The 5 Players To Look Out For During The Sweet 16
posted Mar 09 2018, 04:53PM
story by Lee Harvey
posted in NCAAB, Analysis

Who's your favorite player going into the Round of 16?

At this time of the year, us basketball junkies are looking forward to March Madness. Upsets, cinderellas, amazing comebacks/performances & them eye-opening buzzer beaters. But I wanna focus on the star players that could lead their team further than expected, a Final Four or National Championship.

Duke PF Marvin Bagley III - 6'11" 234 pound Freshman who was the #1 player coming out of high school last season & I'd say he's lived up to that hype. Averaging 21.1 points & 11.5 rebounds on 60.% shooting from the field, most of his shots are in the painted area where he's shown to be a great force on the low block. Marvin also has four 30-point & 15+ rebound games, leading the nation in that category.

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But there is some who in a way think the dominant lefty is overrated/selfish. ESPN college basketball analyst Dan Dakich turned out to be one of those critics:

"I know this is blasphemy....but Bagley is all about Bagley. I mean honest to goodness, I can see in 18 minutes why Duke was able to go on a run when he was hurt. You hate to say that about a kid, but he is about himself. He gets the ball, it doesn't come out. He doesn't play defense. He's a terrific talent, don't get me wrong. But you can see real clear, real fast, & I'll take all the shots that people want to give me but you can see he is about himself."

To say that about a 20-year kid is completely unfair, he's gonna head straight to the NBA no matter what happens in the tournament. A for sure top 5 or top 10 pick, he'll have plenty of time to grow & improve other parts of his game when he makes it to the next level. When you're a 1-on-1 matchup nightmare in the paint like Bagley is, you don't need/have to pass it out unless you're double or triple covered. It's not Bagley's job to average 5-7 assists a game, that's either Tre Duval or Grayson Allen's job to do share the ball. But with that being said, this Duke team is 1 out of 3-4 teams that can win it all & Bagley will be the reason why if that happens.

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West Virginia SG Jevon Carter : He is without a doubt the heart & soul of the Moutaineers. Jevon has improved his game every year & he played his best basketball during his senior season averaging 17.4 points on 42.6% shooting, 40% from 3 & 85.7% from the FT line, 4.7 rebounds & 6.6 assists in 35.4 minutes per game. The difference between Carter & other guards around the country is that he's a relentless defender, averaging 3 steals a game as well showing why some people call West Virginia's defense "Press Virginia" cause they press & force a lot of turnovers. Through 2 games in the NCAA Tourney, Jevon has stepped up his play from the regular season averaging 24.5 points on 54.2% shooting, 71.4% from 3, 4.5 rebounds, 6.5 assists & 5.5 steals in 34 minutes per game. Carter & West Virginia will face 1 seed Villanova in the Sweet 16 on Friday, it may take those numbers he's averaging & a few of his teammates playing their ass off to beat what looks like the best team of the tournament in Villanova.

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Kansas PG DeVonte Graham : For the past couple of years, Frank Mason III has been the unquestioned leader of the Kansas Jayhawks. This season that mantle has been passed down to senior DeVonte Graham & he's done a nice job up to this point. During the regular season, he's averaging 17.4 points on 40% shooting, 40% from 3, 83.3% from the FT line, 4 rebounds & 7.5 assists in 37.6 minutes per game. In 2 games in the NCAA Tourney, he's averaging 18.5 points on 32.2% shooting, 25% from 3, 82.3% from the FT line, 4.5 rebounds, 7.5 assists & 2 steals in 39 minutes per game. The points, FT shooting, rebounds & assists is fine but the shooting from the field & from 3 is gonna have to improve starting Friday vs. 5 seed Clemson if they wanna get back to the Elite 8.

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Villanova PG Jalen Brunson : I think he's the leader of the Villanova Wildcats. Mikal Bridges may be better than Brunson as far as an NBA Draft prospect, Dante DiVincenzo can fill it up off the bench but Brunson is the captain of the ship. During the regular season, the lefty Junior point guard averaged 19.1 points on 53.5% shooting, 42% from 3, 80.3% from the FT line, 3.1 rebounds & 4.7 assists in 31.6 minutes per game. He's only averaging 14 points a game during this tournament cause they've beaten 16 seed Radford 87-61 & 9 seed Alabama 81-58, beat both those teams by an average of 24.5 points per game. But on Friday against West Virginia, I think we'll see the best from Jalen Brunson up against Jevon Carter who's been playing out of his mind right now.

Villanova best Providence 76-66 to win the Big East tournament! March Madness is officially here! Who you got going all the way?! #marchmadness #selectionsunday #jalenbrunson #villanova #wildcats #duke #unc #kansas #virginia #like #graphicdesign

Kentucky PG Shai Gilgeous-Alexander : He's been a late bloomer to me even tho he's averaging 14.4 points on 49.3% shooting from the field, 41.8% from 3, 81% from the FT line, 4.1 rebounds, 5.1 assists & 1.7 steals in 33.6 minutes per game during his Freshman season. The 1 time I really watched him play was vs. Tennesse in the SEC Title game. In the 77-72 win, he scored a season-high 29 points on 10-16 shooting, 2-3 from 3, 7-7 from the FT line & 7 rebounds in 37 minutes. I haven't seen a Kentucky PG take over a game like that, just scored whenever he wanted to & didn't force anything. In his last 5 games Shai has been averaging 21.8 points on 57.1% shooting, 50% from 3, 81.5% from the FT line, 5.8 rebounds, 6.6 assists & 2.4 steals in 37.6 minutes per game With #1 overall seed Virginia, 2 seed Cincinnati, 3 seed Tennessee & 4 seed Arizona all out of the tournament plus Shai playing like this, good luck keeping Kentucky out of the Final Four.

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Lee Harvey
25 years old. Big fan of Ohio State football, Cavs/Celtics basketball & Cleveland Indians baseball. Looking forward to start a new journey in writin...

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