The 2018 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament is lined up with the nation’s best teams in hopes of winning a national title. Hoop Dreams Magazine takes an in-depth look at which prospects have a chance to make a major impact and what teams have a chance to make deep run in the tournament.
We start with the Kansas Jayhawks and the Big 12 Player of the Year Devonte Graham. The Jayhawks are #1 seed in the Midwest region that open up the tournament against Penn. Graham comes leading the charge as a Naismith Player of the Year finalist. Graham comes in averaging 17 points and almost 8 assists per contest. With Graham anchoring this offense the Jayhawks could see themselves in the final 4.
Jared Terrell, Andre Berry and Jarvis Garrett will hope to help the Rhode Island Rams out of the 1st round for a second round match up against Duke. Last time the two clubs met were in December of 2016 where the Blue Devils got the best of the Rams with a 75-65 win. The three seniors and former New England student athletes would love to have a win over Duke added to their list of accomplishments. Terrell, the Rams leading scorer at 17 points a game will be looked towards closing out his senior in a big way.
Staying within the A-10 conference Kellan Grady of Davidson continues his freshmen campaign. Coming off of an A-10 tournament title and conference Rookie of the Year, Grady has a tough first round match up against the Kentucky Wildcats.
Matt Mobley and Idris Taqqee make up a group of seniors that help and experienced St. Bonaventure’s team pose as a threat. Taqqee does the work on the glass while Mobley contributes his high level scoring and combined the duo keeps the Bonnies flowing.
As the team’s leading scorer, Seton Hall will need Myles Powell and his perimeter shooting to help the Pirates out of and up and down end to the season. Powell’s and the Pirates can hopefully pick this to be the time they right that ship.
More Big East Play comes with Alpha Diallo and Makai Ashton-Landford of Providence. Providence fell to Villanova in overtime in the Big East tournament title game. The Friars have Diallo’s all around inside and out game to look towards when matched up a very good Texas A&M team.
Mustapha Heron and Head Coach Bruce Pearl’s Auburn Tigers have the potential to be a sweet 16 team. Heron, the team’s leading scorer runs the show and it’s about that time for curtain call. Mustapha Heron has always been known to perform on the big stage and it’s ShowTime.
Hamidou Diallo brings the toughness to the Kentucky Wildcats with the ability to put the ball on the floor and attack the basket allowing with his ultra-athleticism makes him difficult to contain. A matchup between Kellan Grady and Hamidou Diallo is set for the first round. Wenyen Gabriel had a strong SEC tournament and Coach Calipari is hoping he can carry that momentum throughout this tournament run.
A tournament favorite in Villanova is equipped with Omari Spellman the Big East Rookie of the Year, Jermain Sameuls and Eric Paschall. Spellman and Paschall make a great tandem from an offensive and defensive standpoint. Both possess toughness, with Spellman who is very skilled on the offensive end and Paschall’s defense along with dominance on the glass helps Nova’s chances at competing for a title.
Notable Names to Watch: Arkel Lamar (UMBC), Joe Sherburne (UMBC), Jarrell Brantley (CofC), Abdul Malik-Abu (NC St.), Daxter Miles Jr. (WVU), AJ Brodeur (Penn), Keyon Jones (NM St.), Shadrac Casimir (IONA), EJ Crawford (IONA), Francis Alonso (UNCG), Duncan Robinson (MICH), Terance Mann (FSU), Tyrique Jones (Xavier), Karem Kanter (Xavier), Kyle Washington (Cin), Kyle Washington (Cin), Raiquan Clark (LIU),