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NCAA Basketball

Early Candidates for March’s Cinderella


We are approximately a month into the college basketball season and it’s never too early to be identifying teams who may bust your bracket should they be dancing in March. With that here’s some early cinderella candidates

Santa Clara (WCC)
Record: 5-0
Best Win: @ St. Louis, 74-62
Get to Know: Kevin Foster averages over 20 points per game for the Broncos and is one of five seniors on this team.  They will have a hard time navigating the conference with St. Mary’s, Gonzaga and BYU around.  Evan Roquemore and Marc Trasolini are two of the other veterans that make this team go.  They play at Duke on December 29th and while they won’t win, there’s a good chance they make it interesting.

South Dakota State (Summit)
Record: 4-2
Best Win: Marshall 78-77
Get to Know: Nate Wolters averages 22 points per game for the Jackrabbits.  Wolters is on the radars of the major analysts in this sport, but I’m sure the majority of fans couldn’t pick him out from a lineup. This is a team that lost to Hofstra and Alabama by three points each. The shame of it is that this is a team that will spend the majority of the out-of-conference portion of the schedule on the road.  They play at Minnesota and New Mexico in December with a good chance to get a victory in either game.

Belmont (Ohio Valley)
Record: 5-1
Best Win: Stanford 70-62
Get to Know: The Bruins have four double digit scorers with a fifth player putting up over nine points per game.  This is a veteran bunch who has made life miserable for their opponents in the tournament the past few years.  They have an under-the-radar game at VCU coming up as well as a game against Kansas.  It will be fun to see them match up with Murray State who figures to run the Ohio Valley once again.

Illinois State (Missouri Valley)
Record: 5-1
Best Win: Drexel 86-84
Get to Know: Jackie Carmichael leads the Redbirds scoring over 16 points per game while pulling down almost seven rebounds per contest.  They lost by three to Northwestern on South Padre Island.  Road games at Louisville and Dayton will be telling.  There is always someone coming from the Missouri Valley out of nowhere.  Creighton‘s ranked so it can’t be them while Wichita State is also no longer a sleeper.

Cal State Northridge (Big West)
Record: 6-1
Best Win: Tulsa 92-76
Get to Know: The Big West also seems to have teams that make noise in March.  This conference is up for grabs with the losses Long Beach State had.  Stephan Hicks is shooting almost 56% from the field picking up almost nine rebounds per game as well.  Stephen Maxwell and Josh Greene also provide scoring punch. They play at UCLA, Arizona State and Utah. Watch out for the Matadors.