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NCAA Basketball

Under-the-Radar College Basketball Teams That Could Make the Tournament

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Teams That Could Make the Tournament

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Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

The 2013-14 college basketball season just started, but it is never too early to look forward to the NCAA tournament. That is kind of what the entire season is all about--winning enough games just to be lucky enough to make the field of 68. With that in mind, let’s take a look at five under-the-radar teams that could make the tournament.

The start of the season has been all about the powerhouses in college hoops. That tends to happen when No. 1 and No. 2 play each other right off of the bat and when the top two recruits play each other this early in the season.

There are plenty of under-the-radar teams this season and many of them will more than likely emerge. However, the season is still young and conference play hasn’t even started.

College hoops isn’t all about the No. 1 seeds and the most likely programs to make the Final Four.

The five teams in this article may not be the most unheard of teams in college hoops or anything like that, but none of them are expected to win their conference. Heck, most people are probably not even giving these teams a shot at making the tourney. I am clearly not one of those people.

Anyways, the season has been awesome already and we are barely a week into the sport. Read on to see five under-the-radar teams that could make the 2014 NCAA Tournament.

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Massachusetts Minutemen

minutemen
Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

The Massachusetts Minutemen are off to a great start. They have beaten two power conference teams in Boston College and LSU. Two solid wins and the season just started.

Chaz Williams has been a beast so far and is averaging 22 points per game and six assists per game. He has the talent to challenge for the Atlantic 10 Player of the Year. Cady Lalanne has also been great. He is averaging 21.5 points per game and nine boards per game.

The season is still young and I doubt that both of those players will average 20 points on the year, but they are both off to great starts.

The A 10 may have lost some teams, but the Minutemen will benefit from that. They should have no problem finishing in the top five of the conference standings and they should be considered as a threat to win the conference title.

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Florida State Seminoles

seminoles
David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

Florida State lost some talent from a team that finished with a 18-16 record last season. However, they are 2-0 so far. Those two wins are not the best in the world and the Seminoles will have to beat much better teams, but they could make some noise this season.

They play VCU on Nov. 21. A win would mean a lot and would maybe be enough to push Florida State into the top 25. A win against Florida after that contest would be huge.

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LSU Tigers

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Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

LSU may have lost to Massachusetts, but they still have a bunch of talent. Four Tigers scored 16 or more points against the Minutemen and two players scored more than 20.

Johnny O’Bryant III could be one of the best players in the SEC and his 23 points and 11 rebounds in the first game was not a fluke. O’Bryant III probably won’t put up 20 points per game, but he has a lot of upside and should average more than the 13.6 points per game he posted last season.

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Northwestern Wildcats

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David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

The Northwestern Wildcats? They have never made the NCAA tournament. Ever. Yeah, I get it, but I have a lot of faith in Drew Crawford and the team did get a new head coach.

The Wildcats are a very long shot to make the dance, but they still have a chance. It does not help that the Big Ten is stacked with great teams, but that also means Northwestern has more opportunities to get quality wins.

Crawford scored 25 points in the Wildcats’ first game and he will have to be great all season long if there is any hope for this team.

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Saint Mary’s Gaels

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Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Saint Mary’s no longer has Matthew Dellavedova, but it still managed to beat two solid mid-majors in its first two games of the season.

The Gaels beat Louisiana Tech in their first game and then they followed that up with a 22-point victory over Akron. Both teams will have the talent to win their conference, which would result in a bid for the Big Dance.