March Madness: States With Most Cinderella Teams in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament?

March Madness: States With Most Cinderella Teams in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament?
Fact Checked by Nate Hamilton

As the sport’s biggest month approaches, especially with North Carolina sports betting arriving, there aren’t many states that have as deep of a connection to NCAA men’s basketball as North Carolina has established over the years.  

Among the UNC Tar Heels, Duke Blue Devils, NC State Wolfpack, Wake Forest Demon Deacons and the state’s mid-majors like Davidson, UNC-Wilmington and UNC-Asheville, there’s no shortage of March Madness history at North Carolina universities from the highs of Appalachia to the shores of the Atlantic.  

With the college basketball season heating up and March Madness fast approaching, many bettors are turning their attention to who will be this year’s Cinderella team. If history tells us anything, that team will come from one of the following states. 

Every Double-Digit Seed to Make the Sweet 16 Since 2000

Seed/SchoolYear State
10/Seton Hall 2000 New Jersey
10/Gonzaga 2000 Washington
10/Georgetown 2001 Washington DC
11/Temple 2001 Pennsylvania
12/Gonzaga 2001 Washington
10/Kent State 2002 Ohio
11/Southern Illinois 2002 Illinois
12/Missouri 2002 Missouri
10/Auburn 2003 Alabama
12/Butler 2003 Indiana
10/Nevada 2004 Nevada
10/NC State 2005 North Carolina
12/Milwaukee 2005 Wisconsin
11/George Mason 2006 Virginia
13/Bradley 2006 Illinois
10/Davidson 2008 North Carolina
12/Villanova 2008 Pennsylvania
12/Western Kentucky 2008 Kentucky
12/Arizona 2009 Arizona
10/Saint Mary’s 2010 California
11/Washington 2010 Washington
12/Cornell 2010 New York
11/VCU 2011 Virginia
12/Richmond 2011 Virginia
10/Florida State 2011 Florida
12/Marquette 2011 Wisconsin
10/Xavier 2012 Ohio
11NC State 2012 North Carolina
13/Ohio 2012 Ohio
13/La Salle 2013 Pennsylvania
12/Oregon 2013 Oregon
15/Florida Gulf Coast 2013 Florida
10/Stanford 2014 California
11/Tennessee 2014 Tennessee
11/Dayton 2014 Ohio
11/UCLA 2015 California
11/Gonzaga 2016 Washington
10/Syracuse 2016 New York
11/Xavier 2017 Ohio
11/Loyola Chicago 2018 Illinois
11/Syracuse 2018 New York
12/Oregon 2019 Oregon
12/Oregon State 2021 Oregon
11/UCLA 2021 California
11/Syracuse 2021 New York
15/Oral Roberts 2021 Oklahoma
11/Michigan 2022 Michigan
11/Iowa State 2022 Iowa
10/Miami 2022 Florida
15/St. Peter’s 2022 New Jersey
15/Princeton 2023 New Jersey

States With Most Double-Digit Seeds Reaching Sweet 16

State Double-Digit Seeds In Sweet 16
Ohio 5
California 4
New York 4
Washington 4
Illinois 3
Florida 3
Pennsylvania 3
North Carolina 3
Virginia 3
New Jersey 3
Oregon 3
Wisconsin 2

Where North Carolina Ranks In Terms Of NCAA Tournament Cinderella Teams

The Wolfpack teams of 2005 and 2012, in combination with the Steph Curry-led Davidson Wildcats of 2008, represent North Carolina’s three teams that entered the Big Dance as a double-digit seed to make it to the Sweet 16.  

Those NC State teams were coached by Herb Sendek (2005) and Mark Gottfried (2012), reaching the regional semifinals each year. The Wildcats of Davidson made it all the way to the Elite Eight in 2008 before falling to Kansas, 59-57.  

That year, Curry led the Wildcats as a 10th seed over No. 7 Gonzaga in the first round, with the future Warriors star scoring 40 points in an 82-76 victory over the Bulldogs.  

From there, the star guard dropped 30 more against No. 2 seeded Georgetown to pace Davidson to another upset victory, followed by a 33-point outing in the team’s 73-56 victory over the Wisconsin Badgers in the Sweet 16 to reach the program’s first Elite Eight in 39 years.  

In total, Davidson’s Wildcats of 2008 and the Wolfpack of 2005 and 2012 are the representatives from North Carolina to reach the third round of the Big Dance as a double-digit seed this century.  

This year, ESPN bracket guru Joe Lunardi has HBCU powerhouse North Carolina Central (16th seed), Appalachian State (12th seed), UNC Wilmington (13th seed), High Point (15th seed) as this year’s double-digit crop in the 2024 Big Dance. UNC odds (2nd seed) and Duke odds (4th seed) are comfortably in the field and Wake Forest is listed as the first team out of the field of 68.  

If any of the five North Carolina colleges currently listed as a 10th seed or higher get hot at the right time, the state could add to their already impressive Cinderella count in 2024, drawing ever closer to national leaders Ohio (five teams since 2000), California, New York and Washington State (four teams apiece since 2000).   

Stay with as we will have the best North Carolina sportsbook promos available just in time for March Madness. 



Christopher Boan

Christopher Boan is a lead writer at specializing in covering state issues. He has covered sports and sports betting in Arizona for more than seven years, including stops at, the Tucson Weekly and the Green Valley News.

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