A potential Cinderella may have a familiar look in the 2023 NCAA men's tournament, according to completed brackets in the Men's Bracket Challenge Game.
Two years ago, Oral Roberts stunned No. 2 Ohio State and No. 7 Florida to make the Sweet 16 as a No. 15 seed. Now, fans think ORU could make it back as a No. 12.
As brackets locked on Thursday, Oral Roberts stood out as one of two favorite double-digit seeds to make the Sweet 16 on the highest percentage of Men's Bracket Challenge Game brackets. The Golden Eagles reached the Sweet 16 on 14.8 percent of brackets, joining fellow No. 12 Charleston (14.8 percent).
Expanding a little further out to include slightly less eye-opening Cinderellas, Memphis is at 17.28 percent to make the Sweet 16 — the most-picked team seeded No. 8 or lower.
Last year, Virginia Tech was the MBCG users' pick as Cinderella at 16.85 percent. The Hokies won four games in four days to win the ACC tournament and got a No. 11 seed in the NCAA tournament. However, Virginia Tech lost to No. 6 Texas in the first round.
The Oral Roberts pick comes as ORU goes into March Madness at 30-4 and winners of 17 games in a row — the Golden Eagles haven't lost since Jan. 9 (New Mexico). Max Abmas is the star and is likely a familiar name to college basketball fans from ORU's Sweet 16 run in 2021. Abmas made five 3-pointers and scored 29 points as Oral Roberts took out No. 2 Ohio State. He then posted 26 points against No. 7 Florida to help his team reach the Sweet 16 for the first time since 1974. This season, Abmas averages 22.2 points and 3.5 3-pointers per game.
But, Charleston, Memphis and ORU weren't the only ones getting Cinderella-type advancement. Here's the list of teams seeded No. 8 or lower making the Sweet 16 on at least 5 percent of completed MBCG brackets.
|Seed||Team||Percent picked to Sweet 16|
|No. 12||Oral Roberts||14.00|
|No. 11||NC State||9.19|
|No. 10||Penn State||8.15|
|No. 13||Kent State||5.52|