There are always those teams that come out of almost nowhere and shock the country. They are fun to watch, easy to root for, and hard to predict. They can be top of their conference mid majors, or middle of a top 5 conference and play bracket buster. However, the question remains of who will be those teams this year? Who will bust into the scene and make some national noise? Let’s take a look at some teams I think can do that.
1: North Florida- North Florida is a team that can make heads turn this year. They started off with a great win against Illinois and have used that momentum to a 3-1 start. Led by guard Dallas Moore, who is averaging 24 points per game and 10 assists, the Ospreys are shooting 54 percent from the field and 52 percent from three. They played Louisville on Saturday and lost big, but that could be a good awakening for the. I still think they are a very good basketball team and they have games later on against LSU and Dayton, so we will truly see how good this team is after those games are complete.
2: Cincinnati- Even though they are a notoriously good team and tournament team, they have lost a lot these last couple of years and many people feel they may go through some rebuilding. I am not one of those people. They have won their first 3 games by an average of 40 points and by averaging 95 points per game. They have shown incredible depth, with 5 players averaging over 10 points per game. They are not in a great conference, so they have a good chance to make a nice run.
3: Northeastern- The huskies so far this year are 4-0 while averaging 80 points per game. They are led by David Walker’s 20 points per game and Zach Stahl and Quincy Ford’s 14 per game. They made the tournament last year so they have that momentum and experience to get them there again. Some games to watch for them are Miami, NC State and Michigan State.
4: Sacramento State- The Hornets so far this year are 3-0 with a 40 point win over Holy Names and a big victory over Arizona State. With a favorable non conference schedule they have a chance to get a good start before conference play. Marcus Graves is their player to watch, averaging 19 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists. This is a very good team and I would be very surprised if they do not earn a tournament bid
5: George Washington- I promise I am not just saying this because they defeated UVA, but that did help their cause. Following their big win at Virginia, they beat a very good South Florida team and are now 3-0. They are led by Patricio Garino and Tyler Cavanaugh with 17 and 14 points per game. They are in a really good and underrated conference in the Atlantic 10 so it will be fun to watch them in that conference.
Spark Sports NCAA Analyst