Every year a few under-the-radar schools steal the spotlight from the blue bloods of college hoops when they make a deep run in the NCAA Tournament, wrecking brackets all across the country. Last season it was schools like VCU and Butler that did it; this season, fans may need to look no further than the Long Beach St. 49ers to find their Cinderella team of 2012.
A balanced team that is capable of scoring points in a hurry, the 49ers tested themselves early in the season and dominated the Big West in conference play. While the team will likely need to win the conference championship in order to secure their seeding at March Madness, most have LBSU projected for a decent spot in the field of 68.
The latest update from SB Nation projects an 11-seed for the 49ers, with a first round matchup against Notre Dame. Should they win their first round game, they would likely face the Michigan Wolverines for a chance to go to the Sweet 16. Neither of those games would be easy, but they would both certainly be winnable.
As for now, all Long Beach St. can do is play their absolute best at the Big West Tournament. A loss would put their postseason hopes in serious jeopardy.
As for the other Los Angeles schools, UCLA or USC would need to win the Pac-12 Tournament to have any shot at a bid.