Top Five Local ‘Cinderella’ Men’s Basketball Teams

Apr 7, 2020, 2:13 PM | Updated: 2:18 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The state of Utah has seen some pretty magical runs in the NCAA Tournament including some special moments from a few “Cinderella” squads.’s Jeremiah Jensen and Sam Farnsworth broke down the best underdog upsets by local teams during Sportsbeat on Monday, April 6.

Here are the top five “Cinderella” men’s basketball teams in the history of Utah college hoops.

5. 1981 BYU Cougars

Danny Ainge led BYU to a No. 6 seed in the 1981 NCAA Tournament. The Cougars defeated the No. 11 seed Princeton Tigers 60-51 and No. 3 seed UCLA Bruins in the first two rounds to advance to the Sweet Sixteen.

In the Sweet Sixteen, BYU faced No. 2 seed Notre Dame. Ainge received an inbound pass with the Cougars down one point and only eight seconds left on the clock. The BYU legend took the ball the length of the court and score a game-winning shot on a finger roll layup with two seconds remaining. Ainge’s bucket helped the Cougars advance to the Elite Eight.

In the Elite Eight, BYU fell to top seed Virginia 74-60. The Cougars finished the season with a 25-7 record.

4. 2001 Utah State Aggies

No. 12 seed Utah State stunned the No. 5 seed Ohio State Buckeyes in the first round of the 2001 NCAA Tournament. USU’s Tony Brown connected on a jump shot with 1.8 seconds left to force the game into overtime. During the extra five minutes of game time, the Aggies outscored the Buckeyes 17-8 to win 77-68 and advanced to the second round. It was Utah State’s first tourney win since 1970.

3. 1983 Utah Runnin’ Utes

After beating Illinois in the first round of the 1983 NCAA Tournament, 10 seed Utah trailed No. 2 seed UCLA by two points at halftime. After the Utes came out of the locker room, they outscored the Bruins 35-27 in the second half to win the game by six points and advanced to the Sweet Sixteen.

Utah fell to the eventual NCAA champion N.C. State in the Sweet Sixteen.

2. 1995 Weber State Wildcats

No. 14 Weber State played the No. 3 Michigan State Spartans in the first round of the 1995 NCAA Tournament. The Wildcats shot 10/25 from three-point land to stun a Spartans squad full of NBA talent.

1. 1999 Weber State Wildcats

Again a No. 14 seed in the NCAA tourney, the 1999 Wildcats played the No. 3 seed North Carolina Tar Heels in the first round. Harold “The Show” Arceneaux carried Weber State to a stunning upset of UNC with 36 points by shooting 5-7 from downtown.

Wildcats guard Eddie “The Thrill” Gill added 16 points.

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