Top 10 March Madness Cinderella Teams Before 2000

I previously made a list about modern Cinderella teams since 2000. Now let’s go back in March Madness history a little bit to before the 2000s. Here I present 10 Cinderella teams before 2000.

The Top Ten

1 1983 NC State Wolfpack

NC State had one of the most iconic runs in tournament history. They beat Pepperdine in double overtime by two, UNLV by one and then beat Utah comfortably in the Sweet 16 before having to defeat Virginia, the No. 1 seed in the West region, for the second time since the end of the regular season. The title game against Hakeem Olajuwon, Clyde Drexler and that star-studded Houston team remains not only one of the best college basketball games of all time but the fourth-biggest point spread in an upset in a national title game. No Cinderella story captured hearts and minds of fans quite like Jim Valvano and "The Cardiac Pack." - Randomator

2 1985 Villanova Wildcats

Even now The Wildcats are still the lowest seed to win a national title, doing so in the first year of the 64-team bracket. Far from a mid-major, Villanova won the NCAA Tournament in a year that a Big East dominated the college basketball landscape and put three teams in the Final Four, they just weren't the Big East team that anyone expected to win it all. They ended up shooting 78.6 percent to stun a great Georgetown team - Randomator

3 1990 Loyola Marymount Lions

They might have only made the elite 8 but Loyola Marymount set a Division I record with 122.4 points per game that season, but their impact on college basketball comes with the tragic human element that binds the entire LMU team from that season together. In the conference semifinals, star Hank Gathers collapsed on the court and died of heart failure. Despite this tragedy the team maintained its high-scoring ways including dropping 149 points on Michigan, the defending champs, in the second round. - Randomator

4 1986 LSU Tigers

LSU became the first 11-seed to make the Final Four, the lowest seed ever, and did so after barely making the tournament. The Tigers won just eight of their last 19 games but still got a home-court advantage in the draw that brought an expected amount of grumbling from the opposition. LSU beat Purdue in double overtime, took down Memphis on an Anthony Wilson buzzer beater and finally beat Kentucky after three losses to the Wildcats earlier in the year. Dale Brown's defense played a huge role in the unexpected tournament run - Randomator

5 1988 Kansas Jayhawks The Kansas Jayhawks, commonly referred to as KU, are the teams of the athletic department at the University of Kansas. They are currently a member of the Big 12 Conference

Normally Kansas is a tournament bully or a team that plays the Cinderella Step sister card in the dance. However they were the Cinderella in 1988. Kansas was a 6 seed that year going into the 1988 national championship game against a Conference rival in Oklahoma who had 35 wins and two of them against Kansas. But the Jayhawks had the best player in college basketball that year, Danny Manning, and a willing but beat-up roster that history now simply refers to as the "Miracles." Instead of being intimidated by Oklahoma's defensive pressure coach Larry Brown decided to play at their pace and take his chances with Manning (who finished with 31 points, 18 rebounds, two blocks and five steals) leading the way. Kansas had dealt with injuries, suspensions and disappointments throughout the year but finished on top with its first national title since Phog Allen was the head coach in Lawrence. - Randomator

6 1984 Virginia Cavaliers The Virginia Cavaliers football team represents the University of Virginia in the sport of American football. The Cavaliers compete in the Football Bowl Subdivision of the National Collegiate Athletic Association and the Coastal Division of the Atlantic Coast Conference.

After four years of being favored in every game thanks to 7'4" legend Ralph Sampson, Virginia faced a rough adjustment period in 1983-84. The Cavaliers finished just 17-11, earning a mere seventh seed in the East regional. Amazingly even without Sampson Virginia managed to match the best tournament run they had made with him, as Olden Polynice (filling Sampson's center spot) and Rick Carlisle led the Cavaliers to upsets of Arkansas (an OT thriller won by Carlisle's jumper), Syracuse and Indiana before falling to Houston in the final four - Randomator

7 1987 Providence Friars

The Friars made the final Four with Rick Pitino as coach. He relied heavily on point guard Billy Donovan, who dropped 35 points in the first round, 35 points in the second round and 26 in an upset of 2-seed Alabama in the Sweet 16. Up next was Big East rival Georgetown in a rubber match after a 1-1 split in the season series. Donovan -- then "Billy the Kid" to some -- had 20 points against the Hoyas to propel the Friars into the Final Four. - Randomator

8 1979 Penn Quakers

Penn started its Final Four run with a win against Iona, coached by Jim Valvano, in Reynolds Coliseum just a few years before Jimmy V would take over the head job in that same building and lead the Wolfpack to the national championship. The Quakers went on to beat 1-seed North Carolina in Raleigh, then Syracuse and St. John's in Greensboro. Penn's run ended against Magic Johnson and Michigan State in the Final Four as the Spartans would go on to play in one of the most memorable title games of all time against Larry Bird and Indiana State. - Randomator

9 1999 Gonzaga Bulldogs The Gonzaga Bulldogs are the intercollegiate athletic teams representing Gonzaga University, located in Spokane, Washington, United States.

You could say This was the start of it all for Mark Few, the first run that made Gonzaga a regular contender in the college basketball world. Now the Zags are battling for top seeds on an annual basis and no longer considered a Cinderella. The Zags beat No. 2 Stanford in the second round, then beat Florida in the Sweet 16 on a basket with four seconds left before falling to Rip Hamilton's UConn Huskies in the Elite Eight. - Randomator

10 1986 Cleveland State Vikings

This was a pretty obscure team but they won their league in 1986 to force their way in the dance. Cleveland State received the NCAA tournament’s No. 14 seed. Its first-round opponent? None other than legendary coach Bobby Knight, star guard Steve Alford and the third-seeded Indiana Hoosiers who they stunned with creativity on both sides of the ball and eventually made it to the sweet 16 - Randomator

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