NCAA Basketball March Madness

NCAA Tournament: 5 Cinderella Teams That Could Emerge During Conference Tournaments

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5 Cinderella Teams That Could Emerge During Conference Tournaments

5 Cinderella Teams That Could Emerge During Conference Tournaments
Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

There seems to be that one team every year that defies the odds and makes a run in the NCAA tournament as a low-seeded team.

Over the years, the likes of George Mason, Butler and Virginia Commonwealth have went on magical runs, advancing to the Final Four after starting the tournament as low seeds.

Last year, it was Florida Gulf Coast's turn. After earning a No. 15 seed to start the tournament, the Eagles upset Georgetown and San Diego State to advance to the Sweet 16. The run captured the attention of the entire nation and helped the school get the nickname Dunk City.

With this year's NCAA tournament just around the corner, small schools are battling for a chance to follow in Florida Gulf Coast's footsteps. As we have seen over the years, anything is possible in March. The NCAA tournament gives teams from lesser conferences a chance to show that they can play with the big dogs of college basketball, even though they weren't recruited by the powers. It gives players a chance to create a name and legacy for themselves and their schools.

With conference tournaments underway, here's a look at five teams that could emerge as cinderella candidates for the NCAA tournament.

Spencer Impellizzeri is a MLB writer for Rant Sports. He also covers college basketball. Follow him on Twitter @Spence_I or on Google +

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5. Belmont Bruins

Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

The Belmont Bruins have already advanced to the championship game of the Ohio Valley Conference tournament, and have proven that they have the ability to make a run in March. The Bruins have beaten North Carolina on the road, and played some other tight games with Kentucky and Virginia Commonwealth this season. A veteran team, Belmont is a serious threat to win some games this March.

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4. Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks

Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports

The Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks have had a lot of success this season, as the Lumberjacks are 28-2 and 17-0 in the Southland Conference. After starting the season out 3-2, the Lumberjacks have reeled off 25 straight wins and could be a dangerous team in the tournament. Four different players average double-figures in scoring, making the Lumberjacks a very dangerous team.

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3. Georgia State Panthers

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The Georgia State Panthers will be top seed in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament after winning the regular season title, and if they win the tournament, the Panthers could be a dangerous matchup in March. The Panthers had a rough start to the season, going 3-6, but have righted the ship since and currently sit at 23-7. Georgia State is led by a high-scoring backcourt duo of R.J. Hunter and Ryan Harrow, who could be a real matchup problem for opponents.

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2. Harvard Crimson

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

The Harvard Crimson are already in the NCAA tournament as the Ivy League doesn't play a conference tournament, and they look to have the makings of a cinderella team. Harvard upset New Mexico in last season's NCAA tournament, and almost all of the key performers are back on this year's team. The Crimson also have a pair of key players who were suspended last season back. Harvard has played some tight games against the likes of Connecticut and Colorado, proving that they can compete with the best of them in the tournament.

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1. Wisconsin-Green Bay Phoenix

Green Bay
Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

The Wisconsin-Green Bay Phoenix are in prime position to make a run in this year's NCAA tournament. Green Bay is the top seed in the Horizon Conference tournament and if they can avoid being upset, they should be a threat in this year's tournament. The Phoenix have a big win over ACC champ Virginia and a talented inside-outside duo of Alec Brown and Keifer Sykes who should make Green Bay a tough out.