buffalo (500-1): The Bulls are coached by a Coach K disciple in Bobby Hurley and led undefeated Kentucky by five at halftime in Lexington earlier this season.
  • Davidson (300-1): The Wildcats are coached by a mid-major legend in Bob McKillop and have one of the top offensive teams in the country led by senior Tyler Kolinoski and sophomore Jack Gibbs.
  • Dayton (100-1): The Flyers made it to the Elite Eight last season and return their top player in senior Jordan Sibert. They also get to play their first three games in their home state if they make it that far.
  • Northern Iowa (66-1): Even though the Panthers are a #5 seed you can bet if they make the Final Four, announcers will be asking if the slipper fits this veteran team led by senior Seth Tuttle. The Panthers have won 30 games and find themselves in a region that does not own a true powerhouse. So if you’re looking for the top longshot in the field, they happen to live in Cedar Falls , Iowa.

NCAA Second Round: Best bets

Now that the First Four is behind us, it’s time to get serious with second-round action all day Thursday and Friday. There is nothing like it all year in sports.

Thursday’s Picks

  • 5 STARS: VCU +4 vs. Ohio State
  • 4 STARS: Ole Miss +3 vs. Xavier
  • 3 STARS: SMU -4 over UCLA
  • 3 STARS: Harvard +11 over North Carolina
  • UPSET: Stephen F. Austin +7 (+245) over Utah

Friday’s Picks

  • 5 STARS: Wichita State -5 over Indiana
  • 4 STARS: Michigan State -6 over Georgia
  • 3 STARS: Davidson +3 over Iowa
  • 3 STARS: Northern Iowa -6 over Wyoming
  • UPSET: Buffalo +5 (+175) over West Virginia
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