Busting Brackets

NCAA Basketball: BYU, Butler, and Ole Miss among 10 biggest surprises of 2023-24 season

Jumpman Classic: North Carolina v Oklahoma
Jumpman Classic: North Carolina v Oklahoma / Grant Halverson/GettyImages
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As the 2023-24 college basketball season begins to turn another page with the “official” start of conference play on the horizon, it is time to take a look at 10 teams that have overachieved relative to their preseason expectations. 

Although there are far more than 10 teams in the country that overachieved, here are 10 of the biggest surprises of the 2023-24 college basketball season.

10. Indiana State Sycamores

Josh Schertz, who spent 13 years building a Division II power in Lincoln Memorial from 2008-2021, has done nothing short of a spectacular job in his third year leading the Sycamores. Here is what I had to say about Indiana State in mid-December:

Slated just to finish fourth in the 2023-2024 Missouri Valley Preseason Poll, Indiana State is currently riding a 10-game wins streak after falling on the road to Alabama in early November -- their only loss on the season. 

What is interesting about the 11-1 Sycamores is not only are they a mid-major surprise, but they currently boast the best effective field goal percentage (61.7%), according to BartTorvik.

A staggering number, nonetheless, largely thanks to a dynamic transfer duo in Southern Indiana transfer Isaiah Swope (19.0 Pts, 3.7 Reb, 2.0 Ast) and South Florida transfer Ryan Conwell (15.5 Pts, 4.8 Reb, 2.2 Ast). alongside 6 '10 center Robbie Avila (16.5 Pts, 6.6 Reb, 4.2 Ast) -- a man who is quite popular in the college basketball media.

An interesting game is approaching for the Sycamores, who will travel to East Lansing on Saturday, Dec. 30 to take on Michigan State in what should be a great game.

Given Josh Shertz's high-octane, three-point friendly system, it just might not be a surprise to see the Sycamores keep it close at the Breslin Center to continue to build their at-large hopes.