2013 NCAA Tournament Players to Watch

final4The NCAA Tournament begins tomorrow, and it’s almost time for superstars to showcase their talents and lead their teams to the Final Four. There’s plenty of talented players in the 68-team field, but here are the players you should watch for and consider as you fill in your last-minute brackets.

Ole Miss G Marshall Henderson: Well, Henderson is clearly the most interesting player in the NCAA Tournament. His antics and on court behavior are indeed puzzling, Henderson is a pure scorer who averaged more than 20 points per game during the 2012-13 season. The Rebels face a strong defensive team in #5 seed Wisconsin, but Henderson could lead the SEC Champions to an upset. And if the game gets close, Henderson can be trusted at the free-throw line (88%). He may not earn All-American honors, but Marshall Henderson could win trash talker of the year.

Miami (FL) G Shane Larkin: Miami has its best season in school history this year, winning both the ACC Regular Season and Tournament Championships while embarrassing North Carolina and Duke in the process. Shane Larkin (14.6 points, 3.9 rebounds, 4.4 assists) is a major part of the Hurricanes’ success this year. He can perform at both end of the floor very efficiently, and he could make or break the Hurricanes’ momentum in March. With depth and excellent coaching around him, Larkin has all the tools to lead Miami to the Final Four.

Kansas G Ben McLemore: McLemore is by far the most talented freshman in the 2013 NCAA Tournament. Along with senior center Jeff Withey, McLemore is part of a dangerous hi-low tandem for the #1 Kansas Jayhawks. As a freshman, the 6-5 guard shot 51% for 16.4 points per game, and also shot 87% at the free throw line. McLemore is the quarterback of a Top-25 offense in points, rebounds, assists, and shooting this season. The road to the Final Four isn’t easy for Kansas (North Carolina, Michigan, Florida, and Georgetown on the horizon), but McLemore could prove he belongs with the best in college basketball. Playing well this March could earn McLemore a #1 NBA Draft selection if he leaves Kansas.

Indiana F Victor Oladipo: On a deep, talented Indiana team, Oladipo seems to be the on court leader, especially on the defensive side of the ball. He averages just under 14.0 PPG and 6.4 RPG, but his 2.1 assists and 2.2 steals make the 6-5 guard a dangerous threat on multiple levels. He is very efficient offensively (.599 field goal percentage), and has already earned All-American, All-Big Ten, and Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year honors. With a solid tournament, Victor Oladipo could lead the Hoosiers to the Final Four and earn the John Wooden Award for National Player of the Year.

Duke F Mason Plumlee: Duke is considered as a strong, but inconsistent team because they rely heavily on shooting threes and mid range shots. But Duke is also loaded with senior leadership, including 6-10 forward Mason Plumlee, who has already won a national championship with the Blue Devils (2010). Plumlee is a tremendous low-post player (17.2 points, 10.2 rebounds per game) and is also a candidate for the Wooden Award. He is in a crucial spot for the Blue Devils: if Duke struggles from outside, Plumlee will expected to pick up the offensive slack down low and grab key offensive rebounds. Duke has all the tools to win if Plumlee comes to play like an All-American every game.

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