65 Reasons to Celebrate the NCAA Tournament

Almost every team has a guy whose play tends to set the tone for his team's success. The Minutes identifies seven players who might not all be the leading men on their teams but who will have to be on their game to advance. Derrick Low (52), Washington State. The Hawaiian bomber leads the Cougars in scoring but has struggled a bit down the stretch, averaging just 9.5 points per game and shooting 29 percent from 3-point range in the past month. He's one guy who might have benefited from Wazzu losing in the Pacific-10 tournament Friday and getting some additional rest.

Kammron Taylor (53), Wisconsin. Somebody has to keep the Badgers from being Alando Tucker and 10 guys named Harry. With Brian Butch out, that guy is Taylor more than ever. He went 6-of-27 in Wisconsin's last three games of the regular season -- two of them losses -- but might have gotten right with his stroke when he made the game-winner against Michigan State on Senior Day. He was solid in the Big Ten tournament.

Stephen Curry (54), Davidson. Woe unto the high-seeded team that sleeps on Dell Curry's kid. He hasn't scored fewer than 18 points since Jan. 15, which happens to coincide with the Wildcats' 13-game winning streak. Curry averaged 27.7 ppg and 5.7 rpg in the Southern Conference tournament.

Wink Adams (55), UNLV. Pretty simple: When Adams struggles to hit outside shots, the Rebels struggle. When he's on, they're on. Adams has shot 14 percent from 3-point range in UNLV's losses, 39 percent in its victories.

Terrence Williams (56), Louisville. When Williams is taking good shots and making good passes, the Cardinals are a Final Four contender. When he's not, they're a first-round-knockout contender. During Louisville's last-month surge, Williams has averaged 13.6 points per game, seven rebounds, 5.2 assists and 1.8 steals and is shooting 43 percent from the field. (That's progress for a guy shooting 37 percent for the season.)

Jonathan Wallace (57), Georgetown. Everyone says the biggest roadblock to a Hoyas national title run is their guard play. The Minutes does not disagree. Wallace must take care of the ball. He's had 13 assists and 24 turnovers in Georgetown's six losses, 84 assists and 56 turnovers in its wins. He had a stellar 4-to-1 assist-turnover ratio in the Big East tournament.

Mike Jones (58), Maryland. Another guy who can bury a team when he gets hot and bury his own team when he's not. Jones has made 48 percent of his 3s in Terrapins wins, 31 percent in their losses.

Big Winners

The Minutes predicts that the team cutting down the Georgia Dome nets April 2 will come from this list. (And yes, Florida was on The Minutes list last year. Of course, so was second-round loser Ohio State.) Florida -- When Team Light Switch has it flipped on, everyone else should be playing for second place. And right now, the switch is on. This could be the repeat we've been waiting for since Christian Laettner left the Metrodome in 1992.

North Carolina (59) -- The Tar Heels have every element you could want: size, speed, shooters, passers, rebounders, insane depth, quality coaching. At times, they also have the focus of a kindergarten class and the killer instinct of a Greenpeace group -- which is how you lose five regular-season ACC games, then nearly let an exhausted (but tougher) NC State team win the ACC tournament. But with this much talent and favorable seeding, UNC has to be on the list.

Page
Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...