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NCAA Basketball

15 Under-the-Radar College Basketball Teams That Could Be Bracket Busters

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Under-the-Radar Teams That Could Be Bracket Busters

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Dave Weaver-USA TODAY Sports

For many people, the NCAA tournament is the most exciting time of the year for the simple fact that 68-teams battle it out in a one-and-done tourney that usually features upsets happening left and right. For others, the Big Dance is all about filling out brackets. For the people who hate the Cinderella teams that ruin their bracket, this may not be the article for you, as we will be looking at 15 under-the-radar college basketball teams that could be bracket busters.

Notice the word could. None of these teams are guaranteed a bid in the dance, but all of them have been playing good enough basketball to possibly be part of the field of 68.

What would the tournament be without under-the-radar teams? My guess is that not many upsets would happen, which would result in the very best teams going at it in the Final Four--the No. 1 seeds.

I guess that would be awesome, but there is nothing better than a No. 15 seed making it to the Sweet 16. That has only been done once and that actually happened last season.

Under-the-radar teams are ones that not many people give a chance, but still have some talent.

All 15 of these teams entered the season with talent and some are even ranked right now. Still, I am sure none of these teams are expected to win a national championship this season.

With that in mind, there is one team on this list that was ranked in the top 10 at the beginning of the year.

Regardless, if any of these teams do happen to make the tournament, make sure to keep an eye on them.

Let’s get to those 15 under-the-radar teams that could be bracket busters.

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Dayton Flyers

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Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports

Dayton started getting some respect when it knocked off Gonzaga, who was ranked No. 11 at the time. The game before, the Flyers beat George Tech on the road.

This team has also beaten California and Ole Miss.

The Atlantic 10 is going to get its fair share of teams into the dance and Dayton very well could be one of them.

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Harvard Crimson

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David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Harvard had the talent to be ranked entering the season, but that was not the case.

The Crimson have only lost to Colorado by eight and to Connecticut by five. Both games were played on the road for Harvard.

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George Washington Colonials

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Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

George Washington can compete with anyone in college hoops and the victory against Creighton in early December proves that.

This team also beat Miami, Maryland and Boston U. Beating some of the top dogs in the Atlantic 10 will be a must if it plans on making the dance, though.

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North Dakota State Bison

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Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

North Dakota State is one of those mid-major teams that will have to win its conference just to make the dance. However, those teams tend to be dangerous from time to time

The Bison knocked off Notre Dame on the road. If they can make the dance, they could easily make even more noise.

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California Golden Bears

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Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports

Believe it or not, the California Golden Bears are one of the best teams in the Pac-12 right now. There are only two teams in the conference undefeated and Cal is one of them. The other perfect team is Arizona.

Some of the Golden Bears’ wins have come against Arkansas, Stanford and Oregon. It has a very balanced attack, which could be dangerous come tournament time.

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Green Bay Phoenix

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Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

Green Bay only lost to Wisconsin by three points. A loss is a loss, but the Phoenix played one of the best teams in the country very tough. Who knows what this team could do in the tournament.

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New Mexico Lobos

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Troy Babbitt-USA TODAY Sports

New Mexico still could be the best team in the MWC, but its disappointing outing in its non-conference schedule could have it under-the-radar for the rest of the season.

Keep in mind that this Lobos team is not much different than last year and it did earn a No. 3 seed in the 2013 NCAA Tournament.

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Oklahoma Sooners

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Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Oklahoma finally entered the the top 25 in the AP this week.

Maybe it won’t be an under-the-radar team come tournament time, but not many people are talking about it now. That is hard to believe since the Sooners have beaten Texas and Iowa State. Not to mention, they only have three losses so far.

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Saint Louis Billikens

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Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

This is another team that entered the AP this week.

Saint Louis won the A 10 last season and it will challenge for a conference title once again. Its only losses have come against Wichita State and Wisconsin, who are both ranked in the top five.

You better believe that the Billikens will be dangerous in this year’s tourney.

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Xavier Musketeers

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Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

Xavier just lost to Creighton by six points, which means it will get even less national attention. Not like it was in the headlines to begin with, though.

Xavier has beaten Cincinnati, Wake Forest, Tennessee, Marquette, St. John’s and Butler.

Those aren’t the best victories in college hoops, but I am sure some of those teams will still make the dance.

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Tennessee Volunteers

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Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Tennessee has one of the most lethal scorers in the SEC in Jordan McRae (18.3 PPG).

This Volunteers team has the talent to compete for a conference title, but they are just 1-1 in conference play. There is no guarantee that they make the tournament. As a result, I am sure they will not earn the highest seed unless if they start knocking off the SEC’s best teams and finish in the top three in the conference standings.

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Boise State Broncos

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Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Boise State was supposed to challenge for a MWC title this season, but it already has two losses in the conference. One of those losses came against San Diego State by three points. That contest was played on the road for the Broncos and you have to remember that the Aztecs are a top 10 team now.

Still, Anthony Drmic is one of the best players in all of college basketball and he is going to keep this team a competitor in conference play. Him and the rest of the team need to start knocking off some opponents in the MWC before they can even think about being a bracket buster.

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Michigan Wolverines

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Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Have the Michigan Wolverines really come to this point? At the beginning of the season they were ranked in the top 10 and had the talent to make it to the national championship for a second straight season.

Well, this team is nowhere near as good as it was expected to be without their preseason All-American Mitch McGary.

The Wolverines have lost to some very talented teams (Duke, Iowa State and Arizona), but I am sure not many people are expecting them to do much in the dance without McGary.

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Louisiana Tech Bulldogs

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Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Louisiana Tech could be one of the best mid-majors in the country. However, it does have three losses, one to Oklahoma State and the other two to mid-majors.

The Bulldogs will more than likely have to win their conference to dance this season, but that will be a lot easier now that Memphis is in the AAC.

Their biggest win on the season came against Oklahoma on the road.

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Arizona State Sun Devils

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Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona State has Jahii Carson. If the Sun Devils make the tournament, he will easily be one of the best players in it. He is averaging 18.1 points per game and is shooting 46 percent from behind the arc.

Wins against Marquette and UNLV looked great at the beginning of the season, but both teams have not met expectations. Still, Arizona State could sneak into the dance and it could do some serious damage.