Busting Brackets

10 March Madness Cinderella teams that stole our hearts

March Madness is all about the upsets and these ten Cinderellas stole America's heart as they made their runs.

Loyola v Kansas State
Loyola v Kansas State / Kevin C. Cox/GettyImages
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1990 Loyola Marymount Lions

  • Seed: No. 11
  • Tournament Run: Elite Eight
  • Final Ranking: No. 21

Perhaps the most sentimental Cinderella run ever was the 1990 Loyola Marymount Lions. Playing in the NCAA Tournament just weeks after star Hank Gathers collapsed and died on the court during a game, they reached the Elite 8 in the most improbable of runs.

Seeded 11th in their region, the Lions used a high-powered offense to take down No. 6 seed New Mexico State 111-92 in the first round. They then hung 145 points on No. 3 seed Michigan (the No. 13 team in the country and the defending National Champions) in a 34-point win.

In the Sweet 16, LMU faced No. 7 seed and No. 23-ranked Alabama. In a shockingly low-scoring game for the high-flying Lions, they would advance with a 62-60 win to reach the Elite 8.

Unfortunately, the glass slipper would break when LMU faced UNLV, the No. 1 see in the region an the No. 2 team in the polls. In the 131-101 loss, the Lions simply couldn't keep pace with the star-studded Runnin' Rebels.

Still, the LMU Lions captured America's heart after overcoming a tragedy just days prior to the start of the tournament. Making a run to the Elite Eight not only honored Gathers' memory but also helped many college basketball fans and members of the LMU family heal. That's why the 1990 Lions were America's team during their March Madness run.