2012 College Basketball Playoff: Cinderella Madness

Results from the 2012 College Basketball Playoff Simulation

1
16
'11 Butler
'06 Bradley
68
70
8
9
'07 UNLV
'06 Wichita St.
71
63
4
13
'11 VCU
'10 N. Iowa
67
63
5
12
'04 Xavier
'05 Milwaukee
72
70
3
14
'08 Davidson
'11 Richmond
73
66
6
11
'10 St. Mary's
'08 W. Kentucky
76
75
7
10
'10 Cornell
'04 Nevada
73
74
2
15
'06 Geo. Mason
'04 UAB
71
65
16
8
'06 Bradley
'07 UNLV
69
70
4
5
'11 VCU
'04 Xavier
70
67
3
6
'08 Davidson
'10 St. Mary's
78
74
10
2
'04 Nevada
'06 Geo. Mason
69
70
8
4
'07 UNLV
'11 VCU
3
2
'08 Davidson
'06 Geo. Mason

WhatIfSports.com and CollegeHoops.net have partnered up to bring you Cinderella Madness 2012.

This college basketball simulation tournament features 16 of the most memorable Cinderella stories from the past eight seasons. We invited teams outside the Big Six conferences, seeded 7th or lower that advanced to the Sweet 16 or beyond in their bracket to participate.

Utilizing our award-winning college basketball simulation engine, we "played" each match-up 501 times.

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16
8
'06 Bradley
'07 UNLV
69
70
The darling of Cinderella Madness after upsetting top-seeded Butler in the first round, Bradley earned a date with the UNLV Runnin' Rebels. Unfortunately for Bradley supporters, the Cinderella story came to an end for the school out of Peoria, Illinois.

UNLV overcame a diminutive starting five that included just one player over 6'6" the 6'8" Gaston Essengue to force Bradley seven-footer Patrick O'Bryant into just two points on 1-for-5 shooting. Credit reserve Joel Anthony for slowing down O'Bryant, as Anthony managed four blocks and seven rebounds in 19 minutes off the bench.

The hot shooting of UNLV guard Michael Umeh helped the Rebels erase a five-point halftime deficit. His efforts included a go-ahead three-pointer with 33 seconds remaining in the game to give UNLV a 70-68 advantage as they went on to record the 72-68 victory. Umeh finished with 18 points, including 3-for-4 from downtown. As a team, the Runnin' Rebels shot 45 percent (9-for-20) from three-point range.

Bradley was paced by Marcellus Sommerville's 18 points, six rebounds and three steals.

Player of the game: Michael Umeh (18 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists)

Winning Percentage of 501 Simulations: '07 UNLV 53.1% - '06 Bradley 46.9%
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4
5
'11 VCU
'04 Xavier
70
67
The final six minutes of this second round sim matchup are a microcosm of what makes March Madness must-watch television.

Lead changes? Check.

Neither team led by more than three points? Check.

A chance to win the game at the buzzer? Check.

Edge of your seat entertainment? Check.

Gus Johnson on the mic? This is all a what-if scenario, so heck yeah!

Despite Xavier shooting 50 percent from the floor, Romain Sato's (24 points, 9 rebounds) last second shot fell short and allowed VCU to escape with the 74-73 win.

The Rams' Jamie Skeen averaged 17.5 points per game during VCU's dramatic run to the Final Four last season. He dropped 22 points (9-15 FG) with 10 rebounds in 36 minutes to lead the team in this contest. The three others who scored in double-figures were a combined 8 of 17 from beyond the arc (46.2 percent as a team), which helped VCU conceal their 48 percent (12-25 FT) effort at the free throw line.

Player of the game: Jamie Skeen (22 points, 10 rebounds)

Winning Percentage of 501 Simulations: VCU 61.5% - Xavier 38.5%
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3
6
'08 Davidson
'10 St. Mary's
78
74
In the annals of hoops, mere mortals have transcended into hardwood heroes with courageous exploits in the most maddening of moments. Steve Kerr in Game Six of the '97 Finals. Ali Farokhmanesh's cojones-filled bomb against Kansas in the 2010 NCAA Tournament. Ollie's free throws versus the Wildcats in Hoosiers. Add Thomas Sander's jumper in Cinderella Madness to the list, as the glue man's conquest gave Davidson a 79-77 W over St. Mary's.

The Gaels looked to put the game out of reach early, surmounting a 15-point lead in the first half. But the Wildcats responded with vigor, raining an army of treys before heading into the locker room to cut their deficit to five. From that juncture, both teams traded punches, with neither band able to pull away from the other. Steph Curry was unleashing his usual carnage, this time to the tune of 25 points and eight rebounds, but St. Mary's big man Omar Samhan was going toe-for-toe with the sharpshooter, pouring in 18 points of his own to go with 11 boards.

Enter Sander, a senior with solid, if not spectacular, averages of 7.5 points and 4.8 boards in the 2007-2008 season. With the score tied at 77 after a Ben Allen jumper from the top of the key, Jason Richards found Sander wide open in the corner, undoubtedly a byproduct of the Gaels' attention to Curry, and he nailed the shot, sending Davidson into the Final Four. Not only did Sander clinch the victory, but he posted an overall superb performance of 15 points and five boards. Somewhere, Robert Horry is smiling.

Player of the game: Stephen Curry (25 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals)

Winning Percentage of 501 Simulations: '08 Davidson 62.3% - '10 Saint Mary's 37.7%
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10
2
'04 Nevada
'06 Geo. Mason
69
70
George Mason found itself in familiar territory, playing with the chance to advance to the Final Four. Opposing the Patriots, the Nevada Wolf Pack were fresh off an upset of Cornell.

Everything went right for Nevada in the opening stanza as they scored 44 points against a team that only surrendered 60.1 points per game during the 2005-06 season. George Mason forward Jai Lewis kept his team afloat, scoring 16 of the Patriots' 32 first half points.

Jim Larranaga's halftime adjustments paid off, as the Patriots scored the first 12 points to tie the game at 44. George Mason held Nevada to just 24 second-half points, and found itself with a narrow lead in the game's waning moments. Both Nick Fazekas and Kirk Snyder had a chance to win or tie the game in the final seconds for Nevada, but their three-point attempts misfired. George Mason survived with a 71-68 victory.

Lewis dominated with 27 points and 16 rebounds for the Patriots. Todd Okeson led all Wolfpack scorers with 18 points.

Player of the game: Jai Lewis (27 points, 16 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals)

Winning Percentage of 501 Simulations: '06 George Mason 55.5% - '04 Nevada 44.5%
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