NBA-DRAFT.COM NCAA Tournament Preview

Don't let your girlfriend/wife/mother fill out your bracket with their favorite mascot/geographical location/team color. Get informed. Read this before filling out your bracket and win your pool by having the information on all 68 of the teams in the field.

Players To Watch
Alabama Crimson Tide
Conference: SEC
Record: 21-11 (9-7)

JaMychal Green, 6'8" senior forward
Green, the one-time SEC standout, was limited to just 25 games during the regular-season due to team-imposed suspensions, but regardless is still a crucial piece to this puzzle with his offerings offensively and defensively; he is the team leader in scoring (14 points), rebounding (7.4) and blocked shots (1.4). Grant needs him on the floor to provide the toughness Alabama portrays.
It's been a crazy season for the Crimson Tide- beginning the season in the Top 20, falling out in early-December, suspending several key players. But all-in-all, Anthony Grant has put together one of the top defensive teams in the country, holding opponents' to 38.8 percent shooting overall, 28.3 percent from 3 and just 58 points per game.
Baylor Bears
Conference: Big 12
Record:  27-7 (12-6)

Perry Jones, 6'11" sophomore forward
With nine double-doubles all season long, four of those came in the past five games as Jones has clearly demonstrated his intent to score in the low-blocks. Not only is he converting his opportunities at the rim, but he is getting easy buckets off offensive rebounds as well.
Coach Scott Drew utilizes one of the biggest lineups in the country with forwards Perry Jones, Quincy Miller, Quincy Acy as starters and Cory Jefferson and Anthony Jones coming off of the bench; yet, Acy, the smallest of the bunch, is the only true post-player in the group. If Baylor wants to move forward in this NCAA Tournament, Perry Jones and Co. will need to get some higher percentage looks at the rim and take advantage of their size and athleticism.
Belmont Bruins
Conference: Atlantic Sun
Record: 27-7 (16-2)
Kerron Johnson, 6'1" junior guard
Johnson is the team's leading scorer at 14.1 points per game and is one of four Bruins averaging double-digits; he ranks fourth in the conference, by way of aggressive, attack-the-basket drives (first in the A-Sun in free-throws made), third in total points, but also keeps his head up to find the open Bruin as Johnson ranks second in the conference in assists per game with 5.2 per game. As a testament to how important Johnson is for Belmont, he is 15th in the entire country in +/- rating.
Belmont enters the Tournament winning 14 in a row, with their last loss coming all back on January 21st. Their offense is quite capable of generating an upset in the Tournament, running like a well-oiled, efficient machine- the Bruins rank fourth in the country in points per game (81.5), fifth in assists (17.4) and 13th in overall field-goal percentage (48.4).
California Golden Bears
Conference: Pac-12
Record: 24-9 (13-5)
Player to watch: Yancy Gates, 6'9" senior forward
Although the Bearcats went 6-0 in Gates' absence due to the Xavier brawl, Gates has become the team's go-to scorer late in the season- averaging 19 points on 56.1 percent from the floor with 8 rebounds per game.
Their offensive statistics aren't appealing by any means (42 percentage field-goal mark, 248th in the country), however with the tremendous athletes on Mick Cronin's team, the Bearcats extended possessions with 459 offensive rebounds, 15th in the country.
Cincinnati Bearcats
Conference: Big East
Record: 24-10 (12-6)
Yancy Gates, 6'9" senior forward
Although the Bearcats went 6-0 in Gates' absence due to the Xavier brawl, Gates has become the team's go-to scorer late in the season- averaging 19 points on 56.1 percent from the floor with 8 rebounds per game.
Their offensive statistics aren't appealing by any means (42 percentage field-goal mark, 248th in the country), however with the tremendous athletes on Mick Cronin's team, the Bearcats extended possessions with 459 offensive rebounds, 15th in the country.
Colorado Buffaloes
Conference: Pac-12
Record: 23-11 (11-7)
Andre Roberson, 6'7" sophomore forward
This future NBA wing utilizes his size, length and tremendous athleticism to grab the most rebounds of any non-frontcourt player; his 11.1 rebounds were the best in his conference and fifth most overall, including an astounding 29.8 percent of defensive boards.
The team earned their first NCAA bid since 2003 after being predicted to finish second-to-last in the Pac-12 this season. This Buffalo team ends their opponents' possessions at a high-rate (72.3 percent) with stellar defensive rebounding.
Colorado State Rams
Conference: Mountain West
Record: 20-11 (8-6)
Wes Eikmeier, 6'3" junior guard
The junior guard led the Mountain West in free-throw percentage with an accurate 87.7 percent, but was also the team-leader in 3-point makes with 54; Eikmeier led the team with 15.7 points per game.
Colorado State is a well-put-together basketball team- ranking sixth best in both free-throw shooting (76.9 percent) and 3-point shooting (40.5 percent).
Connecticut Huskies
Conference: Big East
Record: 20-13 (8-10)

Jeremy Lamb, 6'5" sophomore guard
Last season's late-season weapon is this year's player to watch after an excellent individual season. Lamb must take control of this Huskies' team by continuing to knock down mid-range jumpers and taking the ball to the rim aggressively.
Per usual, UConn is excellent at rebounding the ball and protecting the rim with Andre Drummond and Alex Oriakhi up front. This team's post-season success will depend on that of point guard Shabazz Napier who too often takes the team out of its offensive rhythm by dribbling in place and launching ill-timed jumpers.
Creighton Bluejays
Conference: Missouri Valley
Record: 28-5 (14-4)
Doug McDermott, 6'7" sophomore forward
McDermott should be a first-team All-American based on his production and team performances in leading the Bluejays to a Missouri Valley Conference Tournament title. The son of head coach, Greg, Doug is one of the most dangerous and most efficient scorers in the country averaging 23.2 points per game (third in the country), shooting 61 percent from the field and 49.5 percent from behind the arc. There's no question where the ball will be going when Creighton needs a bucket.
Led by Doug McDermott, Creighton is an extremely dangerous offensive team, ranking sixth in points per game (80), third in assists (17.9) and tops in overall field-goal percentage (50.9). But if the Bluejays want to go far in the Tournament, point guard Antoine Young and center Greg Echenique will need to step up.
Davidson Wildcats
Conference: Southern
Record: 25-7 (16-2)
De'Mon Brooks, 6'7" sophomore forward
Brooks is the team's leading-scorer at 16 points per game, which is right on par for his four-game average when Davidson took on NCAA Tournament foes Duke, Kansas, Vanderbilt and Wichita State
Davidson ran through the SoCon, finishing four games better than the nearest opponent behind a balanced scoring attack that features five starters who score in double-figures.
Detroit Titans
Conference: Horizon
Record: 22-13 (11-7)
Eli Holman, 6'10" senior center
A one-time Indiana Hoosier, Holman has thrived in his three seasons for the Titans; he is averaging 11 points and 7 rebounds per game after leading the entire Horizon League in rebounding a year ago. Holman uses his big, wide-frame in the paint to effectively score around the rim (61.3 percent field-goal mark), get opposing bigs in foul trouble and grab rebounds.
Due to a suspension, Holman sat out the first ten games of the season and Detroit paid dearly for the big man's absence, losing six of these contests. But with the burly center back in the lineup, the Titans are 18-7, winners of 10 of their last 11.
Duke Blue Devils
Conference: ACC
Record: 27-6 (13-3)

Austin Rivers, 6'4" freshman guard
Rivers struggled down the stretch and has been a critical factor in Duke's 2-2 finish in the final four games- averaging 14.8 points on a 35.1 field-goal percentage, including just 15 percent from behind the arc. Rivers is certainly much more talented than these numbers show, but Duke will only go as far as his shooting can take them.
Duke is one of the best shooting teams in the field- getting to the foul line early and often despite their prolific 3-point shooting.  Their defense is much-improved from a early-to-mid-season disappointment, but the Blue Devils need to be better at defending shots inside the arc (ranked 343rd out of 345 in opponents' field-goal point percentage).
Florida Gators
Conference: SEC
Record: 23-10 (10-6)
Patric Young, 6'9" sophomore center
This former high-school All-American needs to assert himself on the blocks, call for the ball and be more aggressive. Then, and only then, will Florida have the consistent scoring threat on the inside that they need to shoot the high-percentage shot instead of settling for another contested 3-pointer.
The Gators are certainly perimeter-oriented on offense- making the most 3-point shots and attempting the second-most out of an team in the country. But they have become tremendously reliant on the deep perimeter shot- lacking a true inside-threat on a consistent basis to help open the floor for shooters.
Florida State Seminoles
Conference: ACC
Record: 24-9 (12-4)
Michael Snaer, 6'5" junior guard
A noted-clutch shooter with several game winners this year, Snaer is one of the best perimeter defenders in the nation, possessing the size and quickness to guard opposing point guards or forwards given the matchup. But it's still his offense that the team will count on to advance.
Although Florida State's frontline is quite notable (fourth biggest lineup in the country) and 5.9 blocks per game are the most of any team, this team's perimeter options can really light it up- combining for 23 made 3s in two wins over UNC.
Georgetown Hoyas
Conference: Big East
Record: 23-8 (12-6)
Henry Sims, 6'10" senior center
The late-blooming center is the nation's best passing big man and a crucial component to John Thompson III's Princeton-style offense; he led the team with 3.5 assists per game, but his dominance in the Big East Tournament needs to be noted due to his increased aggressiveness (averages of 21 points, 60 percent shooting from the field14 rebounds, 4 assists).
Georgetown is one of the country's elite-level defensive teams, holding opponents' to 27 percent shooting from 3-point range, best in the country) and 38.7 percent overall from the field, 13th best.
Gonzaga Bulldogs
Conference: West Coast
Record: 25-6 (13-3)
Robert Sacre, 7'0" senior center
Sacre, a burly 7-footer, is a force to handle with a strong frame that helps him get post-positioning on the low block, but he also possesses a soft touch to step outside and knock down a 12-footer. His 89.2 free-throw rate ranks third in the country, meaning some easy points for Sacre and the Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs do a few things very well: they get to the foul line at a high percentage, led by senior center Robert Sacre. But the Bulldogs also average one of the lowest fouls per game averages and thus, keep their opponents from getting to the charity stripe in the process.
Harvard Crimson
Conference: Ivy
Record: 26-4 (12-2)
Keith Wright, 6'8" senior forward
The Crimson are stellar defensively, thanks in large part to Wright's play in the paint and on the glass. His 8 rebounds per game, including 6 on the defensive glass, rank second in the Ivy League, while his effective low-post play on the offensive end (59.4 field-goal percentage) led the conference and led way to his 10.7 points per game.
It wasn't as easy as many predicted, but Harvard still manage to secure the Ivy's automatic bid thanks to a slip-up by UPenn. But that's no reason to sleep on the Crimson- they rank fourth in the country in points allowed per game (54.8), 15th assists allowed (9.7) and third in opponents' rebounds (28.1).
Indiana Hoosiers
Conference: Big Ten
Record: 25-8 (11-7)
Cody Zeller, 6'11" freshman center
Zeller has been a game-changer in his initial college season, ranking 13th in the country in offensive rating defined by a 62.6 field-goal mark and 75.5 conversion rate at the foul line. If he gets his touches, Indiana is dangerous.
Few teams were as dominate at home over the course of the season, but the Hoosiers are slightly above-average away from Assembly Hall. Even without wing Verdell Jones (torn ACL in Big Ten Tournament), Indiana is one of the most offensively efficient teams and excel at getting to and converting at the foul line.
Iona Gaels
Conference: MAAC
Record: 25-7 (15-3)
Scott Machado, 6'1" senior guard
The lean senior lead the nation's top-offense with nearly 10 assists per game, but it's his scoring that should be noted; through his previous three years with the Gaels, Machado was a below-average shooter from the field, 3-point range and the foul line. Yet in his senior campaign, Machado has become a threat to score the basketball as well as pass it.
Iona's offense is fun to watch- averaging the nation's best 83.3 points on 50.4 percent shooting with 19.3 assists per game. But can Iona prove skeptics wrong, just like VCU did last year, and show they belong in the field?
Iowa State Cyclones
Conference: Big 12
Record: 22-10 (12-6)
Royce White, 6'8" sophomore forward
White's overall skill set is second to only Michigan State's Draymond Green as most versatile and deadly. White converts a high percentage of his shot attempts (52.1 percent), gets to the foul line often (192 attempts), but is also one of the top forces on the glass (9.2 rebounds per game) and distributing the ball (5.2 assists per game). The one big negative to White's game: his 3.9 turnovers per game rank sixth worst in the country.
Iowa State is a deadly 3-point shooting team, shooting 38 percent on the year with four players making at like 50 shots from behind the arc. However, the Cyclones are also one of the nation's worst three teams at defending the 3-point arc, allowing opponents to shoot even better at 38.5 percent accuracy.
Kansas Jayhawks
Conference: Big 12
Record: 27-6 (16-2)
Thomas Robinson, 6'9" junior forward
Last season's top sixth man is this season's top frontcourt starter. He is a double-double pretty much every night with tremendous energy on the glass and fierce aggressiveness in the low-post.
Despite the dramatic roster overhaul between last season and this one, KU didn't skip a beat; they rank 13th nationally with their efficient shooting (48.5 field-goal percentage), while putting the clamps down on others (38.3 percent, ranking seventh best).
Kansas State Wildcats
Conference: Big 12
Record: 21-10 (10-8)
Rodney McGruder. 6'4" junior guard
One of the few true threats shooting the ball for K-State is this junior guard who takes better than 26.8 percent of his team's shots when he is on the floor, scoring 15.4 points a night.
Kansas State does not shoot the ball especially well and are in the middle-of-the-pack no matter where the shot goes up, but the Wildcats are one of top teams at hitting the offensive glass and creating second-chance opportunities; they grab 14.2 offensive boards a game, that's a 40.8 percent rate.
Kentucky Wildcats
Conference: SEC
Record: 32-2 (16-0)
Anthony Davis, 6'10" freshman center
Davis swept the major conference awards, taking home the Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year and he will be drafted No. 1 overall in June's NBA Draft to boast. Simply put, he is a complete game-changer capable of altering and contesting every shot within his freakishly long reach, skying over others for rebounds and now, a newly-developed perimeter game that has him stepping out with range to the 3-point line on offense to stretch the defense.
The Wildcats rank in the top five in offensive and defensive efficiency anchored by a frontline of SEC Player of the Year Anthony Davis, Terrence Jones and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, all three of which can go off for double-doubles on any given night. They rank first nationally in defensive field-goal percentage, holding opponents to 36.6 percent from the floor given their 8.8 blocks per game.
Lamar Cardinals
Conference: Southland - East
Record: 23-11 (11-5)
Mike James, 6’1” senior guard
James is one of the seniors Pat Knight famously called out just a few weeks ago; he is the team’s leading scorer at 17.2 points per game and capable of going off if his streaky shot is on. James scored 52 last season by way of 11 made 3-point baskets.
Lamar excels on the offensive end of the floor or at least they try to; as a team, they attempted the fifth most shots in the country, but made just 43.5 percent of their shots (163rd in the country). The team also ranks in the top ten in both free throws made and attempted, making 72.1 percent, which ranks 71st in the country.
Lehigh Mountain Hawks
Conference: Patriot
Record: 26-7 (11-3)
C.J. McCollum, 6'3" junior guard
Get familiar with this name quickly as this do-everything guard for the Mountain Hawks led the team in scoring (sixth in the country, 21.9 points), rebounding (6.5 rebounds) and steals (2.6 steals, fifth in the country).

It's no secret this team relies on McCollum, the two-time Patriot League Player of the Year. He ranks in the top 20 nationally in the number of possessions used, shot percentage, field-goals made and attempted, free-throws made and attempted.
Long Beach State 49ers
Conference: Big West
Record: 25-8 (15-1)
Casper Ware, 5'10" senior guard
As a senior, Ware repeated as the Big West Player of the Year and is a finalist for the Bob Cousy Award as the nation's top point guard as well. This undersized point guard can really fill the stat-sheet: 17.4 points per game, 92 total made-3-pointers (1st in Big West, 14th in the nation), 3.3 assists per game, 1.4 steals per game
Looking for a potential sleeper team in your bracket? This is it. No coach wants to play the battle-tested 49ers who traveled across the country in their non-conference schedule to prepare for March. They have legitimate talent with the aforementioned Casper Ware, but two more first-team All-Conference picks with a long, athletic big man, TJ Robinson and silky-shooting wing, Larry Anderson as well.
Long Island Blackbirds
Conference: NEC
Record: 25-8 (16-2)
Julian Boyd, 6'7" junior forward
Boyd is a two-time All-NEC first-team performer and took home the conference's Player of the Year hardware this season. His versatility is crucial for the up-tempo Blackbirds where Boyd has added a reliable 3-point shot (42.6 percent) to his effective low-post scoring (55.7 percent overall).
Offensively, this team can put on a clinic where LIU averaged 81.9 points per game, third most in the country. Defensively? Not so much- the Blackbirds play matador defense on most possessions, ranking near the bottom of the nation's ranking in points and assists allowed per game.
Louisville Cardinals
Conference: Big East
Record: 26-9 (10-8)
Peyton Siva, 5'11" junior guard
Is Siva this year's Kemba Walker after sparking his team to the Big East Tournament championship? He is a game-changer with his blazing speed and was excellent in the Cardinals four wins in four days- averaging 13.8 points, 5.8 assists, 6.3 rebounds and 2.8 steals per game.
Louisville is great getting up-and-down the floor in transition with Peyton Siva leading the way, but the Cards don't get enough credit defensively where they allow teams the third lowest true-shooting percentage at 46.7 in the nation. They are stellar rebounding the ball (38.3 per game, 24th in the nation) and forcing steals (9.1 per game, 7th).
Loyola (MD) Greyhounds
Conference: MAAC
Record: 24-8 (13-5)
Erik Etherly, 6'7" junior forward
The first-team All-MAAC pick anchored the Greyhounds' success this season, leading the team in scoring (13.5), field-goal percentage (53.1), rebounding (7.5) and blocks per game (1.4). The athletic 4-man was tied for second on Loyola with 1.9 assists per game, commonly finding the open man out of double-teams or on the wing, which makes him even more dangerous when given some room to operate offensively.
The Greyhounds have their first 20-win season since moving to Division I and will be making their first NCAA Tournament appearance (and second overall) since 1994.
Marquette Golden Eagles
Conference: Big East
Record: 25-7 (14-4)
Jae Crowder, 6'6" senior forward
The deserving Big East Player of the Year displays tremendous versatility, enabling coach Buzz Williams to play Crowder anywhere from shooting guard to center. Crowder was among the conference's leaders in points per game (17.4), rebounds (8.1), steals (2.4) and blocks (1.1) per game.
Often playing three, four or sometimes five guard at once, Marquette has a tendency to get hurt on the glass, but the Golden Eagles do manage to take advantage of their opponents with their speed- averaging 8.8 steals per game, the ninth best average,  while utilizing this guard-attack on offense to find the open scorer- assisting on 63.6 percent of their baskets, ninth best in the country.
Memphis Tigers
Conference: C-USA
Record: 26-8 (13-3)
Will Barton, 6'6" sophomore guard
Barton is one of the very best scorers in the country, showing drastic improvement from his freshman to sophomore years. He is averaging 18.1 points per game on 51.3 percent shooting overall and 34 percent from 3-point range. The C-USA Player of the Year in 2011-12 is dangerous pulling-up 15-feet out or attacking the rim.
Memphis has serious potential to force some upsets depending on their seedings/brackets. They have won eight in a row heading into the Tournament, winning by an average of 20 points per game during this span.
Michigan Wolverines
Conference: Big Ten
Record: 24-9 (13-5)
Trey Burke, 5'11" freshman guard
Burke is one of the nation's best, yet largely unheralded freshman players; all he did was replace the do-everything Darius Morris as the starting point guard and lead the Wolverines in scoring with 14.8 points and assists with 4.6 per game.
Michigan is a team that relies on the 3-point shot, probably moreso than they should, making them a candidate to catch fire and upset a team or be upset. 37 percent of their total points have come by way of the deep shot, but the Wolverines do not rebound well enough to create second-chance opportunities if they miss.
Michigan State Spartans
Conference: Big Ten
Record: 26-7 (13-5)
Draymond Green, 6'7" senior forward
There is not much that this year's Big Ten Player of the Year cannot do as he is averaging 16.2 points, 10.4 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.5 steals and a block per game. He is mismatch in nearly every scenario as he has an improved perimeter shot, the ability to put the ball on the floor or post-up smaller defenders.
The always-dangerous March Spartans are back and primed for a deep run, even without freshman starter Branden Dawson. As inexperienced as the team may be with a first-time starting point guard, small forward and center and a transfer at shooting guard on top of it, Tom Izzo has a team that continues to grow and improve as the year goes on.
Mississippi Valley State
Conference: SWAC
Record: 21-12 (17-1)
Paul Crosby, 6’8” senior forward
At 6’8”, Crosby isn’t your average power forward despite leading the team in scoring (13.6 points) and rebounding (7.4); he shoots just 40.0 percent from the field overall, including 30.1 percent from 3-point range on nearly 4 attempts per game. Crosby had 14 straight double-digit scoring games before recording just 6 in the SWAC final.
Mississippi Valley State does two things: shoot the 3 and defend the 3. As a team, they have attempted 755 shots from behind the arc, which ranks 12th in the country, while defensively, they have allowed opponents to get off only 429 shots, 7th fewest in the country.
Missouri Tigers
Conference: Big 12
Record: 30-4 (14-4)
Kim English, 6'6" senior forward
Center Ricardo Ratliffe or guard Marcus Denmon may have received more post-season accolades, but Missouri would not be in the position they are currently in without English. Playing out of position as the power forward, English creates mismatches with his ability to play inside slashing to the rim or out (47.3 3-point percentage). In the Big 12 Tournament, English averaged 23 points on 78.8 percent shooting.
Although the Tigers have a clear deficiency in terms of team depth, specifically in the frontcourt, their four-guard lineup has produced the nation's most offensively efficient team, while defensively, the Tigers also rank right up near the top at 12th. Led by center Ricardo Ratliffe, Mizzou shoots 50.4 percent from the field as a team (second nationally) and 76.6 percent from the foul line (8th).
Montana Grizzlies
Conference: Big Sky
Record: 25-6 (15-1)
Kareem Jamar, 6'5" sophomore guard
The team's second-leading scorer this past season at 13.8 point per game elevated his game even higher during the Big Sky Tournament where he took home MVP honors; he had 13 rebounds in the semifinals to go along with his 18 points and then 23 points and 7 assists in the finals.
Montana is one of the hottest teams across the country with 14 straight wins and do so with some solid defense. The Grizzlies hold opponents to just 40.3 percent shooting from the floor, including 32.4 percent from behind the arc.
Murray State Racers
Conference: Ohio Valley
Record: 30-1 (15-1)
Isaiah Canaan, 6'0" junior guard
Canaan has a lethal perimeter game, but an equally as difficult to defend attacking arsenal off the dribble, making him the conference's and one of America's best offensive players; his 3-point percentage of 47.3 ranks seventh in the nation, and is just slightly behind his overall field-goal percentage at 48.4, an incredible figure for a gutsy 6-foot guard.
Murray State's offensive efficiency should worry any team they play. The Racers shot 40.6 percent from 3-point range this season and have a true shooting percentage of 58.7 percent, ranking ninth in the entire country. They clearly have the shooters, but the experience as well as this lineup average 3.19 years of seniority.
New Mexico Lobos
Conference: Mountain West
Record: 27-6 (10-4)
Drew Gordon, 6'9" senior forward
The former-UCLA Bruin averages a shade under 11 rebounds per game, including 8.1 on the defensive glass alone. His +13 plus/minus average is 16th best amongst all of the nation's players.
New Mexico has winning streaks of 13, 7 and 5 this season- needless to say they are a team that is capable of stringing together a few victories and advancing in the field. The Lobos are efficient offensively- assisting on 65.3 percent of their made baskets, an outstanding statistic ranking forth best in the country, but they really standout defensively. With Gordon anchoring the paint, New Mexico grabbed the eighth most defensive rebounds, limiting opponents' scoring opportunities per possession (0.89, fourth best in the country).
New Mexico State Aggies
Conference: WAC
Record: 26-9 (10-4)
Wendell McKines, 6'6" senior forward
McKines may not look the part of a power forward, but he has a refined offensive game with the ability to finish shots around the rim, or step outside and knock down shots with range; he made more 3s in his senior year than in his previous three seasons combined. McKines also dominated the glass, averaging 10.8 boards per game, including 3.4 on the offensive end.
Even though the Aggies may be the WAC's second-best team (behind Nevada), they shouldn't be skipped over in the scouting report. NMSU led the nation in free-throws made (699) and attempted (1048), scoring 25.5 percent of the team's total points from the charity stripe. Their size inside created one of the nation's larger rebounding differentials (8.8 per game).
Norfolk State Spartans
Conference: MEAC
Record: 25-9 (13-3)
Kyle O'Quinn, 6'10" senior center
O'Quinn's rebounding numbers are among the elite-levels of college basketball where he averaged a double-double for the second straight season with averages of 15.9 points and 10.4 rebounds per game; his 2.8 blocks per game always placed him at 14th amongst frontcourt players.
The Spartans love to get out and push the ball and attack the rim in transition. As a result, they attempted the 15th most free-throws in the country just shy of 800 in 34 games, but managed to convert on 65.4 percent of those. Fortunately, Kyle O'Quinn was able to extend possessions with his rebounding prowess.
North Carolina Tar Heels
Conference: ACC
Record: 29-5 (14-2)
Kendall Marshall, 6'4" sophomore point guard
ACC Player of the Year Tyler Zeller and Defensive Player of the Year John Henson anchor the paint on both ends of the floor, but it's Marshall's speed, quickness and court vision that make this team go. His scoring is up as of late and his 9.7 assists are second in the nation (3.5 assist-to-turnover ratio).
North Carolina is a noted dangerous offensive team, ranking in the top ten nationally in field-goals made and attempted (first in both), total defensive rebounds (first), total offensive rebounds (third), assists (fifth) and blocks (ninth). With four all-conference picks, this team is a serious national title contender.
North Carolina State Wolfpack
Conference: ACC
Record: 22-12 (9-7)
C,J. Leslie, 6'9" sophomore forward
Leslie is an intriguing combination of length and explosive athleticism, a mismatch given almost any matchup. He has the quickness to take bigs off the dribble and attack the rim, where he gets to the foul line often, but Leslie also has the touch to knock down mid-range jumpers as well (53.2 field-goal percentage).
It's questionable of why a team with as much talent as the Wolfpack have could not put things together for a better regular-season. With depth and talent up-front, NC State is one of the better rebounding teams and with guards that can see the floor and shooters that stroke it, the team ranked 13th in the country in assists per game.
North Dakota Fighting Sioux
Conference: Great West
Record: 17-14 (6-4)
Troy Huff, 6'4" sophomore forward
The volume scorer lead the team in scoring, shooting nearly a-third of his team's shots while he was on the floor, but converting 39.5 percent of all field-goal attempts, including 19.3 percent of his shots from behind the arc. However, Huff led the conference in free-throws attempted with 150 and converted 95 of those.
North Dakota attempted 662 free-throw shots this season, led by Huff's 150, but converted 63.3 percent of those, one of the worst rates amongst the 345 Division I teams.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Conference: Big East
Record: 22-11 (13-5)
Jack Cooley, 6'9" junior forward
Cooley has struggled against bigs that are just as athletic or as physical as he, but overall, his 61.2 field-goal percentage topped the Big East Conference, while he posted the sixth best offensive rebounding percentage in the country (4.0 offensive rebounds per game), leading to quite a few second-chance points for him and his Fighting Irish teammates.
Notre Dame averages 13.8 fouls per game, ranking 343rd out of 345 Division I teams, leading to opponents shooting just 463 free-throw attempts all year long, 6th least in the country.
Ohio Bobcats
Conference: MAC
Record: 27-7 (11-5)
D.J. Cooper, 5'11" junior guard
Cooper is one of the more well-rounded guards playing mid-major basketball with 14.6 points per game, 5.7 assists per game and 3.7 rebounds. However, he shot just 34.8 percent from the field, including a less-than-spectacular 31.1 percent from 3. The bright spot is that his 2.4 steals per game were a big reason was Ohio ranks fourth in the nation in thefts per game.
Ohio's offensive attack is highlighted by a 3-point barrage, launching the 17th most attempts from beyond the arc in Division, and even though the team only shot 33.8 percent, the Bobcats crash the glass hard, gathering the 29th most second-chance boards.
Ohio State Buckeyes
Conference: Big Ten
Record: 27-6 (13-5)
Jared Sullinger, 6'9" sophomore forward
Sullinger was just as dominant as a sophomore than he was as a freshman when he was named an All-American; he averaged 17.6 points on 54.8 percent shooting and 9.3 rebounds per game with his physical low-post play. He was seventh in the country in +/- average of points scored when he was on the floor vs. on the bench.
Ohio State ranks near the tops of the national polls in offensive and defensive efficiency where they shoot 48.6 percent from the field and hold opponents to 40.4 percent shooting. The Buckeyes are a dominant rebounding team, especially on the defensive glass where they end 75.1 percent of missed shots with a Buckeye rebound.
Purdue Boilermakers
Conference: Big Ten
Record: 21-12 (10-8)
Robbie Hummel, 6'8" senior forward
Who else but the emotional and fiery leader in fifth year senior Robbie Hummel? In returning from two knee injuries, he didn't miss a beat, averaging 16.2 points per game, a career-best and fifth best in the conference to go along with 7.1 rebounds, fourth in the Big Ten.
This is not your typical Purdue, grind-it-out on defense team. Instead, the Boilermakers, rank 20th nationally in offensive efficiency, including number one in all of the land in assist-to-turnover ratio. However, Purdue has some serious deficiencies rebounding the ball and converting at the foul line.
St. Bonaventure Bonnies
Conference: A-10
Record: 20-11 (10-6)
Andrew Nicholson, 6'9" senior forward
Haven't heard of him just yet? Better keep an eye on this future-NBA-er. The A-10 Player of the Year this year can play inside on the low-post (57.7 field-goal mark) or on the perimeter where he has demonstrated a smooth 3-point shot (38.6 percent).
With Nicholson anchoring the frontline, the Bonnies are one of the national leaders in rebounding margin with a +5.5 average on a nightly basis.
Saint Louis Billikens
Conference: A-10
Record: 25-7 (12-4)
Brian Conklin, 6'6" senior forward
Playing the role of an undersized power forward, the 6'6" Conklin is aggressive on offense, getting the foul line at one of the highest-rates in the A-10, where he shot 79.2 percent on his 178 attempts this past season. His 13.9 points led the team and his 4.8 rebounds were second-best.
Coach Rick Majerus put forth one of the most underrated defensive teams in the country this season where the Billikens held opponents to 41.1 percent from the floor, including 32 percent from 3-point range. Saint Louis gave up the 13th fewest points per possession (0.91) and eighth fewest points per game (57.5).
Saint Mary's Gaels
Conference: West Coast
Record: 27-5 (14-2)
Matthew Dellavedova, 6'4" junior guard
The WCC Player of the Year is as dangerous as they come with the ball in his hands; capable of breaking down the defense off the dribble, pulling-up with range from the perimeter or dishing it off to shooters like Rob Jones, Clint Steindl or Jorden Page, Saint Mary's goes as far as Dellavedova leads them, but be wary of some turnover problems against pressure.
For the first time in school history, the Gaels won the regular-season title and claimed the Tournament championship in the same year and there should be a few more wins coming for this offensive force; Saint Mary's ranks seventh in the country in overall offensive efficiency with 1.15 points per possession and an assist-to-turnover ratio of 1.37-to-1, tenth in the country.
San Diego State Aztecs
Conference: Mountain West
Record: 26-7 (10-4)
Jamaal Franklin, 6'5" sophomore guard
As a sophomore Franklin took home the conference's Player of the Year honors and he is clearly the team's go-to player. He is mediocre knocking down shots from the perimeter, but plays bigger than his 6'5" frame suggests, hitting the glass and finishing shots around the rim. Franklin topped the MWC in points per game (17.2), free throws made and attempted and was fourth in rebounds per game (7.9).
Just how important is Franklin? The Aztecs are 11-2 when he scores 18+ points.
South Dakota State Jackrabbits
Conference: Summit
Record: 27-7 (15-3)
Nate Wolters, 6'4" junior guard
Wolters is one of the very best players that you have likely never heard of- filling up the stat sheet with averages of 21.3 points, eighth in the nation, rebounds at a rate of 5.2 per game and doles out over 6 assists per game compared to just 2.1 turnovers. He has scored in double-figures every game this season and has six 30+ point games.
Wolters is talented enough to be a one-man show offensively, but he has support from Griffan Callahan, a 40.5 percent 3-point shooter, who has logged five 20+ point games, and Jordan Dykstra, a lean 6'8" forward, who effectively shoots 48.6 percent from beyond the arc and has five 20+ point games of his own.
Southern Miss Golden Eagles
Conference: C-USA
Record: 25-8 (11-5)
Darnell Dodson, 6'7" senior guard
The one-time Kentucky Wildcat comes off the bench for Southern Miss to provide a spark in his 19 minutes of action a game. His length and athleticism are used to his advantage to attack the rim or rise up over smaller defenders and hit the 3-point shot.
The Golden Eagles may not be a household team, but they do pose a threat as a potential upset team. They are aggressive on offense, attacking the rim and getting to the foul line (15th most free-throws made in the country) and collecting second-chance offensive rebounds (16th most).
Syracuse Orange
Conference: Big East
Record: 31-2 (17-1)
Dion Waiters, 6'4" sophomore guard
It was a toss up between super-sub Waiter and starting center Fab Melo, but Waiters gets the nod here as he is the "go-to" player when the Orange do need a basket. Looking for clutch play? Waiters hit seven 3s in the Big East semifinal loss to Cincinnati.
One of the only knocks on this elite team is their lack of a go-to player, but their team-oriented play has worked for the most part all season long. Going ten, sometimes 11 deep, Jim Boeheim's team was 13th in the country in overall offensive efficiency and is one of the very best at minimizing turnovers on offense and forcing turnovers on the other end.
Temple Owls
Conference: A-10
Record: 24-7 (13-3)
Ramone Moore, 6'4" senior guard
Some felt that Moore was snubbed as the league's Player of the Year, but he is a talented scorer and capable of taking over games nonetheless; his 17.7 points per game were second in the league, while he rounded out his stat-line with 4.3 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.1 steals per game.
The Owls are one of the smaller teams in the Tournament, only utilizing one true frontcourt player, starting center Michael Eric; with the 6'11" Eric in the lineup, Temple is 15-3.
Texas Longhorns
Conference: Big 12
Record: 20-13 (9-9)
J'Covan Brown, 6'1" junior guard
Brown is a sheer volume shooter, attempting the 8th most shot attempts in the country, converting 41.7 percent of those for his 20.1 points per game average. There are little-to-no other options on this Longhorns' team that scare opponents.
There are two things the Longhorns do very well: get to the foul line often (9th most makes) and foul nearly just as much as their opponents (756 free-throws attempts by foes); the Longhorns' inexperience as one of the field's youngest teams is inexcusable.
UNC-Asheville Bulldogs
Conference: Big South
Record: 24-9 (16-2)
Matt Dickey, 6'1" senior guard
The Player of the Year in the conference, Dickey is the team's leading-scorer at 16.9 points, ranking fifth in the Big South, while placing eighth in both assists (3.6 per) and steals (1.5). He is a solid threat to hit from the perimeter with a 38.1 percent accuracy mark, but even more of a threat to put the ball on the floor and take it to the rim; Dickey was tops in the Big South in free-throws made (and third in attempts with 6.3 per game), hitting at an 86.5 percent clip.
UNC-Asheville makes their second-straight appearance out of the Big South with a high-powered offense which averages 81.2 points per night (fifth in the country) on 48.4 percent from the field (13th) and 16.6 assists (seventh); five players on this roster average better than 11 points per game, so needless to say, they can put up plenty of points, specifically in the second-half where they average nearly 10 more points than they score in the first-half.
UNLV Rebels
Conference: Mountain West
Record: 26-8 (9-5)
Mike Moser, 6'8" sophomore forward
Moser has been up-and-down in the Rebels wins/losses, but throughout the season, he has been the team's best player; he led the team in scoring at 14.1 points and rebounding, ranking tenth nationally with 10.6 per game.
Few teams have been as good in wins and as bad in losses: the Rebels are averaging 80.2 points per game in wins (47.5 field-goal percentage, 38 3-point percentage) vs. 65.2 points per game in losses (41.2 field-goal percentage, 33.5 3-point percentage).
South Florida Bulls
Conference: Big East
Record: 20-13 (12-6)
Gus Gilchrist, 6'10" senior forward
Despite his lowly season averages across the board, Gilchrist is the team's most talented player, possessing the ability to score down low or step outside on offense and hitting the glass on both ends of the floor.
The Bulls are the only team in the Tournament without a double-figure scorer, as the team ranks in the bottom-third of nearly every offensive category. To combat, USF has one of the best overall team defenses, but if they find themselves down late, who will Stan Heath go-to for the bucket?
Vanderbilt Commodores
Conference: SEC
Record: 24-10 (10-6)
Festus Ezeli, 6'11" senior center
Ezeli is the third-best player on his own team, but gets the spotlight here because of the potential impact he can have; at 6'11", 255 pounds, Ezeli can be a force down low, but rarely does he assert himself despite his 52.7 field-goal percentage or tremendously high free-throw rate of 80.1 percent (meaning he will head to line four times for every five shot attempts).
Vanderbilt will go as far as their perimeter game will take them, specifically the shooting of John Jenkins; this team gets nearly 36 percent of its total points from behind the arc. The team's experience (average class year of 3.22) should at least take them past the first-round for the first time since 2006-07 (first-round losses to Siena, Murray State and Richmond during this span).
Vermont Catamounts
Conference: America East
Record: 23-11 (13-3)
Luke Apfeld, 6'7" sophomore forward
The undersized power forward knows how to utilize his skills and athleticism around the rim, converting 56 percent of his field-goal attempts and knocking down 80.8 percent of his 130 free-throw attempts. But given his size, Apfeld, as well as the rest of the Vermont roster, should be better at rebounding the ball.
Vermont is a mediocre team on both ends of the floor, but got hot at the right time to secure the automatic bid from the America East; on the year, the Catamounts had some close battles with NCAA Tournament teams, but came up empty on all attempts.
VCU Rams
Conference: Colonial
Record: 28-6 (15-3)
Bradford Burgess, 6'6" senior forward
VCU's offense doesn't run as smoothly as last season with point guard Joey Rodriguez or forward Jamie Skeen, but Burgess is the best option this team has. As the main focal point, he is averaging a team-high 13.3 points, but does so on 36.4 percent shooting and only slightly better (36.6 percent) from 3-point range. He impacts the game with his versatility- playing shooting guard or either forward spot on both ends of the floor.
Shaka Smart has not let the Rams miss a beat after graduating three senior starters from last year's Final Four squad; instead, he's turned up the intensity defensively where VCU leads the country in steals and generating turnovers (27.3 percent of opponents' possessions) and one of the national leaders in 3-point defense.
Virginia Cavaliers
Conference: ACC
Record: 22-9 (9-7)
Mike Scott, 6'8" senior forward
Scott was a deserving candidate for first-team All-ACC, especially with his late-season play; the fifth-year senior averaged 28.7 points, 10.3 rebounds and 1 block per game over the final three, but UVA was just 1-2 in these games.
The Cavaliers can dig in defensively, ranking as the second-best unit in the country in overall efficiency, holding opponents to 53.7 points per game and 0.88 points per possession; UVA also ranked second in holding their opponents to 8.4 assists per game.
West Virginia Mountaineers
Conference: Big East
Record: 19-13 (9-9)
Kevin Jones, 6'8" senior forward
Jones is just the third player in league history to lead the Big East in both scoring (20.1 points) and rebounding (11.1)- following Notre Dame's Luke Harangody (2008) and Troy Murphy (2001)- but unlike Harangody and Murphy, Jones was not the conference's Player of the Year.
No team in the field relies on any one single player moreso than WVU does on Jones; he has played 40+ minutes 15 times this season and is averaging 20.8 points on 55.5 percent shooting from the field and 30.7 percent from 3 in wins vs. 19.2 points on a 45.8 field-goal percentage and 23.8 3-point percentage in losses.
Western Kentucky Hilltoppers
Conference: Sun Belt
Record: 15-18 (7-9)
Derrick Gordon, 6'2" freshman guard
The highest-ranked player to attend WKU in more than a decade, Gordon, a strong, physical shooting guard attacks the rim with reckless abandon and isn't afraid to mix it up defensively or on the glass. Despite shooting 36 percent from the field and 28 percent from behind the arc, Gordon led the team in scoring at 11.8 points and rebounding at 6.7 per game and was second in assists.
At 15-18, the Hilltoppers have the worst overall record of any team in the field, but won four games in as many days to earn their first bid since 2009. After a mid-season coaching change
Wichita State Shockers
Conference: Missouri Valley
Record: 26-5 (16-2)
Garrett Stutz, 7'0" senior center
Stutz averages less than 25 minutes per game, yet grabs 7.9 rebounds per game, including 6 on the defensive glass, a big reason why Wichita State ranks sixth in the country in defensive rebounding.
Last season's NIT champs are one of this season's most well-rounded teams with the 12th best offensive efficiency and 23rd best defensive efficiency. The Shockers score the ball well from inside the 3-point arc and convert free-throws at a high-rate, while similarly, they defend the ball extremely well on 2-point field-goals.
Wisconsin Badgers
Conference: Big Ten
Record: 24-9 (12-6)
Jordan Taylor,  6'1" senior guard
A year after leading the nation in most efficiency categories including assist-to-turnover ratio and offensive rating for a point guard, Taylor's production is down across the board, yet his Badgers are still relevant. With the ball in his hands, there are few players as dangerous of scoring the basketball from the perimeter, pulling-up from 15-feet or taking it to the rim.
Wisconsin is the nation's top defensive team- holding opponents to under 53 points per game, just eight assists per game and a super sub-par field-goal mark of 38.3 percent.
Xavier Musketeers
Conference: A-10
Record: 21-12 (10-6)
Tu Holloway, 5'11" senior guard
The defense is there, so if last season's Player of the Year, can get things going offensively, Xavier could take off. This aggressive takes the ball to the rim with vengeance on most possessions, making 194 free-throws this season, fifth most in the nation.
Where do we start with Xavier? This is a top-10 team talent wise, but after the scuffle against Cincinnati, things went into a downward spiral and the Musketeers were just average. Despite their struggles, Xavier maintained a high-level of defense, holding opponents to 39.8 percent shooting, 28th best in the country.