The NCAA Men’s Basketball season will be starting soon, and a lot of ink has been spilled over who the top teams will be. But while the experts are trying to figure out who among Kansas, Villanova, Duke, and Michigan should be number one, the rest of us are hoping to see some fresh blood at the top.

Instead of rooting for somebody who has been there before, why not root for a squad going for their first shot at glory? Here are the five underdogs we are hoping will turn Cinderella next March.

Colorado State University Rams

The Rams’ football team may be having a historically bad year, but their basketball team is another story. With the 2017-18 season marred by coaching controversy, the new leadership is jumping right into a squad hoping to rise above the treatment they received last year. Five years removed from their last appearance in the Big Dance, CSU has a favorable schedule and a good shot at getting in. SHOP COLORADO RAMS TICKETS

Gonzaga University Bulldogs

At a glance, the Bulldogs don’t seem like an underdog team — they are, after all, consistently ranked in the top 25, if not the top 10, in the preseason ranks. They have won their conference almost every years this millennium, and they came in second two years ago. But for some reason they still get no respect in the national media, often overlooked and regarded as a second-rate program barely deserving of notice. This season they are hoping to get back into the Final Four and beyond, and they are hungrier than most. SHOP GONZAGA BULLDOGS TICKETS

University of Maryland Terrapins

The Terps are 16 years removed from their last championship, but only three years removed from their last Sweet Sixteen. The talented squad dropped out of contention last season, however, failing to even get an invite for the first time in five years. But they weren’t left out due to a lack of talent, or poor coaching, or even poor execution. No, they were hobbled by injuries that dogged the team and several close road losses sealed their fate. If they can stay healthy this season, they are one of the most talented squads in the field. SHOP MARYLAND TERRAPINS TICKETS

Wichita State University Shockers

Wichita State may be the most controversial team this preseason. Depending on who you ask, they are ranked as high as 15, or as low as 50. Nobody seems to know what to make of this talented team, despite the fact that they’ve won at least one tournament game in five of the last six years, and they were bounced as a #4 last season in one of the bigger upsets of the tourney. Still, there are a lot of questions and trying to figure out where this squad will land is among the biggest debates out there right now. SHOP WICHITA STATE SHOCKERS TICKETS

University of Vermont Catamounts

When people think of Vermont they think cider or organic bacon or green hills. They certainly don’t think basketball, despite the fact that this squad has made the tournament six times in the last 20 years. Of course, they have only won one game in that time, but that’s all the more reason to hope they can pull it off this time. They missed out on last season’s dance by an end-of-season loss to eventual Cinderella team University of Maryland-Baltimore county, a team nobody outside of Baltimore had heard of prior to their insane topping of a #1 squad as a #16. The Catamounts feel that pain more than most, because by all rights they should have won the America East, and they should have been the ones with the shot at bouncing Virginia. But while the rest of the world has forgotten about UMBC, Vermont hasn’t, and they are out for blood and their rightful position atop the AEC. SHOP VERMONT CATAMOUNTS TICKETS

(Cropped image courtesy of Eric Wong via Flickr. | CC BY-ND 2.0)