The name on the back of the jersey means just as much as the name on the front here at DraftExpress, so if you're watching the NCAA tournament with an eye on scouting future NBA players, you've come to the right place. Note: The numbers listed next to players represent their standing in our top-100 prospect rankings for the 2013 draft.All listed times are Eastern Standard (EST)7:15 PM EST CBS Lucas Oil Stadium (Indianapolis, IN) 1 Louisville:
#24 Gorgui Dieng
, #51 Russ Smith
, Peyton Siva
, Wayne Blackshear
, Chane Behanan
, Montrezl Harrell
, 12 Oregon: Arsalan Kazemi
, Tony Woods
, Damyean Dotson
, Dominic Artis
Louisville is the best defensive team in college basketball, and this won't be much of a contest at all if Oregon's freshmen backcourt of Dominic Artis
and Damyean Dotson
don't show up tonight in a major way. Both are talented guards with solid athleticism and perimeter shooting ability, but their ball-handling skills will be constantly tested by Louisville's experienced and relentless backcourt duo of Russ Smith
and Peyton Siva
. Pat Forde's excellent story
about Rick Pitino's obsession with charting deflections is a good preview for this matchup.
In the frontcourt, Oregon will need rebounding machine Arsalan Kazemi
to continue to do what he does best, after grabbing an astounding 33 rebounds in their two wins last weekend. Kazemi isn't particularly big, athletic or skilled, but he's somewhat of an Iranian version of Kenneth Faried
with how dominant he's been on the glass the past four years. It will be interesting to see how he'll fare against Gorgui Dieng
and Chane Behanan
, two very solid offensive rebounders in their own right, on Louisville's misses.
7:37 PM EST TBS
Cowboys Stadium (Arlington, TX)1 Kansas:
#2 Ben McLemore
, #26 Jeff Withey
, #97 Elijah Johnson
, 4 Michigan:
#10 Trey Burke
, #20 Glenn Robinson
, #46 Mitch McGary
, #83 Tim Hardaway Jr
, Nik Stauskas
Kansas will need Ben McLemore
to be a lot more aggressive than he's been lately. The highly touted redshirt freshman has made just four field goals playing 96 minutes in his last three games spanning the Big 12 tournament championship and the first weekend of the NCAA tournament. While he's a tremendous athlete and perimeter shooter, some NBA scouts question whether he's too comfortable blending in at times and if he's a good enough ball-handler and shot-creator to warrant consideration as a top draft pick. This type of pressure-packed environment could be a good place to dispel some of those concerns.
While Michigan is a fantastic offensive team (#2 in the NCAA according to KenPom
), their defense is not very intimidating, particularly their wing combination of Nik Stauskas
and [url=Tim Hardaway Jr
]Tim Hardaway Jr, so McLemore should not have too much of a problem finding open looks if he elects to assert himself.
Look for Bill Self to throw a lot of different defenders at Trey Burke
and try to keep arguably the top point guard in college basketball off-balance throughout the game. Jeff Withey
will play a major part in that. He shuts down the paint like no other player in the NCAA, helping Kansas rank #1 in 2-point percentage defense thanks to his impressive timing as a weak-side shot-blocker and intimidator.
Michigan shoots the ball extremely well from the perimeter, with Tim Hardaway
Jr being particularly effective in the tournament so far, scoring 35 points in two games on 8-15 from beyond the arc. Hardaway has been up and down throughout his career at Michigan, as he's neither a prolific ball-handler, nor an incredibly consistent outside shooter. A strong showing against Ben McLemore
can help him continue to raise his profile amongst NBA scouts.
9:45PM EST CBS Lucas Oil Stadium (Indianapolis, IN)2 Duke:
#12 Mason Plumlee
, #65 Rasheed Sulaimon
, #76 Ryan Kelly
, #94 Seth Curry
, Quinn Cook 3 Michigan State:
#23 Gary Harris
, #44 Adreian Payne
, #73 Branden Dawson
, Derrick Nix
, Keith Appling
This is first and foremost a matchup of two of the top coaches in college basketball, Mike Krzyzewski and Tom Izzo. This will be an absolute chess match from a tactical perspective, which should make for compelling basketball. Mason Plumlee
will have his hands full inside the paint, as Michigan State center Derrick Nix
has been on a tear recently, scoring 53 points in the last three games, spanning from the Big Ten tournament championship and the first weekend of the NCAA tournament. Nix, while undersized, is a load to handle from a physical standpoint, capable of scoring with ease with his back to the basket thanks to his strong footwork and excellent touch around the rim. Plumlee is taller and far more athletic, which will make this a very interesting matchup to watch on the interior on both ends of the floor.
Freshmen shooting guards Rasheed Sulaimon
and Gary Harris
will be two of the top NBA prospects on the court. Both players know each other very well growing up on the summer circuit as highly touted recruits, and both have had some very important moments in the NCAA tournament thus far. Suliamon scored 21 points in the Round of 32 against Creighton, while Harris had 23 against Memphis.
One of the most interesting things to watch over the course of the game will be how Izzo decides to defend sweet-shooting Duke senior stretch-4 Ryan Kelly
. Does he stay with his starting lineup and put Adreian Payne
on him, or does he go small and go with the very athletic but undersized Branden Dawson
? Izzo doesn't really have any frontcourt depth to speak of, with going small being his only option off the bench, so one of his big men getting in foul trouble could be an absolute disaster for him.
Payne has been one of the breakout stars of the NCAA tournament thus far, and has a lot to gain with a strong showing against Duke. Consistency hasn't been one of his strong points over the past few years, so it will be interesting to see how he follows up his very effective performance last weekend against Memphis. Payne is already 22 years old, so it wouldn't surprise anyone if he decided to enter the draft this spring. He'll continue to move up NBA teams' draft boards if he's able to move his team move onto the Elite Eight.
9:57 PM EST TBS
Cowboys Stadium (Arlington, TX)3 Florida:
#37 Patric Young
, #63 Erik Murphy
, Kenny Boynton
, Casey Prather
, Will Yeguete
, 15 Florida Gulf Coast
While this might not be the most interesting matchup from a NBA standpoint, this should still be a very entertaining game, pitting the stat-geeks' favorites against the ultimate Cinderella story.
Up-tempo Florida Gulf Coast will try to control the pace of this game against a Florida team that likes to operate in the half-court. It will certainly be in their favor to do so, as they absolutely do not have the size to match up with the likes of Patric Young
and Erik Murphy
. It will likely be here that this game will be decided. Can Florida Gulf Coast stop Young and Murphy from scoring inside the paint? Can they hold their own on the glass? Can they score inside the arc against Florida's vaunted interior defense?
With a full week to prepare for this game, Florida will likely not be surprised by anything Florida Gulf Coast throws at them, which was one of their main advantages in the first weekend of the Tournament against two teams that likely underestimated them severely.
There is not a great deal for Florida's players to gain here from a NBA draft standpoint, as they are matching up against a team that is far less talented than them and are favored by 12 to 13 points according to Vegas. Anything less than a double-digit victory will be considered a surprise. They do have a lot to lose, though. Advancing to the next round to play the winner of Kansas-Michigan, both sporting a number of highly touted NBA prospects, is a must considering that few NBA teams are head over heels in love with the likes of Patric Young
, Erik Murphy
and co. as it is.