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  1. While spending last summer in Denton, TX, one thing was made clear to me quickly – I was in a college town. Surely enough, the University of North Texas resides in the heart of the relatively small, but well-populated Denton, which is located just north of its new conference’s headquarters in Irving, TX. During their thirteen-year history in the Sunbelt Conference, the Mean Green made large contributions to the league, and appear to have all of the tools to continue doing so in Conference USA. But despite playing in four separate bowl games and two NCAA basketball tournaments since 2001, UNT is generally swept under the rug at the expense of nearby Texan college football powerhouses. What they’re known for Yes, UNT is obviously in Texas, where people love their guns and football similar to the way North Carolinians value basketball and barbeque. Though, unlike most of the schools in the state, football hasn’t been the breadwinner at UNT recently. Rather, the school has built quite the basketball program that could fit in nicely in C-USA’s new footprint. The Mean Green enjoyed winning seasons in six of their last seven campaigns. In five of them, they amassed at least 20 wins – including in 2010, which was the last time UNT won the conference tournament and subsequently received a bid to the NCAA Tournament. To put this in perspective, East Carolina’s magical 2012-2013 season was the first time the program reached the 20-win plateau since joining Division I. Read more: http://eastcarolina.scout.com/2/1304971.html
  2. Current Monarchs in the pros ODU has produced arguably, the best pitcher in Major League Baseball. Justin Verlander, who finished his college career as ODUs all-time strikeout leader, has been playing for the Detroit Tigers since 2005. The seven-year, $180 million deal he signed with the Tigers this past March makes him the highest paid pitcher in MLB history. Verlander has had quite the prolific MLB career so far. He led the MLB in strikeouts in 2009, 2011 and 2012 and won Rookie of the Year in 2006, among many other accolades. Arizona Diamondbacks starter Daniel Hudson is also an ODU alumnus. But following two successful campaigns in 2010-2011, Hudson has been unable to stay healthy for the last two years. Since last July, he has undergone Tommy John Surgery twice. As for the basketball program, Kent Bazemore is one of the most notable alumni. In 2011, he won the Lefty Driesell Awardan award given to the best defensive player in the NCAA. After graduating, he went undrafted and now plays for the Golden State Warriors. Bazemores career highlight thus far came in the 2013 playoffs, where he scored a go-ahead basket in the final seconds of double overtime against the eventual Western Conference champion San Antonio Spurs. Background Located in Norfolk, VA, ODU has an undergraduate student body of over 18,000. The schools name stems from one of the states nicknamesThe Old Dominionwhich was given to Virginia for remaining loyal to the Englands King Charles II during the English Civil War. The Monarchs spent 22 years as one of the most recognizable schools of the CAA. Read more: http://eastcarolina.scout.com/2/1303996.html
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