I'll admit it...ESPN got me today. They had me click on an article by Jason King with the title "March Sleepers". Here were the ten Mid-Major sleepers from Mr. King:
10. Southern University
8. Florida Gulf Coast
7. Louisiana Tech
6. Boise State
5. La Salle
3. Saint Louis
1. Wichita State
WAIT, WHAT??? VCU is the next VCU and Wichita State is the next Wichita State? Most of these teams gave people trouble last March so how in the world could they be considered "sleepers" next March? O, did I mention that Butler was originally on the list until King realized they were no longer classified as a Mid-Major?
With all due respect Mr. King, here are some Mid-Major sleepers to keep an eye on:
Mercer: Before Florida Gulf Coast stole the nation's attention in the NCAA Tournament, Mercer was running the show in the Atlantic Sun. The Bears have won 51 games the past two years and Bob Hoffman still has the deepest squad in the ASun, lead by senior guard Langston Hall.
Louisiana: I'm riding this Elfrid Payton bus until it runs out of gas. The Ragin' Cajuns are coming off a losing season, but with one of the nation's best point guards anything can happen in Lafayette this year.
Iona: Momo Jones may be gone but Tim Cluess' squad still has a lot of senior-laden talent. It's time for Sean Armand to be the star now and the Gaels shouldn't miss a beat. The Gaels will get a real shot in the arm in 2014-15 with some high profile transfers, but Monmouth transfer Marcus Ware should add some depth this year.
High Point: The Panthers didn't really get to show off their stuff last year due to an injury to Big South Freshman of the Year John Brown just before the conference tournament. With Brown and former Florida Gator/Virginia Tech Hokie Allan Chaney the Panthers have a frontcourt that can hang with anyone, but their guard play must improve to have success this year.
UMass: I mentioned hitching myself to the Elfrid Payton bandwagon earlier and I'm definitely attached to the Chaz Williams one too. UMass was knocking on the door a year ago and may bust through it this year. I wouldn't want to play Williams and the Minutemen in March this year.
Delaware: The Blue Hens showed the nation what they could in the Preseason NIT last year, but fell apart late in the year due to injuries. With Devon Saddler and Jarvis Threatt back the Blue Hens can challenge Northeastern and Towson in the CAA and can also make some noise on a national level again.
Mount St. Mary's: The Mount really started to gel last year and it was clear that the team was buying into Jamion Christian's system. Rashad Whack and Julian Northfleet will make the Mountaineers a dangerous team once again come tournament time.
Eastern Kentucky: The Colonels had a great year going 25-10 and now could have a clear path at an Ohio Valley title. EKU returns four out of their five top leading scorers and two talented incoming guards will help replace Mike DiNunno.