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Giant Killers: How to spot Cinderella

3/9/2011 - Insider Men's College Basketball Baylor Bears Ohio State Buckeyes Kansas Jayhawks Pittsburgh Panthers Duke Blue Devils North Carolina Tar Heels Texas Longhorns Brigham Young Cougars Notre Dame Fighting Irish Purdue Boilermakers San Diego State Aztecs Florida Gators Syracuse Orange Wisconsin Badgers Kentucky Wildcats Louisville Cardinals St. John's Red Storm Connecticut Huskies West Virginia Mountaineers Georgetown Hoyas Arizona Wildcats Vanderbilt Commodores Xavier Musketeers Kansas State Wildcats Texas A&M Aggies Cincinnati Bearcats Villanova Wildcats Temple Owls UCLA Bruins UNLV Rebels Missouri Tigers Utah State Aggies George Mason Patriots Florida State Seminoles Old Dominion Monarchs Illinois Fighting Illini Gonzaga Bulldogs Washington Huskies Tennessee Volunteers Marquette Golden Eagles St. Mary's (CA) Gaels Butler Bulldogs Richmond Spiders Michigan Wolverines Clemson Tigers UAB Blazers Michigan State Spartans Boston College Eagles Virginia Tech Hokies Colorado Buffaloes Belmont Bruins Oakland Golden Grizzlies Harvard Crimson Bucknell Bison LIU Brooklyn Blackbirds Wofford Terriers Morehead State Eagles Kent State Golden Flashes Indiana State Sycamores Milwaukee Panthers North Texas Eagles Boston University Terriers St. Peter's Peacocks Northern Colorado Bears Bethune-Cookman Wildcats Texas Southern Tigers McNeese State Cowboys North Carolina-Asheville Bulldogs Missouri State Bears USC Trojans Georgia Bulldogs Alabama Crimson Tide Memphis Tigers Nebraska Cornhuskers Washington State Cougars + more
The Big Red and the Gaels both met our Giant-Killing expectations last season. Getty Images

It's that magical time of year again, when fans talk about loving college hoops because any team can go on an NCAA championship run. It doesn't matter
that Cinderellas almost always have their hopes dashed in the end. (The last team to pull a Villanova-over-Georgetown-type shocker and win it all was, well, Villanova, 26 years ago.) The tourney captivates precisely because it allows most, but not all, favorites to triumph. Every upset really is special.

Which is not to say that every upset is unpredictable. For five years now, The Mag has tried to forecast the next potential George Mason or UAB in our annual Giant Killers series. We haven't figured out why some underdogs win while others lose with 100 percent reliability; that would be not only impossible but also a buzzkill. However, we have identified several key trends that you should keep in mind when filling out your brackets.