Courtesy of Dayton Flyers
Welcome to week two of my March Madness column! We are officially nine days (as of 3/6) from Selection Sunday, when the bracket is released. Time is ticking and it’s time to start thinking about how this bracket is going to shape up. This week, I want to familiarize the casual college basketball fans with some of the best players to watch in this year’s tournament.
Obi Toppin :
Obi Toppin of the Dayton Flyers has had a season nothing short of remarkable. As one of the National Player of the Year finalists, Toppin is averaging 19.8 points, 7.6 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game, while shooting an efficient 62.9% from the field. Toppin is without a doubt the best player on the Dayton team that is 28-2 and one of the favorites to win a National Championship. Look for Toppin to have a huge impact in March, and check out his insane highlight reel full of athletic dunks as well.
Markus Howard :
Markus Howard is one of the most dynamic players in college basketball. Marquette’s star has shown an incredible ability to score in bunches, driving to the basket or pouring it on from three. Howard is averaging over 27 points per game while shooting over 40% from deep. While Marquette isn’t a favorite to win it all, it’s not implausible for Markus Howard to carry the Golden Eagles to the Final Four all on his own. A favorable draw in the bracket could lead to a deep run for Howard and Marquette.
Myles Powell :
Another Big East guard, Myles Powell, is having an unbelievable senior season. Similar to Howard, Powell is averaging over 21 points per game, and shooting over 39% from deep. While these numbers are underwhelming compared to Howard’s, Myles Powell has had a very big impact on the defensive side of the ball as well, which Howard has struggled with. It is because of Powell and company’s great playing, that the Seton Hall Pirates are in first place in their conference, and one of the national championship contenders.
Luka Garza :
Luka Garza, the forward from Iowa, has been more than impressive all season in the Big Ten. Garza is averaging 23.7 points and 9.9 rebounds per game, while shooting 54% overall. Garza has been dominant against other great big men like Illinois’ Kofi Cockburn, and Ohio State’s Kaleb Wesson. The Hawkeyes are prepared for March, so look for Luka to lead the way.
Udoka Azubuike :
Udoka Azubuike is one of the most efficient, yet dominant players in college basketball this season. Azubuike has really come into his own late in the season. On Wednesday night, Azubuike and Kansas took on TCU at home. Azubuike had 31 points, 14 rebounds and missed just one of his fourteen shots taken during the game. Azubuike is an absolute force on defense as well. The Jayhawk averages 2.6 blocks a game, and has an impact on just about every opposing shot in the paint. Kansas is playing like the best team in the nation right now, and Udoka Azubuike has been amazing down the stretch.
ZB TOP 25
San Diego State