D-I College Championships 2023: How to Spot a Cinderella

Looking back at history to find the signs of a potential underdog.

UCLA BLU at 2023 Stanford Invite. Photo: Natalie Bigman-Pimentel — UltiPhotos.com

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Nothing can be taken for granted at College Nationals. One of the joys of the game at this level is the variance that permeates throughout the tournament. It’s far more common to see predictable results in the club game, but the purity of college sports lies in the mayhem. College Nationals might not hold the same capacity for random results as March Madness, but it’s always been the home of improbable runs and that single upset that can throw the bracket into chaos.

Due to the variance, it’s almost become a precedent for there to be at least one underdog story that carries over into the bracket. Somehow there’s always a 4th or 5th seed that sneaks into contention when the odds were stacked against them. The Little Engine That Could cresting over the hill after climbing the mountain that loomed over them in pool play. It only takes a win or two for hundreds of people to suddenly start looking up their roster or comb through old recaps to gain familiarity with the newly crowned ‘America’s Team’. After the run extends into prequarters and beyond, reactive tweets, articles, and reddit posts arrive in a flash to explain how the signs were all there for this miraculous run if only one had known what to look for. Hindsight is 20/20.

Well the good news this year is that we’re doing away with the reactive and are going to provide everyone with a proactive breakdown of how to spot a Cinderella Story in the making at this year’s tournament. No longer will there be any uncertainty as to how these teams made it so far despite their lowly seed. Yes, we may not be able to predict this year’s results, but we can help you spot your underdog candidate before the rest of the community jumps on the bandwagon.

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  1. Graham Gerhart
    Graham Gerhart

    Graham Gerhart is a Senior Staff Writer at Ultiworld, focusing primarily on the Women's and Mixed divisions. Graham graduated from the University of Cape Town in South Africa after playing 4 years with the UCT Flying Tigers. He now lives and works full time in San Diego. Follow him on twitter @JustGrahamG

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