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Austin Peay is a Cinderella Team for the 2021 NCAA Tournament

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Austin Peay is a Cinderella Team for the 2021 NCAA Tournament
Photo by dan carlson on Unsplash

This year the COVID-19 pandemic led to the cancellation of the annual NCAA Tournament. God willing this will pass and we will have March Madness in 2021. In this article, we look at a potential Cinderella Team for next year.

What is a Cinderella Team?

Cinderella teams are unknown schools that become the darlings of a specific NCAA Tournament. There are certain conditions that help determine if they’re truly a Cinderella team.

A Cinderella team has to come from a mid-major conference. It also has to be seeded No. 9 or lower and it can’t be favored in their first game of the tournament.

Davidson in 2008, Loyola Chicago in 2018 and UMBC in 2018 are the most recent examples of true Cinderella teams for March Madness.

Led by Stephen Curry, Davidson reached the 2008 Elite Eight as a No. 10 seed. In 2018, Loyola Chicago made it to the Final Four as a No. 11 seed, after wins against No. 6 Miami, No. 3 Tennessee, No. 7 Nevada and No. 9 Kansas State. They ended up losing 69-57 against No. 3 Michigan in the Final Four on March 31st, 2018.

No. 16 UMBC beat No. 1 Virginia 74-54 on March 16th, 2018. It was the first time in NCAA Tournament history that a No. 16 seed beat a No. 1 seed. UMBC’s upset ended a 135-game losing streak for No. 16 seeds in Round 1 of the NCAA Tournament.

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Austin Peay Governors

Belmont and Murray State won the Ohio Valley Conference regular season championship. This didn’t help Austin Peay. Then, they lost 73-61 against Murray State in the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament and people overlooked them even more. Belmont eventually beat Murray State 76-75 in the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament Final.

What many don’t know is that Austin Peay finished Ohio Valley Conference play with a 14-4 record, just one game behind Belmont and Murray State. This is very impressive considering that they lost five seniors after the 2018-19 season. These five players contributed with almost 50 points per game but last season Austin Peay still finished with a better overall record than in 2018-19.

Austin Peay has to replace Evan Hinson and Reginald Gee, who combined for 14.9 points per game. The good news is that Terry Taylor (21.8 points per game) and Jordyn Adams (17.4 points per game) are back, giving them a solid foundation to build them on.

Lowering last year’s 12.8 turnovers per game is a must for this team but their 34.6 percent shooting from beyond the arc will be better without Hinson. He shot just 24.4 percent from 3-point range.

Keep an eye on this team for your NCAA Basketball picks all season long. Austin Peay made their last NCAA Tournament appearance in 2015-16. It wouldn’t surprise if they make it in 2021. Teams like Baylor, Gonzaga and Villanova (+900 to win the NCAA Tournament at BetOnline) could be on upset alert if they have to face Austin Peay in March.