OT: Any off-the-radar, non-UConn teams pique your interest?

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Like many of you, I'm a college basketball junkie and while my #1 passion in NCAA are the UConn Huskies, each year there are a few off the radar teams that I follow closely and even try to check out their games live. Which teams are on your radar?

Vermont: I graduated from UConn in '08, so Vermont and Tom Brennan always has a warm place in my heart for their defeat of Cuse. This year, they have tons of talent led by Anthony Lamb, but they now have more quality depth with the Duncan bros, point guard Stef Smith and two Big 5 transfers to add to their frontcourt. Planning on seeing them play at St. John's and also possibly at Yale.

Dayton/VCU/Davidson: Overall, the A-10 is looking good this year and VCU, Davidson and Dayton should battle it out for the top team in the conference.

For Dayton, they have a deep, diverse team led by NBA prospect and dunk machine Obi Tobbin while their combo of 6'1 guards Rodney Chatman and Jalen Crutcher bring stability to their team. Plus they are bringing in three transfers from Power 5 conferences.

Always loved VCU's intensity and Marcus Evans is the man. Gotta love Davidson's coach Bob McKIllop and while Kellen Grady is getting NBA scout love, Icelandic slasher Jon Axel Gudmundsson is one of my favorite NCAA players.

Colorado: One of my good buddies and biggest college bball fans I know recently moved to Boulder and since then I've been more aware of the their team. the Pac-12 should be better this year and the team will be led by inside-outside duo of Tyler Bey (my favorite player on the team) and McKinley Wright IV.

East Tennessee State: Top 6 scorers return all of which averaged between 8.8 and 12.2 points a game plus they add a solid transfer in CCSU forward Joe Hugley. They play in the underrated Southern Conference (Wofford, Furman

Conference USA: WKU brings back Charles Bassey, but this team has seven very good players on their roster with returnees Taveion Hollingsworth and Josh Anderson playing key roles while key transfers Carson Williams, Camron Justice and possibly Eli Wright makes this a deep team. UTSA has a fun duo of guards Keaton Wallace and Jhivvan Jackson who combined to average 43 points a game. UTEP stunk last year but bring in three new transfers each averaging 11+ points/game and two others from Power 5 schools.

Other quick hitters:

Siena - would like to see Jalen Pickett live.

Iona - would like to see team play live in their home court. Tons of energy on their offensive game.

South Alabama - trying to build program with transfers. Will bring in three transfers this year who averaged a combined 45 points a game. Nevada ala Musselman vibes.

Montana - love their coach and wife is an alum. Go Griz. Should have a down year this year, but looks like they will have a good squad in 20-21.

CSU-Northridge - Lamine Diane had an insane freshman year averaging 24.8, 11.2 and 2.2 blocks.

Grand Canyon -Learned more about the school now my in-laws live in Phoenix. Dan Majerle is their coach, they are known for their crazy defense and their home fans are incredible. Watch their games: they start with a prayer but then the place goes loco with a rave-like energy.
 
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Any Non power conference team, especially lower level D1 teams that scored an upset last year, to see if they could pull off something similar this year. Teams like Nevada and Buffalo (ESPECIALLY) Liberty, Murray St, or even if they did not get upsets, if they were really good like Belmont, as you mentioned Vermont, Wofford, UC Irvine, New Mexico St (I said they'd get in and get an upset in February, 1 point away). I always check to see if St. Marys will challenge Gonzaga. Also fringe teams that did not quite make it to the tourney like UNC Grensboro, Lipscomb and Furman to see if they can get over the hump this year. Recently it has been Yale, good to see another team in CT doing well these past few years and they had a heck of a game the past two years if I recall correctly. Usually Harvard has the team from the Ivy most talented/likely to get an upset so I keep an eye on them.

So long story short, tends to change from year to year. A few years ago it might have been Florida Gulf Coast or ETSU. My sister was also a Zona alum so I keep an eye on them in case their are chance to make fun of them ;) .
 
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Even living in Denver I was aware of CU basketball for about a week when we played them in the 1st round few years back...I talked smack to my coworkers who all went there, and they too were only then aware of CU basketball.
 

Purple Stein

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Great write up! Only one of UVM's P5 transfers is eligible this year, but he's a 7 footer who played at flipping Oak Hill. Meanwhile Maine is recruiting anyone from eastern Europe who can say "Bangor."
 
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Great write up! Only one of UVM's P5 transfers is eligible this year, but he's a 7 footer who played at flipping Oak Hill. Meanwhile Maine is recruiting anyone from eastern Europe who can say "Bangor."
Demuth from Oklahoma State was granted a waiver in July. The other guy you mentioned is Giddens, a guy I vouched as a candidate for the last scholarship, but much more glad we got Springs.
 

HuskyHawk

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I always like to see Vermont beat the odds and continue their strong run. I think it's positive for a small New England public in a horrendous recruiting area. Shows how much coaching matters.

Not off the radar, but KU looks pretty loaded. CBS candid coaches has a quote about KU - Self that I think is spot on: "This is exactly the type of team Bill is great with. No freshmen stars. Just older dudes who can play." I think that's right, and if (IF) Azubuike can stay healthy (and maybe make a FT now and then) they are as good as anybody not named Michigan State.

Aside from that I will root against the usual suspects. Kentucky, Duke, Cuse, Memphis.
 
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Unfortunately my bias blocks my 'pique' but not my peek.

My interests, albeit loosely, is in Calhoun's coaching tree.

St. Josephs
Central CT (Marshall)
Depaul (Leitao)

I peek at the players now coaching also. Basically just to monitor their school's success to guage their promotion potential. That way I'm not surprised when they are either offered a HC position or even a consideration (i.e. interview).
 

MattMang23

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I lived in the same dorm as Luke Murray freshman year at UConn and hung out with him a couple times so I’ve kinda loosely followed his coaching travels and hope his teams do well. He’s now assisting Chris Mack at Louisville so I’ll check in on them. It was easier to hope his teams did well when his teams were Xavier, URI and Wagner (under Hurley).

I also keep tabs on UNLV because one of my close friends is a huge fan since his family all lives out there.

Beyond that, I pay slight attention to old friends Providence and Syracuse and any place a former UConn player transfers.
 

Fishy

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1) I've been a Marist season ticket holder since high school.

2) Texas Southern. These SOB's have to fund their entire athletic budget off the backs of their hoop team, so they end up with the hairiest schedule on earth. Last year, these guys played Baylor, Gonzaga, Iowa State, San Diego State, Evansville, Oregon, Arizona State, Georgia, Tulane and Texas A&M...they played two DII teams at home and those were the only times they slept in their own beds after a game until late January.
 
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2) Texas Southern. These SOB's have to fund their entire athletic budget off the backs of their hoop team, so they end up with the hairiest schedule on earth. Last year, these guys played Baylor, Gonzaga, Iowa State, San Diego State, Evansville, Oregon, Arizona State, Georgia, Tulane and Texas A&M...they played two DII teams at home and those were the only times they slept in their own beds after a game until late January.
Crazy. Johnny Jones is their coach and they're also known for giving talented kids last shots at the D1 level. For example, Michael Weathers is their biggest profile transfer from Oklahoma State. Talented kid as he averaged 9.2 ppg for them, but was kicked off the program after stealing a wallet at a bar.

Some other notable transfers they'll get this year is former UMass center Chris Baldwin and former top-100 prospect center Jethro Tshisumpa.
 
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Well done bro. Loved reading your post. I vet the entire nation leading up to 9/1. Almost to the point where I know every relevant projected starting lineup. I have my reasons.
 
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Kenny Cooper is awaiting NCAA clearance after transferring from Lipscomb. WKU desperately needs Cooper eligible. Dayton may get a shot at Michigan State early if they beat Georgia. Dayton has a golden opportunity to make a quick run into the Top 18 with two wins in Maui. Anthony Grant scares me a bit though. I don't trust him. His teams tend to be riddled with suspensions going back to the Alabama days. So hold your breath! The roster is very very legit.

Things are quiet @ Harvard this off season. Maybe to quiet? IL commitments outside of basketball do effect summer growth from a basketball perspective. Also not a huge TA fan. Having said that....wow the roster is loaded IF Seth Towns has his head screwed on right and actually plays. When captains were announced at Harvard (which the players vote on) Bryce Aiken was not picked. Towns was and he didn't play a game last year. Aiken needs to facilitate more and be more team orientated. Many question marks especially Towns. Harvard has a senior class that was ranked Top 15'ish nationally and has not made the tournament. This year the conference tourney is at Lavietes Pavilion. Harvard could lose no more than two or three games heading into the tournament if they hit peak potential. Some question marks though with Towns and the culture. Interesting team. They could go from Final Four sleeper to being upset by Penn in the conference tourney. Volatility may define Harvard.

New Mexico State plays UTEP x2 and New Mexico x2. I love Chris Jans. Great coach. He has seven seniors on the roster and could have been 8 if J. Friday the AC transfer showed up eligible. Terrell Brown escaped a felony conviction to suit up this year. Big news this summer for the Aggies. The offense took place while suited up elsewhere. The admin changed a rule to clear him. WCC will struggle to be a two bid league even though NMSU ended last year with stellar Ken Pom #'s. IF NMSU gets into the tourney they will be ridiculously dangerous. IMHO Think about it though NMSU I think opens on the road @ UTEP. No gimmie!!!!!!!!!! UTEP just added grad transfer Daryl Edwards to give them some needed experience and a shooter. That game will be so much fun to follow!

So many story lines!
 
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I always like to see Vermont beat the odds and continue their strong run. I think it's positive for a small New England public in a horrendous recruiting area. Shows how much coaching matters.

Not off the radar, but KU looks pretty loaded. CBS candid coaches has a quote about KU - Self that I think is spot on: "This is exactly the type of team Bill is great with. No freshmen stars. Just older dudes who can play." I think that's right, and if (IF) Azubuike can stay healthy (and maybe make a FT now and then) they are as good as anybody not named Michigan State.

Aside from that I will root against the usual suspects. Kentucky, Duke, Cuse, Memphis.
According to HuskyRob1 UConn will be the Southern version of Vermont when they join the Big East, so you'll have something to look forward to.
 
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I think UCSB gets the bid in the Big West lands a #13-14 seed and scares the heck out of someone.
 
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I am incapable of enjoying any team success if it's not UConn. in fact teams in college basketball are only successful due to extenuating circumstances of our lack of success.
 
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Unfortunately my bias blocks my 'pique' but not my peek.

My interests, albeit loosely, is in Calhoun's coaching tree.

St. Josephs
Central CT (Marshall)
Depaul (Leitao)

I peek at the players now coaching also. Basically just to monitor their school's success to guage their promotion potential. That way I'm not surprised when they are either offered a HC position or even a consideration (i.e. interview).
Burrell at scsu
 
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Guys, I live 25 minutes from the UVM campus and go to a few games every year. They have a nice program, the fans are into it and believe me Anthony Lamb is the real deal. Plus he is a real gentleman. Building a new arena, be great if UConn could open it up with them.
 
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I go to a few Bearcats games every year due to being an alum and cheer for them aside from the one game each year against UConn. Through marriage I now have Northwestern to follow as I married in to a family full of NU alum. Ill check in on Marshall every so often as an alum as well. Cool post!
 
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New Mexico State plays UTEP x2 and New Mexico x2. I love Chris Jans. Great coach. He has seven seniors on the roster and could have been 8 if J. Friday the AC transfer showed up eligible. Terrell Brown escaped a felony conviction to suit up this year. Big news this summer for the Aggies.
Some NMSU updates. Bad news: Jalone Friday was removed from the team's roster. Not sure why.

Good news: East Carolina's Shawn Williams was awarded immediate eligibility for NMSU this year. Big pickup and I think he'll play better at a team with depth like NMSU so he's not forced to be "the guy". To be honest, between point guard AJ Harris and Terrell Brown, I'm not even sure Williams starts for the NMSU, but considering they play 12 guys regularly (all players between 10 and 26 minutes per game), the starting lineup doesn't really matter for them as much as other teams.
 

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