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
5 of 10

2006 George Mason Patriots

  • Seed: No. 11
  • Tournament Run: Final Four
  • Final Ranking: No. 8

Another program that few people had heard of before its defining NCAA Tournament run is George Mason. In 2006, the Patriots came from out of nowhere to bust brackets all over the nation by reaching the Final Four as a No. 11 seed.

In the Big Dance, GMU had to go through some of the biggest names the sport has to offer. In the first round, the Patriots defeated No. 6 seed Michigan State 75-65 in Dayton, Ohio.

Then, they took down No. 3 seed (No. 12 ranked) North Carolina in the second round. That 65-60 win saw GMU overcome a 16-2 deficit to start the game.

The script was flipped in the Sweet Sixteen as GMU would jump out to a big lead and coast to a 63-55 win over the No. 7 seeded Wichita State Shockers. Then, in the Elite Eight, the Patriots had to tangle with the No. 1 seed (No. 2 ranked) UCONN.

In a game that was decided in overtime, GMU would shock the world 86-84 to advanced to the Final Four. It was one of the most improbable victories in NCAA Tournament history.

Unfortunately, the bright lights of the Final Four would prove to be too much for the Patriots, though. They would fall to the No. 3 seeded (No. 10 ranked) Florida Gators 73-58. However, by being just the second No. 11 seed to ever reach the Final Four, the Patriots became the story of the tournament and captured the hearts of the nation.