Busting Brackets

March Madness: Where does NC State rank among Cinderella teams in the past 20 years?

North Carolina State, an 11 seed, just made the Final Four, marking it as the 6th time a 11 seed has reached the Final Four. Where does this North Carolina State team rank among Cinderella teams in the past 20 years?

NC State v Duke
NC State v Duke / Lance King/GettyImages
3 of 3

2. #11 Seed George Mason (2006)

2006 George Mason was the first ever 11 seed to make the Final Four, and they did so in improbable fashion. Still to this day, some people refer to George Mason as the greatest Cinderella story in the history of the tournament. What made George Mason so special and so unique was that no one knew who they were, and they barely squeaked into the tournament. The Patriots defeated #6 Michigan State in the first round, which was their first-ever NCAA Tournament win. They then went on to defeat #3 North Carolina and #7 Wichita State.

The Patriots matched up with #1 UConn in the Elite Eight where no one gave them a chance. Missed free throws by George Mason and a buzzer-beater by UConn forced overtime. Jai Lucas for George Mason missed 2 free throws up 2 with 5 seconds left leaving the door open for UConn, however, the Patriots had a little luck left and Denham Brown missed a 3 for the win. George Mason went on to lose to eventual National Champion Florida in the Final Four ending their run. The Patriots are a March Madness legend, and their run was the first of its kind.

1. #5 seed Butler (2010)

#5 seed Butler comes in as the highest seed on this list, but also the only team on this list to make the National Championship. A 5 seed may not be a full Cinderella story, but Butler was not expected to make the National Championship and be inches away from taking down Duke. Butler not yet in the Big East was a member of the Horizon League and was dominant going 18-0.

However, no one gave them a chance because the Big East, SEC, and ACC dominated College Basketball at the time. Butler took down #12 UTEP, and #13 Murray State, and then shocked the world by taking down #1 Syracuse to advance to the Elite Eight. The Bulldogs took down #2 Kansas State which advanced them to the Final Four. There, they took down #5 Michigan State and set themselves up with a matchup against the #1 team in the country, Duke. Butler came in as big underdogs and left the world stunned.

With 3.6 seconds left and up by 2, Brian Zoubek of Duke missed a free throw leaving the door open for Gordon Hayward. Hayward grabbed the rebound, had a perfect screen set for him and launched a half-court shot, that hit the backboard and bounced out just missing by an inch. Marking the end of one of the greatest Championship games in College Basketball history. The Butler almost did it.

Next. Top 30 "covid year" player decisions to watch. Top 30 "covid year" player decisions to watch. dark

This weekend North Carolina State has the chance to move up on this list dramatically and advance where only Butler has on this list, the National Championship. Anything is possible in March as we can see by these teams and their stories, so "Why Not Us?".