One of the reasons this has been such an exciting season for college basketball is that a number of teams have come from nowhere to be very good. My friends, look back at the preseason Top 25, and compare it to the most recent poll and you will find a lot of Shock City squads.
I recently had a debate with a fan at First Watch here in Florida about teams that have overachieved this season -- at least that was the term he used. That made me think about my top five surprise teams so far this season, and here they are. (Teams listed in alphabetical order, records through Feb. 5)
Cincinnati (21-2, 10-0 American): The Bearcats were not picked among the top teams in the American Athletic Conference -- Louisville, Connecticut and Memphis were all chosen ahead of them. But look at what Cincinnati has done since Dec. 14, when a disastrous 17-point loss to crosstown rival Xavier dropped them to 7-2. Since then, Cincinnati has rolled off 14 straight victories and risen to the top 10 of the national polls.
San Diego State (20-1, 9-0 Mountain West): Steve Fisher has done an incredible job when you consider San Diego State's top two scorers from last season, Jamaal Franklin and Chase Tapley, are gone. The Aztecs' lone loss came in a tight contest against Arizona. San Diego State showed a lot of heart Wednesday night, rallying from a 14-point deficit to win at Boise State.
Texas (18-4, 7-2 Big 12): Last season, the Longhorns finished 16-18 and missed the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1998. Rick Barnes' young roster has 12 players who are freshmen or sophomores; there are no seniors on this squad. The team made noise by accomplishing something no previous Texas team had ever done -- winning four straight games against AP Top 25 opponents in four consecutive games. The Horns defeated No. 8 Iowa State, No. 22 Kansas State, No. 24 Baylor and No. 6 Kansas.
Villanova (20-2, 8-1 Big East): Jay Wright's Wildcats were not favored in the Big East preseason poll -- Marquette and Georgetown were predicted to finish 1-2. But Villanova opened a lot of eyes by winning the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas, beating Kansas and Iowa along the way. Their two losses are to Creighton -- on a night the Bluejays hit 21 3-pointers -- and to unbeaten No. 1 Syracuse.
Wichita State (24-0, 11-0 Missouri Valley): How does a team that made the Final Four last season qualify as a surprise in 2013-14? I know Wichita State was ranked in the preseason, but how many people had the Shockers among the last two undefeated teams? Did you really think Wichita State would be in the top five in America in February? Are you serious? Gregg Marshall lost a lot of talent from last season's squad, but the Shockers have found ways to win, overcoming a 19-point second-half deficit to beat Missouri State in overtime and rallying from 15 points down to beat Evansville.
These five teams have really impressed me so far this season.