Monday, July 19, 2010

Who Will Be The Next Surprise In College Basketball?

Posted by CoHoops DeAnte Mitchell

Every year in college basketball a team catches us by surprise. 

Don't believe me? Ask the Jayhawks about Northern Iowa, Villanova about Saint Mary's, or Georgetown about Ohio.

Each of those teams was shocked in the tournament. None of them were conceived to be knocked off as early as they were.

The mid-major teams are starting to emerge once the tournament comes around and have started to show everyone that they can play basketball as well. 

Now last year, Butler took the tournament and switched it in their favor. Something similar to what George Mason was able to achieve back in 2006.

They're becoming so popular that the favorites are preparing hard for every team. However, there is always a chance that the favorite still loses.

The mid-major upsets have made the tournament exciting. If you don't think it will happen next season, you're out of your mind. There are some possible up-setters ready for next season. Here they are:

East Tennessee State Buccaneers (Atlantic Sun Conference)

The Buccaneers had to face off against Kentucky in their first round matchup last season. Despite the loss, the Buccaneers still came out a better team.

With Kentucky's Eric Bledsoe firing three-pointers and making them, the Bucs' were unable to match that. However, next season, the Bucs' lose two seniors but no significant playmakers.

Not to mention, they brought in Ryan Woumn to help out in the backcourt.

The Bucs' are still contenders in the A-Sun conference. Down the road, if they make the tournament, with Tommy Hubbard at the helm, the Bucs' could pose as spoilers.

Wofford Terriers (Southern Conference)

The Wofford Terriers gave Wisconsin all they had in the tournament last season. However, after witnessing Jon Leuer take over the game in the final seconds, Wofford was sent home.

Wofford lost two senior players but also acquired a freshmen to fill the void. Josh Corry is a lights out shooter and will have the chance to fill the shoes of Junior Salters.

With four of five starters returning from last year's squad, Wofford has upset written all over them. I expect them to be atop of the Southern Conference another year with their experienced players.

Old Dominion Monarchs (Colonial Athletic Association Conference) 

In their first round match-up against Baylor, Old Dominion beat the Bears out in almost every statistical category. However, they still didn't pick up the win. 

Losing Gerald Lee was huge for the Monarchs; however, I don't believe it's a huge setback. 

Their recruit Richard Ross should come in and fill in his shoes. He is a 6-foot-7 power forward and has the ability to create havoc for the Monarchs. He can be a high-energy guy that will rebound and showcase put backs in the post.

Even with the lost of their best player from last season, the Monarchs return most of their starters and add key recruits to complement them.

Depending on the match-ups, I believe the Monarchs can upset a few teams in March.

 Murray State Racers (Ohio Valley Conference)

The Racers return three of their top-five scorers from last season. They are the only team on this list that advanced passed the first round. Not to mention, they were a shot away from sinking the eventual runner-up Butler.

However, next season with the recruits they brought in and the returning players, Murray State will be a mid-major power.

One-point away from defeating the runner-up was impressive. However, Murray State has to get back after it and I think they will.

If there is any team that can go far in the Sweet-16 it's Murray State. They have experience, talent, and a leader in B.J. Jenkins that will get the job done.

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