2022 March Madness Cinderella Spotlight: NCAA Tournament Cinderella Teams that Could Make a Deep Run

Jordan Ramsay | Updated Mar 16, 2022

There's bracket busters every year in the NCAA Tournament and Sports Interaction has your complete Cinderella Spotlight guide. We're picking one Cinderella team from each region that poses a serious threat to bust your 2022 March Madness bracket.

Are you a March Madness fan looking for tips to help fill out your bracket?  You’ve come to the right place.  College basketball has become increasingly more balanced over the last few years and the talent gap between the higher and lower seeds is closing.  That’s great news from an entertainment standpoint, but with several potential upsets in the first round, brackets become that much harder to predict.

Which Cinderella teams could make a run this year?  Sports Interaction has you covered with our Cinderella Spotlight.  We’re picking one team from each region that has the potential to turn heads and go on a serious run in the 2022 NCAA Tournament.

Make sure to check out Sports Interaction’s updated NCAA basketball odds for every game and NCAA futures for full tournament odds.  You can also take a look at our complete list of previews for every March Madness game.

West Region

Davidson Wildcats (No. 10 seed)

West Region Odds: +4877

Tournament Odds: +27600

Davidson’s best tournament result was in 2008.  Steph Curry led the team to their only Elite Eight appearance in school history, before losing a close game against the eventual champion Kansas City Jayhawks.  This year, the Wildcats rank within the top 10 nationally in three-point shooting, hitting 38.6 per cent of shots from beyond the arc.  That success helped them hit 12 of 24 threes earlier this year in a non-conference win against an Alabama team that is fairly comparable to Michigan, their first round matchup.

Size will be a big advantage for this team.  Their lineup includes big men Luka Brajkovic and Sam Mennenga, 6’10” and 6’9″ respectively, as well as starting wing Hyunjung Lee at 6’7″.  Brajkovic and Lee are among the best shooters in the nation and all three players are capable of hitting outside shots.  Foster Loyer and Michael Jones round out the offence as two more players with the potential to take over the game.  This is an offence that moves and shares the ball, making it difficult to prepare for.

East Region

Indiana Hoosiers (No. 12 seed)

East Regions Odds: +3404

Tournament Odds: +13900

Indiana is hoping they’ll be able to take a page out of UCLA’s book from last year and go from the First Four to a deep run.  The Hoosiers had a great Big Ten tournament, picking up wins against Michigan and Illinois, before blowing a late lead against Iowa in the semifinals.

Point guard Xavier Johnson has had an up-and-down season, but when he’s on his game he is a complete difference maker.  Johnson is averaging 18 points, four rebounds and just under seven assists over his last eight games and his aggressive attacking style works well with Trayce Jackson Davis.  Indiana easily took out Wyoming in the First Four and they should be able to beat Saint Mary’s in the first round.  UCLA will be a tougher matchup in the second round, but the if Hoosiers can continue through the tournament, they’ll eventually face a banged up Baylor team that’s vulnerable.

South Region

Loyola Ramblers (No. 10 seed)

South Region Odds: +2400

Tournament Odds: +17200

Drew Valentine led Loyola to an MVC Tournament championship in his first season as head coach.  Valentine, who is the youngest head coach in Division I history at 30-years-old, has been on the coaching staff since 2017 and was part of the teams that made the Final Four in 2018 and the Sweet 16 last year.  This is a fast team that is another offensive juggernaut.  They rank in the top 10 nationally in three-point shooting, hitting 38.3 per cent of their shots from beyond the arc, and they’re in the top 25 in defensive efficiency.

This is also a veteran team.  Six of seven key players from last year’s Sweet 16 team are back for another run.  The Ramblers have already defeated San Francisco, Vanderbilt, DePaul and Arizona State this year and they were in tight games against Auburn and Michigan State.  They’ve drawn a struggling Ohio State in the first round and they stack up well against No. 2 seed Villanova.  Loyola is a serious threat.

Midwest Region

South Dakota State Jackrabbits (No. 13 seed)

Midwest Region Odds: +8010

Tournament Odds: +38900

This is South Dakota’s first 30-win season in school history and it’s been three months since their last loss.  They went 18-0 in Summit League play, with 12 of those wins coming by double-digits.  The Jackrabbits have been on the verge of Cinderella status for years, with close first round losses to the likes of Baylor, Michigan and Gonzaga in the last decade.  This year’s team looks primed to finally make a run.

South Dakota’s offence is absolutely lethal.  They lead the nation with 44.9 per cent three-point shooting and their 86.7 points per game average is second only to Gonzaga’s 87.8 ppg.  Their field goal percentage is 52.5 per cent, again only trailing Gonzaga at 52.7 per cent.  The Jackrabbits have drawn a fairly favourable first round matchup against a Providence team that struggles offensively and was blown out by Virginia, Marquette and Creighton this season.  South Dakota won’t need to worry about Gonzaga until late in the tournament, so their offence has a chance to carry them far.