Odds and Ends

Brackets and Bets: Searching for This Year's Cinderellas

by NBC Sports EDGE Staff
Updated On: March 16, 2023, 10:52 pm ET

Everyone is in search of this year's Cinderellas -- those one or two teams in your bracket that no one else has the guts to play, but end up paying of big time. Which team will the glass slipper fit perfectly in the 2023 NCAA Tournament?

First, though, lets look back at some of the great Cinderellas. You cannot help but smile remembering any of the following (unless the team they beat was your alma mater) championship teams like the 1983 North Carolina State Wolfpack with Jim Valvano frantically running around the court looking for someone to hug after Lorenzo Charles scored the game-winning basket against the Houston Cougars or Danny Manning and the Miracles (Kansas Jayhawks) in 1988.

However, more than surprise national champions qualify as Cinderellas. For instance, Shaka Smart and the VCU Rams in 2011 survived the play-in game and eventually reached the Final Four. Just last year Shaheen Holloway and the Peacocks of St. Peter's defied the odds and reached the Final Four.

Those were four of the largest Cinderellas in tournament history. Make no mistake. There will be Cinderellas in 2023. How many and how large are yet to be determined, but there is at least one school that will surprise in the 2023 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament.

Jay Croucher (@croucherJD), Drew Dinsick (@whale_capper) and Vaughn Dalzell (@VmoneySports) broke down the Tournament from a variety of angles including which teams they think have the best chances to be Cinderellas. .

Betting the NCAA Tournament

“Lets go with the Gauchos – UC Santa Barbara…I like this team a lot, especially to get the upset over the Baylor Bears,” said Dalzell. “UC Santa Barbara actually brings back 66% of their minutes from last year…and while everyone says Baylor, they've been great and fantastic on offense…they are 104th in defensive efficiency and last in the Big Ten. UC Santa Barbara – They're coming.”

Drew Dinsick is salivating over the Utah State Aggies.

“They are a much, much better squad than the Missouri Tigers. And then I think they match up especially well against an Arizona team that is a little bit of a paper Tiger here. So I think the Aggies are going to the Sweet 16.”

Dinsick also likes the Drake Bulldogs.

“The Drake Bulldogs…criminally underseeded as a 12-seed. However, the committee did them right by giving them a very soft matchup against an injured Miami team in Round 1 and then a very favorable potential Round 2 against either Indiana or Kent State.”

Dalzell looked to the East Region for his next play.

“…let's go to the Sun Belt aka the Fun Belt and go Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns taking on the Tennessee Volunteers…Did you know that Rick Barnes as Tennessee Vols coach is 2-13 ATS in March Madness? That is not very good.”

You can find more Brackets and Betting videos on the NBC Sports YouTube page as well as on Bet the EDGE weekdays wherever you find your favorite podcasts.

Enjoy the games and enjoy the sweat.