Northeastern University’s star senior point guard, Jonathan Lee, planned on playing at Montana State until the school pulled its scholarship offer. The Huskies’ other star guard, Texas native Joel Smith, waited around for a UTEP offer that never materialized. Northeastern’s most tantalizing prospect, sophomore Quincy Ford, is the fifth of 10 children home-schooled in his family’s St. Petersburg, Fla., living room.

Northeastern coach Bill Coen has prospered by using more blue collar players than blue chips. And this current group of far-flung and unheralded Huskies has quietly emerged as one of the biggest surprises in college basketball.