Teams with Cinderella potential next year
by Scott Gleeson, USA TODAY Sports
Is it March yet? Hardly. With the NCAA tournament in the rear-view mirror and Midnight Madness several months away, USA TODAY Sports examines several story lines for the 2013-14 college basketball season.
Remember that team that shocked the world a few months ago? Sure, the Big Dance is a distant memory, but the imprint of Florida Gulf Coast’s magical Cinderella run will return once November nears.
The main question at the beginning of each season seems is difficult to answer: Which team will wear the glass slipper next?
With Andy Enfield moving to USC and the bulk of FGCU’s roster chopped in half, it’s time to search for candidates.
1. Harvard: FGCU hogged the spotlight during last year’s NCAA tournament, but one of the biggest upsets came with Harvard knocking out New Mexico in the second round. The momentum for something greater is in reach next season. The Crimson won their third consecutive Ivy League title despite losing two key players — catalysts Kyle Casey and Brandyn Curry left the team after being implicated in academic cheating — before the season started. In 2013-14, Harvard only loses one key player but returns Ivy Rookie of the Year Siyani Chambers and the Ivy League’s top scorer Wesley Saunders. Coach Tommy Amaker’s biggest challenge won’t be filling voids, it’ll be mastering team chemistry, as Casey and Curry return to a fully blossomed roster after watching last season’s team excel.
2. Creighton: The Bluejays will get tested on a more nationally-driven scale as they enter the new Big East Conference. Technically, Creighton no longer falls under the mid-major tag, but there’s no arguing an Elite Eight or Final Four run would fall under the Cinderella umbrella. This will be an opportunity for the ‘Jays to show how underrated the Missouri Valley Conference was on a nightly basis, something Wichita State helped prove with its Final Four finish last season. Creighton beat the Shockers in both the MVC regular season and tournament titles games but didn’t have the same Big Dance fate, bowing out in the third round. They key for Creighton, as it … [For more on Starting Five: Top teams with Cinderella potential in 2013-14, click here.]