• Sudeep Tumma

Five Under-The-Radar Teams That Are Set to Blow Up

They didn't start the season as expected, but they are definitely a threat now.

Everyone loves a good underdog. After all, March Madness is synonymous with big-time upsets. We’ve witnessed a good number of upsets the past week or two, but we’re also seeing some teams really emerge in conference play. Here are a few of them to be on the watch for.

Miami 14-4 (6-1)

The Hurricanes have settled in since conference play started. Their trio of guards: Kameron McGusty (18.1 PPG), Isaiah Wong (16.4) and Charlie Moore (12.4) can go get a basket whenever they want. The backcourt leads one of the top offenses in the nation. The Hurricanes followed up a statement win over No. 2 Duke with a one-point loss to Florida State, their only blemish in conference play. Still, Miami is a dangerous unit in the ACC.

Texas A&M 15-3 (4-1)

Buzz Williams is finally putting it together. The Aggies were so close to toppling No. 12 Kentucky on Wednesday, but they proved they’re a true force in the SEC. Quenton Jackson, Henry Coleman and Marcus Williams are the headliners, but this squad is deep, talented and shoots it well. On defense, the Aggies pressure the ball so well, trap ball handlers and force steals (fifth in the country). They’re going to cause a lot of issues opposing teams.

Florida State 11-5 (5-2)

If March Madness is synonymous with upsets, Leonard Hamilton’s teams are synonymous with depth, athleticism and length. As they typically do, the Seminoles are forcing steals (14th in the country) and swatting shots (57th) at a high rate. Led by Houston transfer Caleb Mills (13.3 PPG), FSU has reeled off four straight wins. After stumbling to begin the season, the Seminoles seem to have found their groove behind some excellent defense.

Oregon 11-6 (4-2)

This one was somewhat obvious after the Ducks took down No. 3 UCLA and No. 5 USC back-to-back. But this is what was expected from the beginning, sort of. With Will Richardson and a few others returning plus a solid transfer class with Jacob Young, De’Vion Harmon and Quincy Guerrier, Oregon was picked to finish second in the Pac-12. Regardless, the Ducks are hitting their stride and putting the rest of the conference on notice.

Iowa 13-5 (3-4)

The Hawkeyes can go toe-to-toe with anyone just on the strength of their offense alone (third-highest offensive efficiency). Keegan Murray, the nation’s leading scorer will grab your attention, and rightfully so. He’s bookended by a crop of sincere offensive weapons, but Iowa’s defense could use some work. It’s almost a carbon copy of the conundrum with Luka Garza and last year’s squad. Still, the firepower on this team will pay dividends.

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