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The Cinderella Effect - What an upset run can do for a program and why you should root for Princeton

We are a day away from watching the No. 15 Princeton Tigers attempt to become the second 15th seed in March Madness history to make it to the Elite Eight, a feat that was first accomplished last year by Doug Edert and Shaheen Holloway's Saint Peter's.

According to Front Office Sports, last year, Saint Peter saw a massive boost in enrollment due to the school receiving over $70 million dollars worth of ad exposure. When UMBC upset Virginia for the first ever 16-over-1 triumph, the Retrievers were mentioned on Twitter over 730,000 and saw a jump in followers by almost 100k. When FGCU made their sweet 16 run as a 15 seed in 2013, over 100,000 people flocked to the school's website. This doesn't include new opportunities for players and jobs, increases in NIL, endowments, and facilities, and overall new found brand recognition these smaller schools might have never gotten.

The Cinderella Team makes for a great story. The NCAA literally defines it as the team that “greatly exceeds its NCAA Tournament aspirations.” They also come with great background pieces that make it even sweeter.

Princeton's Tosan Evbuomwan didn't start playing organized basketball in the United Kingdom until he was 15. His father sent Tosan's highlight tape to all the Ivy League schools and only Princeton reached out. In 1996, Mitch Henderson led No. 13 Princeton to an upset over No. 4 UCLA as a player. In 2023, Mitch Henderson led No. 15 Princeton to an upset over No. 2 Arizona as a coach. Also, Henderson was either the PG or head coach for all 4 Princeton NCAA Tournament wins since 1985

At this point of the tournament, it doesn't matter how your brackets are doing, what school you went to, or if you have money on the line. Today, we are all rooting for the underdog, and we are all Princeton Tiger Fans.


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