Strangely enough, winning a lot of games before the NCAA tournament isn't a requirement for being a Cinderella in March Madness. We all remember the run St. Peter's had to the Elite Eight last season. The Peacocks lost 11 games in the regular season and were 14-6 in a one-bid league.
But it's also nice to know, before you click the box to take a mid-major to advance in your bracket or bet on them to cover in the first round, that they don't lose often.
Two teams that clinched auto bids on Tuesday night fit that criteria.
College of Charleston has had a great season
College of Charleston got on the radar earlier this season for landing in the AP Top 25. The Cougars were 21-1 at one point and the only loss was to North Carolina (a loss that, surprisingly, did not age all that well).
They lost two in a row in late January and early February. Charleston dropped a game to Hofstra at home, which wasn't great, and then had a really bad loss at Drexel. Those two losses are why the Cougars weren't an at-large lock despite 30 wins going into the Colonial Athletic Association's title game on Tuesday night. But they ended the at-large conversation by taking a competitive CAA championship game over UNC Wilmington.
Charleston isn't as good of a 3-point shooting team as you'd like for a potential Cinderella (33.3%, 215th in college basketball via KenPom) and they did go just 2-2 against top-100 KenPom teams, beating No. 71 Virginia Tech and No. 80 Kent State, while losing to North Carolina and Hofstra. But you don't win 31 games by accident. It's a solid all-around team without any huge flaws. Charleston is currently projected as a No. 12 seed, which gives the Cougars a real chance to win a game.
They're used to winning games.
Oral Roberts had a memorable 2021 run
Oral Roberts and its star player Max Abmas are already familiar to March Madness bettors.
They made the Sweet 16 as a No. 15 seed in 2021. The Golden Eagles beat Ohio State in overtime, knocked off Florida in the second round and was a buzzer beater by Abmas from beating Arkansas to move onto the Elite Eight.
Abmas has averaged at least 22 points in each of his last three seasons and is the type of player that can take over a game. He scored 29, 26 and 25 in that tournament run two years ago.
This ORU team has lost just once since Nov. 22. The Golden Eagles went undefeated in Summit League play and beat North Dakota State, 92-58, in Tuesday's championship game. Oral Roberts shoots it very well, leads the nation in turnover percentage, has a lot of experience and is fully capable of an upset. It is also projected to be on the No. 12 seed line, which provides a much easier path than the No. 15 seed they had two seasons ago.
Of these two potential No. 12 seeds, Oral Roberts probably has a better shot at covering in the first round and getting a straight-up win, though matchups obviously matter for that. Either way, Tuesday provided a good look at two mid-major teams you'll want to remember early next week.