Upset Alert Teams to Win a College Basketball Conference Tournament during “Champ Week”

BY MATTY D.

Cinderella can reside in the Power 5. In 2021, Georgetown surged in unlikely fashion after a horrible regular season. The Hoyas went dancing in March Madness as the Big East Tournament winner. The team had only gone 7-9 in the conference regular season and had an overall record of .500 (13-13).

Similarly, Oregon State went from an expected pre-season bottom feeder in the Pac-12, to The Elite 8.

Here are seven teams that could burst a bubble team’s dreams. It shouldn’t shock anyone who is watching college basketball to see these teams in a conference tournament championship game.

Maryland Terps 2021-2022 Basketball Profile – Big Ten Conference

In an era of global turmoil, it’s safe to say that Maryland still had a rocky season. They brought in two highly touted transfers in Fatts Russell and Qudus Wahab. However, the Terps season got off to a slow turtle crawl. They lost to in-state non-rival George Mason. And Head Coach Mark Turgeon and the administration, reportedly, agreed to part ways mid-season.

Danny Manning took over as head coach. As you watch the team play, they are slowly rounding into form. A game against Nebraska in mid-February showed off their ceiling. Yes, it’s a lousy Nebraska team, but you saw freshman forward Julian Reese show off his stuff.

The roster is still beefed up with veteran players who have been in plenty of March Madness battles. Eric Ayala and Donta Scott come to mind. It was Danny Manning and the Miracles which made one of college basketball’s most magical runs ever. If some Big Ten teams get complacent during their conference tournament, it could be the Terps that go on a miraculous run.

Photo courtesy umterps.com

Florida Atlantic Owls 2021-2022 Basketball Profile – Conference USA

By NCAA Tournament standards, Conference USA is a major conference. Just in the last decade, look at what Middle Tennessee and North Texas have done to wreak havoc on the bracket. UAB, North Texas and even Louisiana Tech have been on the radar for modest at-large chances this season. However, the Florida Atlantic Owls are staying up late into February with relevant play in its league. In a seven game stretch over January to February, they won 6 of 7 games in conference. That includes the Owls’ dominating win against Louisiana Tech where the Owls shot 52% from the field, 45% from 3 point territory, and led by as many as 20 points.

Like many deep sleepers, this team features some sizable international talent. Its front-court features size and versatility with players from Kosovo, Russia, Senegal and Kongo all contributing.

Arizona State Sun Devils 2021-2022 Basketball Profile – Pac 12 Conference

This one is simple. You cannot watch the Arizona State Sun Devils inspired play against Final 4 favorite UCLA and not be inspired to think they can go on a magical run. After an era of Arizona State pumping guards into the NBA, its powerful forwards forced the action against UCLA late. They beat the Bruins and the Oregon Ducks in February. They also scored a win against Colorado and were very competitive against an AP Top 5 team in Arizona.

Forwards like Jalen Graham are dropping double digits with regularity late in the season.

Bobby Hurley is one of the sports all-time great point guards. Perhaps he can be the floor general as head coach of the Sun Devils and lead them to a conference crown.

Utah State 2021-2022 Basketball Profile – Mountain West Conference

Google the phrase college basketball elder statesman, and Brock Miller’s mug shot might pop up. This team is as aged as the sandy ledge of a mountain boarding the small town of Sandy, Utah. And they can shoot. Sure, big man Neemias Queta moved on to bigger and better things. But there’s still plenty of residue remaining to roll up a run. You could look at their record and say they’re toast. Or, you could look at their record and give props to just how good the Mountain West has been this year. Wyoming, Colorado State, and San Diego State are likely tournament teams regardless of what happens in the Mountain West Tournament. The Aggies are only middle of the pack in terms of college basketball’s best three point shooting team. On February 24th they ranked 159th in the nation with a pedestrian 34% from 3PT. However, that’s not indicative of the shooting stroke you could see from senior leaders Miller and Justin Bean. So why not let loose in Vegas and roll the dice with a bunch of bombs from downtown during Champ Week?

This list included Mizzou and Northwester weeks ago, but their play has since soured.

George Mason 2021-2022 Basketball Profile – Atlantic 10

The Atlantic 10 is filled with teams that are capable of “stealing a bid.” In fact, it will likely happen. Davidson has enjoyed a lead atop the league for most of the season. However, they face stiff competition with St. Louis, VCU, Dayton, Richmond, St. Bonaventure, and George Mason, to name a few. George Mason is coached by former Mizzou baller Kim English Jr. They are a bit of a mystery, with a lots of bad losses on their record. However, they have one of the conference’s purest shooters in Colorado transfer D’Shawn Schwartz. 6-9 forward Josh Oduro is having a solid season. He averages 18 points and 7 rebounds on the season. Their wins over St. Bonaventure, Dayton and Richmond should be noted as proof this team could compete for the conference championship.

George Mason is an up-and-coming program in college basketball.
Photo courtesy: gomason.com

Sons of NBA Dads in College Basketball in 2022

The list of second generation basketball players seemingly grows each year, with sons of former NBA players competing in college hoops nationwide. Below is a full list of sons of NBA dads we’ve spotted in college basketball. If we have missed any, please tweet us at CBBEyeTest.

CLICK HERE FOR LAST YEAR’S LIST OF SONS OF NBA PLAYERS IN NCAA 2020-2021

The leading man for the second generation players list of 2022 has to be Jabari Smith. He is a likely top lottery pick in the 2022 NBA Draft.

As a freshman, Jabari Smith Jr. is leading the Auburn Tigers as a possible future 1 seed for March Madness.

Jabari Smith senior’s rookie card from 2001 becomes an interesting collector’s item on eBay.

His father, Jabari Smith senior, had a lesser-known NBA career versus some of the names below. He played 108 games in his NBA career.

For fans of 1990s NBA basketball, this list continues to provide entertainment. It brings back memories of some of the great battles for NBA supremacy during the decade, especially in the Eastern Conference. In fact, the 1996 Eastern Conference Finals between the Orlando Magic and Chicago Bulls actually featured at least 8 (future) fathers of kids who would go on to play Division 1 basketball.

One of those blasts-from-the-past is Brian Shaw. His son B.J. Shaw wears the same number 20 and competes with UC Davis.

Former Orlando Magic and LA Laker’s guard Brian Shaw’s son B.J. currently plays at UC Davis.
Photo courtesy: ucdavisaggies.com

Another important rotation player from that series was Ron Harper. As you may know, his son Ron Harper Jr. is one of the best “juniors” across the college basketball landscape.

Ron Harper Jr. had one of the season’s most memorable moments when his buzzer beater helped defeated the then-number 1 ranked Purdue Boilermakers.

You cannot have a conversation about the 1990s Bulls without talking about Scottie Pippen. Yes, his son is playing college basketball too! Scotty Pippen Jr. is being coached by another all-time NBA great, Jerry Stackhouse, and averaging over 19 points for Vanderbilt in his junior season.

Note that the Generation Z player spells his name with a “Y” while pops spells Scottie with an “i.e.”

What sort of tangent would this article be about the 1990s Bulls without a reference to Dennis Rodman?

Yes, his son plays Division 1 Basketball too!

DJ Rodman is a junior with Washington State.

Steve Kerr’s son Nick played college basketball with Cal a few years ago, which means that 1996 Bulls team could have fielded a full team of future fathers of college players.

Meantime, those 1996 Orlando Magic had a few scholarship players in their gene pool, too.

The most famous Magic ever, Shaquille O’Neal, has a son playing college hoops right now at LSU.

After transferring from UCLA to his father’s alma mater at LSU, Shareef O’Neal is a blue chipper.

This story wouldn’t be complete without a Shaq-and-Penny connection. Penny Hardaway is actually coaching his son with the Memphis Tigers in 2021-2022 as well. Jayden Hardaway has earned his minutes over the years and is now a regular rotation player with the Tigers.

The 1990s Eastern Conference is well represented in this list.

Dikembe Mutombo’s son Ryan continues a big man family legacy at Georgetown.

At midseason, Simaki Walker’s son Jabari Walker already had eight double-doubles for Colorado.

Former Indiana Pacers guard Harold Workman’s son Bryce plays D1 ball.

Jameer Nelson Jr. is a junior guard and plays guard for Delaware.

Photo courtesy bluehens.com/sports/mens-basketball/roster

The East Coast doesn’t just dominate this status of talent inheritance. On the West Coast, players like James Keefe of Stanford and Eric Williams Jr. of Oregon are sons of NBA players.

Eric Williams Jr. plays for the Oregon Ducks.

Jamal Mashburn’s son is following in his footsteps, in more ways than one. Jamal Mashburn Jr. has also followed a Pitino coach. In fact, Mashburn Jr. played for Rick Pitino’s son Richard at both Minnesota and now with New Mexico.

New Mexico basketball has two sons of NBA players in the rotation. Eddie House’s son Jaelen House is another scoring guard on the team.

Otis Thorpe’s son DJ Thorpe plays for the Cal Bears.

Photo courtesy calbears.com

Here’s another random, 1990s sir name, nostalgic, NBA nugget: Marčiulionis.

Do you remember that name?

Photo courtesy smcgaels.com/sports

The second generation NBA talent discussion has an international flair as the son of Sarunas Marciulionis has been imported from Lithuania to St. Mary’s basketball. Augustus Marciulionis is a 6-4 freshman with the Gaels.

It’s not only the 1990s Eastern Conference powers represented, but also 1980s NBA playoff teams with sons in power 5 schools. Cleveland Cavalier’s great Larry Nance’s son Pete continues carving out his own professional basketball career. That status would mean that he follows in both father, and brother’s, footsteps.

Pete Nance is leading Northwestern as a possible tournament team.

Nance continues a growing trend of second generation players populating the entire Big 10 Conference.

According to IUHoosiers.com, Trayce Jackson-Davis is the “son of for Indiana Pacers standout Dale Davis and Ray and Karla Jackson.”

Photo courtesy iuhoosiers.com

https://iuhoosiers.com/sports/mens-basketball/roster/trayce-jackson-davis/15620

The Fab 5 even makes a cameo on this list. Juwan Howard is another former NBA player who is coaching his son currently.

Jace Howard is a sophomore at Michigan University. Photo courtesy: mgoblue.com

Da’Monte Williams is one of the best glue guys in college basketball. He is also the son of another Illini player, Frank Williams.

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