The South is loaded with NBA talent. Kentucky has three or four pros on their team, Baylor has a couple, Duke has a few, UNLV has one, and don’t even get me started on Connecticut. This region is loaded with talent. That being said, let’s look at some players to watch.
Terrence Jones, Kentucky – I know. I know. I know. He could have been a lottery pick in last year’s draft. He had an outstanding freshman season, leading Kentucky to the Final Four. His sophomore season has been anything but outstanding. He has really disappointed and disappeared this season. Kentucky has a tough road to the Final Four, especially if they play Connecticut in their second game, and Jones will need to recapture his 2011 tournament form if Calipari wants to win his first championship.
Joe Ragland, Wichita State – A lot of people don’t know about Ragland. I didn’t either until I looked at his numbers. He only averages 13 ppg, but he shoots 57% from the field and 50% from three. Did I mention that he is only 6’0 tall, too? He and Garrett Stutz lead a balanced-attack for a team that is looking to make some noise in the tournament.
Wendell McKines, New Mexico State – Giving the mid-majors some love. McKines averaged 18 and 11 for a New Mexico State team that went 26-9. He is their go-to guy and he will need to have a big game against Cody Zeller and the Indiana Hoosiers in order for the Aggies of NMSU to pull off the upset.
Anthony Marshall, UNLV – Marshall runs the show for the Runnin’ Rebels. He posted solid numbers (12, 5, and 4) for a team that romped North Carolina earlier in the season. They have been up-and-down over the last few weeks. They didn’t get a great draw either (having to face Colorado), but if you are an UNLV fan you can’t be too mad. You know what you will get from Mike Moser and Chace Stanback, but they will only go as far as Marshall can take them.
C.J. McCollum, Lehigh – I hate jumping on a bandwagon and McCollum’s keeps getting bigger so I thought I would put him on this list. I don’t think Lehigh has a real good shot to beat Duke (even if Ryan Kelly) doesn’t play, but you never know. Lehigh could pull an upset. We saw this past weekend that Duke struggles with Kelly out of the lineup, so if an upset were to happen, it would take place in the first or second round.