What Is a Cinderella Team?

The term "Cinderella team" is used to describe a team that ends up being deceptively capable of great success. These teams tend to be discounted, only to end up succeeding in some major way that surprises critics and observers, much like how the fairy tale character Cinderella ended up transforming from a lowly housemaid to a prince-marrying success story.

Similarly, the phrase "Cinderella story" is used in a variety of different areas, including sports. Some famous examples of basketball Cinderella stories include the Texas Western Miners defeating the University of Kentucky Wildcats in the 1966 NCAA Division I men's basketball tournament, and the 1995 Houston Rockets, a relatively low-seeded team that ended up winning the NBA championship over the heavily favored Orlando Magic.