College Basketball: The 10 Most Unlikely Final Four Teams Since 2000
March Madness is full of many players. Yes, of course, there are the individual student-athletes, but there are also the different types of teams -- from the favorites, to the contenders, all the way down to the Cinderellas.
The Cinderellas are the most intriguing, year-in and year-out. It's obvious as to why: they're the factor we least account for in making predictions and filling out brackets. They were good during the regular season, but they were a different beast entirely in the Big Dance.
There have been quite a few over the years. There was Brad Stevens' Butler Bulldogs and Shaka Smart's VCU Rams to name just two. But where do they rank among teams to have made a Final Four without such expectations?
When discussing these dark horses, we usually talk about the regular season schedule, prior injuries, seeding, strength of region and so much more. When we weed through that all, though, we see regular season performance. That is precisely what nERD -- a numberFire metric that estimates a team's point differential against a league-average team on a neutral court -- accomplishes.
It can tell us which runs were improbable given that squad's regular season performance. The following 10 Cinderella stories produced the lowest nERD ratings among Final Four participants since the turn of the century.