Busting Brackets

NCAA Basketball: Top 25 NCAA Tournament cinderellas since 2000

George Mason Patriots. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
George Mason Patriots. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images) /
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Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders
Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /

24) 2016 Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders, No. 15-seed

Record: 25-10, Round of 32
Beat: (2) Michigan State Spartans

Yes, the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders only won one game in the tournament, but it was a huge upset over a powerful Michigan State Spartans team. The Spartans were a trendy Final Four pick. Some even had them winning the whole thing. Middle Tennessee had other plans ,as they wrecked the brackets of many people.

The Blue Raiders would finish 13-5 and in second in Conference USA, but would win the conference tournament by two over the Old Dominion Monarchs to get the auto bid for the conference. They were a good team that year, but not great one. There were few, if any, who thought they could beat the Spartans.

Middle Tennessee not only beat Michigan State, the Blue Raiders controlled most of the game. They led by six at halftime and never trailed the entire game. The only time the game was even tied was at 2-2 extremely early in the first half.

Michigan State would get within one a couple of times in the second half, but Middle Tennessee always responded before pulling away late. All five starters for the Blue Raiders would score in double figures, led by Reggie Upshaw Jr. scoring 21 points. Middle Tennessee proved to be the tougher team and it showed, as they did what they wanted against a shocked Michigan State team.

Head coach Kermit Davis led this team to one of the biggest upsets in the last 20 years. For one night, the Blue Raiders were the talk of the NCAA Tournament. Their run would end two days later when the Syracuse Orange came out ready for them and knocked them off. That being said, beating a tourney favorite will land you on the list of top cinderellas.