4 underrated teams to get familiar with during the women's college basketball conference tournaments

Postseason play is finally here. With 32 conference tournaments happening simultaneously, there is a lot of good basketball being played. Who are some underrated teams to keep an eye on?

North Texas head coach Jalie Mitchell on the sidelines with North Texas forward Tommisha Lampkin (24)
North Texas head coach Jalie Mitchell on the sidelines with North Texas forward Tommisha Lampkin (24) / HELEN COMER/The Daily News Journal / USA

With conference tournaments kicking off, the college basketball season has reached an apex. Season-long drama is coming to a head as teams are battling to secure their spot in the NCAA tournament in a few weeks. Amidst this unfolding drama, a few teams are capable of throwing a wrench into the NCAA tournament, making a surprise run of their own or ending a top team's run early.

Some of these squads are still sliding under the radar despite having strong seasons. These teams are lower seeds, but could easily play multiple games in the tournament. Here are a few teams to familiarize yourself with during conference play.

4. Fairfield Stags, MAAC

At 26-1, Fairfield has one of the most impressive resumes in college hoops right now. Their resume is so impressive, in fact, that they submitted it to the AP and USA Today voters this week, and ended up securing their first top 25 ranking in school history.

The Stags boast an exceptionally efficient offense. They shoot 47 percent from the field, make nine 3-pointers, and give out 17.5 assists per game. That all adds up to 73.5 points per game. They do this while holding opponents to just 54 points per game.

Fairfield is led by one of the best, yet most underrated, duos in the nation: freshman forward Meghan Andersen and senior guard Janelle Brown. Andersen leads the Stags in scoring, rebounding, and blocks. She does so on impressive .533/.377/.867 splits. Andersen also adds in just under three stocks per game, too. Brown is equally as efficient on both ends. She posts just under 14 points per game on .587/.465/.851 splits, and adds a team-leading 2.5 steals.

After winning the MAAC, the Stags are currently listed as a No. 13 seed by ESPN's Charlie Creme. They should be viewed as one of the best-upset bids in the first round. They're definitely worth a watch before then, though.

3. Florida Gulf Coast Eagles, ASUN

Similar to Fairfield, FGCU already has a projected spot in the NCAA tournament by winning the ASUN. Creme has the Eagles listed as a 12 seed, and they should also be considered a major upset threat in the first round.

FGCU boasts a 20.7 scoring margin on the year, which is good for seventh in the nation. They create this margin by not allowing their opponents to settle in on offense. The Eagles are top 15 in turnover margin, forcing almost six more turnovers than they commit per game. Of the 19 turnovers they force, roughly 10 of them are via steals.

The Eagles are led by guard Emani Jefferson and forward Uju Ezeudu. Jefferson leads the team in points, assists, and steals, with Ezeudu leading the way in rebounds. FGCU is not shy about letting it fly from deep — they shoot 30 3s per game. While they only make about 31 percent of them, that still comes out to nine made each game, which is top-10 in the nation. Not many teams can match this offensive output.

The Eagles are very experienced. They are en route to their seventh consecutive NCAA tournament. During that span, they've only lost four conference games, posting an incredible 108-4 record.

2. North Texas Mean Green, American Athletic Conference

In their first year in the American, North Texas finished their season tied with Tulsa atop the conference. The Mean Green are deep, and have tremendous upset potential in the NCAA tournament, if they can make it in.

Senior forwards Desiray Kernal and Tommisha Lampkin lead the charge for the Mean Green, averaging 16.6 and 15.6 points, respectively. They each add around 8 rebounds a game, too. Behind them, UNT boasts a 10-deep rotation of contributors. Their bench scores 24.6 points per game, good for 30th in the nation.

The Mean Green live up to their name on the court, and their statistical profile shows it. They are one of the better rebounding teams out there, averaging around 40 per game. They play a physical brand of basketball, which gets them to the line 24 times per contest. Despite not shooting well from deep (30.4 percent), they're a top-20 team in field goal percentage at 46.7 percent. This is the type of team that no opponent wants to play, especially in one-and-done formats.

In Creme's latest Bracketology, Tulsa is a 15 seed and an automatic qualifier from the AAC. Is it possible for North Texas to leap into the spot with a conference tournament win?

1. Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders, Conference USA

Middle Tennessee is one of those teams that most avid women's basketball fans are familiar with, but they are still underrated by the masses. The back-to-back C-USA champs, the Blue Raiders are a sound, unique team that is poised for an upset or two this year.

MTSU features four double-digit scorers, led by Savannah Wheeler's 17.3 points per game. They're a bit more top-heavy than most teams, with only seven players appearing in more than 20 games this season, and only five players (the starters) averaging double-digit minutes per game.

The Blue Raiders shoot a scorching 35.6 percent from deep on 24 attempts. They also take care of the ball well, only committing 12 turnovers per game. They don't force very many turnovers in return, but the Raiders make things incredibly difficult for their opponents on offense, holding them to only 34.8 percent shooting.

MTSU lost to Colorado in an underwhelming fashion in last year's tournament. This year, however, could be different. Creme has MTSU as a 10 seed in his latest Bracketology. That's a prime upset seed. Keep your eyes on the Blue Raiders.