At Heat Check CBB, we define a “Cinderella” as a team seeded 11th or worse that reaches at least the Sweet 16.
Since 2013, exactly 17 teams have accomplished the feat. At least one team seeded 11th or worse has reached the Sweet 16 in each of the last 14 NCAA Tournaments.
However, is a seed number enough to suggest the term “Cinderella?”
After all, of the last 17 teams to meet the criteria, 11 were either high-major teams or Gonzaga. Cinderella stories like Saint Peter’s, Oral Roberts, Florida Gulf Coast and George Mason only come around every so often.
Identifying soft spots in the bracket — those unsuspecting areas from which a Cinderella may emerge — is not only an exciting exercise, but also one that could be hugely beneficial in your March Madness pool.
As noted above, 17 of 196 teams seeded 11th or worse have advanced to the Sweet 16 or further since 2013, good for 8.7 percent. Our model handpicked 29 potential Cinderellas in that span, and eight of them accomplished the Sweet 16 feat — or 27.6 percent. Fourteen of the 29 pulled off a first-round upset.
To be chosen for the “Cinderella Watch,” a team’s Sweet 16 probability must be at least one standard deviation above what an average team at that seed line would be expected to have.
|Seed||Avg. Sweet 16 Likelihood||“Cinderella Watch” Probability Threshold|
The current teams that meet our “Cinderella Watch” thresholds are in the table below, available to HC+ subscribers.
Tournament Index: 2022-23 Cinderella Watch Ratings
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