March Madness Cinderella Predictions 2023

Last Updated: Mar 14, 2023

Searching for a Cinderella is never easy. With March comes a fresh bracket, and with that comes a slew of teams capable of flipping March Madness on its head.

Finding those sleeper NCAA tournament teams is the key to winning a bracket. At least a handful will make noise over the coming weeks. The question, of course, is which ones?

That is what we set out to do today. We’re looking for Cinderella, and we’ve got plenty of options to pick from. Let’s explore.

March Madness Top Cinderella Teams

Please note that all CBB odds and lines when talking about NCAA Tournament Cinderella teams are current as of Monday, March. 13, at 10 p.m. ET, and provided courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook.

1. Furman

The South’s 13-seed should have a ton of life against Virginia. (Read our full South Region betting predictions.) One of the nation’s top offenses is a small underdog against the 4-seed, and they have an offense that can really score.

Keep tabs on the latest March Madness futures:

As long as Furman hits enough threes, it could provide Virginia with another early exit. From there, the Paladins would then play San Diego State or Charleston. While neither win will come easy, this team has enough offense for a Sweet 16 surge.

BET: Furman to Reach Sweet 16 (+750) | DraftKings Sportsbook

2. Kent State

The oddsmakers certainly like Kent State’s chances against Indiana in the Midwest as a 12-seed, making them a slight dog to one of the Big Ten’s best programs. Given the fact that the Golden Flashes have won 12 of the last 14 games, it’s not hard to see why.

Kent State would then get the winner of Drake-Miami and perhaps a crack at No. 1 Houston after that.

Considering Kent State nearly beat Houston earlier in the year, nothing is impossible. This is a fun, feisty team.

3. Charleston

With a record of 31-3, Charleston knows how to win. The question for the 12-seed in the South, however, is how all that winning will translate to elevated competition.

We’ll get a decent idea when the Cougars take on San Diego State in the opening round. After that, Charleston could take on Furman, which we have already discussed. If that is the case, one of these two teams will be on a Cinderella path.

4. Drake

Well, Vegas has plenty to say about this one. The No. 12 seed is just a two-point underdog to Miami in the Midwest, which says plenty about what the Hurricanes are up against. The Missouri Valley champs won 13 of 14 games to close out the year, winning all but three of those games by double digits.

Win this game, and Drake will get Indiana or Kent State. Once again, we’re feeling Cinderella heavy in the middle of the bracket.

5. VCU

Let’s head West and highlight VCU, another 12-seed capable of a run. Just a four-point underdog, the Rams won 11 of 12 games to close out the year. Only two of those wins were single digits.

Saint Mary’s will be a challenge, and then drawing a potential matchup against UConn in the next round. Reaching the Sweet 16 would be a gargantuan accomplishment, but it is by no means out of the realm of possibility.

More NCAA Tournament Cinderellas To Consider

  • Oral Roberts: Given how Duke has played, few Round 1 upsets would be more shocking. Look out for another 12-seed.
  • Montana State: How about a 14-seed? Kansas State is rock solid, although a single-digit point spread is worthy of note.

What is a March Madness Cinderella Team?

A Cinderella is one of the greatest gifts in all of sports.

Specifically, it’s when a lower seeded team, one not expected to win a single game, makes a deep run through the March Madness bracket. While the definition of a Cinderella ultimately depends on the evaluator, typically this is a team at an 8-seed or below.

Just last year, we saw No. 15 Saint Peter’s make a run to the Elite 8. It’s one of the greatest Cinderella runs ever, and it will be difficult for any team to duplicate this magic this year.

But you never know…

How do you pick a March Madness Cinderella Team?

Pick Your Spots

It’s not just about finding the right team; it’s finding the right opponent and placement in a region to produce success. In a weird but somehow fitting way, it starts with the opportunity more than the actual team.

Cram for the Exam

Let me guess; you didn’t watch much of Furman basketball over the last few months. That’s perfectly fine and normal! This is the time to do enough stat-diving and result analysis to be dangerous. Find your angle and latch on.

Scout the Odds

This, more than anything, is how I spot Cinderella. I let the oddsmakers do it for me. While a big spread doesn’t always guarantee losses, letting the best experts in the world have their say before filling out a bracket is key. Spot the line you like and act.


Adam Kramer

Adam Kramer is an NFL, college football, and gambling analyst for The Game Day. While college football has long been his calling, he’s also covered sports such as boxing, horse racing, and baseball at The Game Day and in other places. He’s also written for Bleacher Report, VSiN, and various other outlets over the past decade-plus.

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