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Wayne Staats | | March 17, 2022

Virginia Tech is the most popular Cinderella in the 2022 NCAA tournament

Andy Katz breaks down the best 12-16 seeds to pick for an upset

Many Men's Bracket Challenge Game players think Cinderella is coming from...the ACC.

No. 11 seed Virginia Tech is the team seeded eighth or worse with the highest percentage picked to advance to the Sweet 16. As brackets locked Thursday, Virginia Tech was a Sweet 16 pick on 16.85 percent of completed MBCG brackets. We chose starting with No. 8 seeds or lower because that is the lowest seed to win the tournament (1985 Villanova) since the field expanded to 64 in 1985.

The Hokies certainly go into March Madness on a roll, as they won four games in four days to take the ACC tournament title. That included double-digit wins against North Carolina and Duke. Virginia Tech's run started before the tournament, however, as it was 10-10 after losing to Miami on Jan. 26. Since then, Virginia Tech is 13-2.

There are some similarities between this year's most popular Cinderella and last year's Georgetown. The Hoyas won four times in four days as the eighth seed in the Big East tournament, earning the league's automatic bid and getting a No. 12 seed. The Hoyas ended up being a Sweet 16 pick on 14.03 percent of MBCG brackets, but they lost to No. 5 Colorado in the first round. However, No. 11 Syracuse, the second-most popular Cinderella pick at 11.19 percent, did embark on a Sweet 16 run.

In all, six teams seeded No. 8 or lower are selected to make the Sweet 16 on at least 10 percent of brackets. After Virginia Tech, No. 8 North Carolina is next at 15.65 percent. No. 10 Loyola Chicago, which made the Final Four and Sweet 16 since. 2018, is close behind at 14.37 percent.

Here's a look at this year's most popular Sweet 16 selections on BCG brackets by seeds No. 8 or lower getting at least 5 percent:

Seed TEAm Percent picked to Sweet 16
11 Virginia Tech 16.85
8 North Carolina 15.65
10 Loyola Chicago 14.37
13 South Dakota State 14.13
13 Vermont 13.98
11 Michigan 12.67
10 Miami (Fla.) 9.30
12 UAB 8.59
11 Iowa State 6.22
12 Indiana 6.21
10 Davidson 5.89
11 Notre Dame 5.69
13 Chattanooga 5.23
14 Colgate 5.14
14 Montana State 5.04

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