Ohio Has Produced Most NCAA Men's Basketball Cinderella Teams Since 2000

Ohio Has Produced Most NCAA Men's Basketball Cinderella Teams Since 2000
Fact Checked by Michael Peters

If you’re looking for the best NCAA men’s basketball tournament longshots as you check out Ohio sports betting sites, you might want to consider the Buckeye State’s smaller schools.

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 teams. Ohio leads the list with five double-digit seeds to reach the Sweet 16 since 2000.

After that, California, New York and Washington are tied for second with four such teams making it that far.

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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

Fanatics Sportsbook Ohio lists Connecticut as the favorite to the NCAA men’s basketball national championship at +500. Purdue is second at +800.

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How Did Five Ohio Schools Make It That Far?

Stan Heath’s only Kent State team rode a 10th seed to the Elite Eight in 2002. Ten years later it happened twice as Chris Mack led 10th seed Xavier to the second of his four Sweet 16s in nine seasons with the Minutemen, while 13th seed Ohio University made its first Sweet 16 since 1964.

Oddly enough, Ohio made that Sweet 16 by beating Heath’s only South Florida team to make the NCAA Tournament in the second round in 2012. The Bobcats beat Michigan in the first round and then took North Carolina to overtime in the Sweet 16.

Dayton rose from a tie for fifth in the Atlantic 10, a quarterfinals exit in the A-10 tournament and an 11th seed to the Elite Eight with wins over bluebloods Ohio State, Syracuse and Stanford.

Mack and Xavier were the fifth Ohio school to reach the Sweet 16 this century as a double-digit seed when they did as an 11th seed in 2017.

Heath’s magical season at Kent State was his only season there. The Golden Flashes finished 30-6 and his best player was Antonio Gates, who wound up becoming one of the best tight ends in NFL history. Gates caught 116 touchdown passes in 16 seasons with the Chargers. Kent State beat Oklahoma State, second-seeded Alabama and third-seeded Pittsburgh before losing to runners-up Indiana in a region final.

Senior guard Tu Holloway played a part on Mack’s first Sweet 16 team at Xavier in 2010 and then he led the way in 2012. The Minutemen knocked off Notre Dame and then were fortunate to avoid No. 2 seed Duke after its loss to Lehigh. Xavier beat Lehigh by 12 before falling to Baylor.

Mack’s 2015-16 team finished in the top 10 so expectations were high in 2017, but injuries led to a slow start and a seventh-place finish in the Big East. That led to a No. 11 seed in the West Region and wins over No. 6 seed Maryland, No. 3 seed Florida State and No. 2 seed Arizona before falling to No. 1 seed Gonzaga 83-59 in the region final.

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Who is This Year’s Ohio Cinderella?

ESPN bracket guru Joe Lunardi has Akron (No. 13) as the only Ohio school currently slated for a double-digit seed in the Big Dance so far. He’s got Dayton down for a No. 5 seed as the rest of the state is struggling much like the Ohio State Buckeyes, who are 15-11 and 5-10 in the Big Ten race. Only Michigan is worse at 8-18 and 3-12 in the Big Ten.

Ohio betting apps list Dayton as a +1600 bet to make the Final Four, while Ohio State is +12500.

If any of those other Ohio colleges currently struggling in their conferences get hot and win a league tournament, they would likely once again wind up as a double-digit seed. In case that happens, stay with BetOhio.com as we will have the best Ohio sportsbook promos available just in time for March Madness. 



Douglas Pils

Douglas Pils has been a sports journalist for 30 years in Texas, Arkansas and New York having worked for the San Antonio Express-News, the Associated Press, The Dallas Morning News and Newsday. He most recently ran the Student Media Department at Texas A&M for eight years.

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