East Tennessee State Buccaneers: 27-7, 14-4 in the Southern Conference 

Head coach: Steve Forbes (2nd season)

Players to watch: T.J. Cromer (19.1 PPG, 40.4 3PT%); Desonta Bradford (10.6 PPG, 4.5 RPG); Tevin Glass (8.9 PPG, 6.2 RPG)

Season recap: The Buccaneers will appear in their first NCAA tournament since 2010 in large part due to Cromer's play in the Southern Conference tournament. The senior carried his team with 41 points on 9-of-12 shooting from deep against Samford to advance to the championship game against UNC Greensboro. After losing to the Spartans twice in the regular season, East Tennessee State punched its ticket to the Big Dance behind 23 points from Cromer in a 79-74 win. 

Although East Tennessee State did not come away with a marquee victory in nonconference play, the Buccaneers turned in solid efforts against Dayton and Tennessee and picked up a road win against Mississippi State. East Tennessee State then finished in a three-way tie atop its conference at 14-4, using its offense to win numerous high-scoring shootouts. The Buccaneers utilize a deeper bench than most teams with 10 players appearing in 24 games or more this season. 

How they make a run: Building off his play in the conference tournament, Cromer stays hot and steals the tournament spotlight to will East Tennessee State to a first-round upset. 

How they falter: Despite strong play from Cromer, the Buccaneers struggle on defense against a team that stretches the floor and find themselves on the wrong end of a big loss.