There is something about college basketball that makes it one of the most magical sports to watch on television during March. From the drama, the one-game eliminations and the buzzer-beaters, it’s is the equivalent of Christmas for basketball fans. Some players are proven stars during the season and bring their game to the big stage, while some are hidden gems that have been waiting for their chance to shine.
Who can forget Stephen Curry‘s ridiculous run during the 2008 NCAA Tournament? Curry went possessed, scoring 40 against Gonzaga, 30 against Georgetown, 33 against Wisconsin and 25 against Kansas. After he dropped numbers, Curry became a household name and the rest is history.
Another recent notable run was Kemba Walker in 2011. “Cardiac Kemba” went on an unforgettable postseason run, winning five Big East Tournament games in five days, dropping one of the best ankle-breakers of all-time on Gary McGhee, and the Huskies then went on to win six more games to win the NCAA championship.
What is so great about the NCAA Tournament is that anyone can become legendary and breakout at any moment. I counted down 20 players that will have the best chance to breakout during the NCAA Tournament. In typical NCAA fashion, I tried my best to not go fully chalk on this list.
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20. Siyani Chambers
Harvard â€“ Sophomore
The Minnesota native, Chambers has helped the Crimson to a 24-4 record this season while leading the team to their fourth straight Ivy League title. Chambers is a stud and was a finalist for the Bob Cousy award, joining Jeremy Lin and Zach Rosen as the only Ivy League members in history to receive the honor. Led by head coach Tommy Amaker, this Harvard team can make a serious run with Chambers being their floor general.
19. Melvin Ejim
Iowa State â€“ Senior
Ejim was a beast this season playing in a rough Big 12 Conference. He had the best game of the college basketball season after scoring 48 points on 20-for-24 shooting while also grabbing 18 boards. Ejim finished first in the Big 12 in scoring with 18.4 points and second in rebounding with 8.6 rebounding. Standing at 6-6, he is your prototypical undersized power forward that annoys the hell out of opponents. There are not going to be a lot of schools that want to see this Iowa State team during the tournament.
18. Javon McCrea
Buffalo â€“ Senior
I know some people are saying who? But the Buffalo senior is a physical specimen that has grabbed NBA scouts attention, averaging a double-double during the season. Buffalo is not a shoe-in to play in the NCAA Tournament but are a favorite to win the MAC Tournament along with Akron. If they do clinch, it would be great to see McCrea perform on the biggest stage against some great competition.
17. Semaj Christon
Xavier â€“ Sophomore
Christon is one of the best point guard prospects in this year’s NBA Draft but has been playing under the radar at Xavier this season. He is a solid athlete and has a lot of quickness that leads to a lot baskets at the rim. Christon will have the opportunity to lead Xavier in a big run during the tournament. If he performs well his name will definitely rise up draft boards.