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Prospects To Watch: NCAA Tournament Day Two

2013 March 22

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It seems like many NBA fans don’t have a whole lot of interest in college basketball until the weeks leading up to the NBA draft. In some ways, it’s hard to blame them. The 35-second shot clock, short three-point line and sometimes seemingly constant poor decision-making are some of the reasons why it’s a frustrating game for NBA diehards.

That’s why MBO has decided to give you reasons to watch some of these games – many of the feature future NBA players! We’ll use Draft Express for our rankings because, well, we like Draft Express (DX).

Check out day one here.

Albany (15) vs. Duke (2), 12:15 pm EST, CBS

Duke, as they usually do, has several NBA prospects, led by center Mason Plumlee (12). Plumlee is 6’11 and is ranked the top senior in the draft. Plumlee’s brother, Miles, was selected 26th overall by the Indiana Pacers last year. Mason averaged 17.2 points, 10.2 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game while shooting 59.2% from the floor.6’4 guard Rasheed Sulaimon (61) averaged 11.5 points per game on 42.2/37.8/81.0. Forward Ryan Kelly (73), who is probably most known for his range as a shooter (and his injury this season), averaged 14.3 points and 5.4 rebounds per game. The 6’11 senior shoot 48.0/48.6/81.3. Senior guard Seth Curry (93), the little brother of Warriors guard Stephen Curry, averaged 17.0 points per game. The 6’2 combo guard is shot 46.3/43.0/81.7.

Ole Miss (12) vs. Wisconsin (5), 12:40 pm EST, TruTV

Ole Miss is led by Marshall Henderson. Henderson, known for his shooting (well, more for his talking), averaged 20.1 points per game on 38.5/35.7/88.0.  Neither squad has anyone in the top 100.

Temple (9) vs. N.C. State (8), 1:40 pm EST, TBS

N.C. State was projected as a top 10 team, but finished just fifth in the ACC. They have five of the top 74 players, led by C.J. Leslie (30th). Leslie, a 6’9 junior forward, averaged 14.9 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game while shooting 51.5/20.0/61.8. Freshman forward T.J. Warren (32) averaged 12.4 points and 4.2 rebounds per game. The 6’8 Warren shot 62.6/51.9/54.2 (keep in mind he took just .8 three-pointers per game). Point guard Lorenzo Brown (35) put up 12.1 points 7.2 assists and 4.3 rebounds per game. The 6’4 junior shot 41.1/45.0/77.2. 6’4 Guard Rodney Purvis (50), a true freshman, averaged 8.5 points per game, shooting 44.3/38.5/51.2. Big man Richard Howell (74), who was perhaps N.C. State’s best player this year, averaged 12.7 points and 10.7 rebounds per game this season. The 6’8 senior shot 55.6% from the field.

Pacific (15) vs. Miami (2), 2:10 pm EST, TNT

Pacific, the home of the great Michael Olowokandi, doesn’t have any prospects this year. Miami, on the other hand, certainly does. Sophomore point guard Shane Larkin (40), the son of former MLB player Barry Larkin, is wrestling with the decision to enter the draft. The 5’11 Larkin, who attended Dr. Phillips High School in Orlando, averaged 14.6 points, 4.4 assists, 3.9 rebounds and 2.0 steals per game while shooting 48.6/40.9/76.3 this season. Kenny Kadji (64), is a 6’11, 240 lb power forward. The senior has averaged 13.3 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game, shooting 48.0/35.7/68.1. The ‘Canes also feature other prominent seniors including Durand Scott, Trey McKinney Jones, Reggie Johnson and Julian Gamble.

Cincinnati (10) vs. Creighton (7), 2:45 pm EST, CBS

Forward Doug McDermott (57), who is best known for being current Warriors forward Harrison Barnes’ high school teammate, leads the Blue Jays. The 6’8 junior averaged 23.1 points and 7.5 rebounds per game this season while shooting 56.1/49.7/86.0.

LaSalle (13) vs. Kansas State (4), 3:10 pm EST, TruTV

Despite the recent success of the Wildcats, there are no players in the DX Top 100 in this game.

James Madison (16) vs. Indiana (1), 4:10 pm EST, TBS

The Hoosiers are absolutely loaded. Cody Zeller (4), the little brother of Luke (released by Phoenix) and Tyler (Cleveland) averaged 16.9 points, 8.2 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game this season. The 7’0, 240 lb sophomore shot 57.3% from the field and 75.5% from the charity stripe. Wing Victor Olapido (7) scored 13.6 points, grabbed 6.4 rebounds, posted 2.2 steals and dished out 2.1 assists per game this year. The 6’5 junior shot 59.9/44.3/75.0.

Colorado (10) vs. Illinois (7), 4:40 pm EST, TNT

The Buffaloes are led by power forward Andre Roberson (54). The 6’7 junior averaged 10.9 points, 11.3 rebounds, 2.2 steals and 1.3 blocks per game. Roberson shot 48.3/33.3/55.2. Big man Jackie Carmichael scored 17.4 points per game to lead the Illini. The 6’9, 241 lb senior also averaged 9.3 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game while shooting 52.7/18.2/68.1. Guard Brandon Paul (63), a 6’4 senior, averaged 16.7 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.2 steals per game. Paul shot 40.4/33.0/72.5.

Florida Gulf Coast (15) vs. Georgetown (2), 6:50 pm EST, TBSotto porter

The Hoyas are led by probable lottery pick Otto Porter (8). Porter, a 6’8 sophomore forward, averaged 16.3 points, 7.4 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.9 steals and .9 blocks per game. Porter shot 48.9/42.7/78.1.

Iona (15) vs. Ohio State (2), 7:15 pm EST, CBS

Ohio State’s top prospect is forward DeShaun Thomas (58). Thomas, a 6’7 junior, averaged 19.5 points and 6.2 rebounds per game this season. He shot 43.7/33.7/83.6. Buckeyes point guard Aaron Craft (86) averaged 9.9 points, 4.6 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 2.0 steals per game. The 6’2 junior shot 43.3/29.6/79.3.

Villanova (9) vs. North Carolina (8), 7:20 pm EST, TNT

James Michael McAdoo (19) had a lot of hype coming out of high school. The 6’9 sophomore forward is averaging 14.3 points and 7.4 rebounds per game while shooting 44.5% from the field 57.1% from the free throw line. Forward Reggie Bullock (48) averaged 14.1 points, 6.7 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game. The 6’5 junior shot 48.2/43.1/75.8.  Sophomore P.J. Hairston led the Tar Heels, averaging 14.8 points per game. The  6’5 wing shot 42.8/38.9/77.4.

Northwestern State (14) vs. Florida (3), 7:27 pm EST, TruTV

The Gators are led by big man Patric Young (39). Young, a 6’9 junior, averaged 10.3 points, 6.2 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game this season. He shot 60.3% from the field, but just 49.6% from the stripe. Power forward Erik Murphy (59) could potentially find a job as a stretch four. Murphy averaged 12.6 points and 5.5 rebounds per game while shooting 52.8/45.6/771.

By the way, Northwestern State is in Louisiana. Strange, eh?

Oklahoma (10) vs. San Diego State (7), 9:10 pm EST, TBS

The only top 100 prospect in this game is San Diego State’s Jamaal Franklin (27) The 6’5 junior guard is averaging 16.7 points, 9.5 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game while shooting 40.5%/27.0%/77.7%

Iowa State (10) vs. Notre Dame (7) 9:45 pm EST, CBS

The lone top 100 player in this matchup is Irish center Jack Cooley (89). The 6’9, 248 lb senior averaged 13.1 points, 10.3 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game this season. Cooley shot 57.2% from the field and 70.3% from the charity stripe.

Western Kentucky (16) vs. Kansas (1), 9:50 pm EST, TNT

Courtney Lee’s alma mater doesn’t have any top 100 prospects, but Kansas, as always, has several. Guard Ben McLemore is DX’s #2 overall player. We profiled McLemore here. Center Jeff Withey (31) averaged 13.6 points, 8.4 rebounds and 3.8 blocks per game. The 6’11 senior shot 57.8% from the field and 70.7% from the stripe. Senior Elijah Johnson (97) averaged 10.1 points, 4.8 assists and 3.0 rebounds per game. The 6’2 point guard shot 38.7/33.1/74.6.

Minnesota (11) vs. UCLA (6), 9:57 pm, TruTV

Trevor Mbakwe (75) leads the Golden Gophers. Mbakwe averaged 10.0 points,  8.7 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game. The 6’8, 237 lb big man shot 57.0% from the field and 62.3% from the free throw line. Wing Rodney Williams (91) averaged 10.3 points and 5.1 rebounds per game. The 6’6 senior shot 48.2/20.9/63.6. UCLA’s top prospect, Shabazz Muhammad (3), has been hyped for quite some time. Muhammad averaged 17.8 points and 5.3 rebounds per game. The 6’6 freshman shot 44.7/40.0/70.6.  Another freshman, 6’8 wing Kyle Anderson (76), averaged 9.8 points, 8.6 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.8 steals per game. Anderson shot 42.6/45.7/73.0.

Of course this list doesn’t include the many international players that will be selected or players whose teams did not make the tournament. For example, center Nerlins Noel’s Kentucky squad didn’t make the tournament (plus Noel tore his ACL against Florida in February). However, the 6’11 freshman is DX’s top ranked player. Noel’s Kentucky teammates;  forward Alex Polythress (16), guard Archie Goodwin (18) and center Willie Cauley-Stein(21) join players like Maryland center Alex Len (11),  center Isiah Austin (14) of Baylor, guard C.J. McCollum (17) of Lehigh, Arkansas guard B.J. Young (25) and North Texas forward Tony Mitchell (26) as potential first round picks who will not play in the NCAA tournament.

Andrew Melnick is a Senior blogger for Magic Basketball Online and a contributor at SB Nation. Andrew has covered the Orlando Magic for four years and also works as a radio host. You can follow him on twitter here.