3 Teams Capable of a Cinderella Run in NCAA Tournament

As the NCAA Tournament draws near, basketball fans worldwide eagerly anticipate the excitement, drama and upsets that characterize March Madness. While perennial powerhouses often dominate the headlines, the tournament’s charm lies in the potential for Cinderella stories, where underdog teams defy expectations and make deep runs. 

This year, three teams – McNeese, Samford, and Drake – are poised to capture the imagination of fans and pundits alike with their potential for a remarkable journey through the tournament.

McNeese Cowboys

Will Wade has done a tremendous job in his first season leading the Cowboys. They are riding an 11-game winning streak after winning the Southland Conference Tournament championship. The Cowboys are 30-3, making their first NCAA Tournament since 2002.

McNeese has competed at a high level throughout the season. The Cowboys’ tenacity on both ends of the court and a balanced scoring attack make them a formidable opponent for any team.

Filled with veteran players, the Cowboys possess the intangible qualities necessary for a deep tournament run. Four players are averaging at least 11 points per game, with Shahada Wells leading the way with 17.8 points.

McNeese is averaging 80.4 points per game and allowing opponents to score 61.5 points. The Cowboys are shooting 38.8% from 3, which ranks eighth in college basketball.

Samford Bulldogs

The Bulldogs enter the NCAA Tournament with a potent offensive arsenal and a strategic approach that has baffled opponents all season. Boasting one of the most prolific scoring offenses in the nation, Samford’s ability to execute on offense and capitalize on scoring opportunities sets them apart from their competitors.

Under the guidance of a savvy coaching staff, the Bulldogs have developed a tactical acumen that allows them to exploit mismatches and dictate the pace of play. Their ability to adapt to varying styles of play and make in-game adjustments gives them a significant advantage in tournament settings, where every possession counts.

The Bulldogs are averaging 86 points per game (fifth in Division I) and shooting 39.3% from 3 (seventh in Division I). They have four players who average double figures in scoring per game.

With a roster brimming with talent and a game plan tailored for success, Samford has the potential to make a deep run and leave a lasting impression on college basketball fans everywhere.

Drake Bulldogs

The Bulldogs are battle-tested after capturing their second consecutive NCAA Tournament berth by making it through the Missouri Valley Tournament. They defeated top-seeded Indiana State in the conference title game and have four Quad 1 wins and three Quad 2 wins this season.

Drake is a quality and well-balanced team that can frustrate teams on the defensive end. The Bulldogs average 80.5 points per game and allow 70.5 points per contest. They also outrebound teams and force 12.3 turnovers per game.

They have four players who average double digits in scoring, with Tucker DeVries being the focal point of the team’s offense. The junior forward is averaging 21.8 points and 6.8 rebounds per contest. He can score from anywhere on the court and is tough for opposing teams to defend.

Conclusion: Embracing the Madness

As the NCAA Tournament unfolds, the basketball world will eagerly watch to see which teams will seize the spotlight and etch their names into March Madness lore. While perennial contenders will undoubtedly vie for championship glory, the allure of the underdog narrative remains ever-present, offering hope and inspiration to teams like McNeese, Samford, and Drake.

With a combination of talent, resilience, and strategic acumen, these teams have the potential to make a deep run in the tournament and captivate audiences with their compelling journeys. As fans brace themselves for the madness that lies ahead, they will undoubtedly keep a close eye on these underdog darlings, eagerly cheering them on as they chase basketball glory on the biggest stage of them all.

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Dan Zielinski III
Dan Zielinski III
Dan Zielinski III is the creator of Mid-Major Basketball and has covered college basketball since 2013. He grew up around mid-major college basketball and has developed a strong passion for writing stories as an award-winning journalist. He has extensive experience covering the Green Bay Packers, Milwaukee Bucks, Milwaukee Brewers, Milwaukee Panthers and Nebraska Cornhuskers as a credentialed media member. His website,, is a leading source for MLB draft content.

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