For many sports fans (and even casual observers), the NCAA Tournament is about brackets and rooting for laundry. Beyond that, it is a time when virtually everyone is watching the same sporting event in unison, and because of the single-elimination format, the element of “anything can happen” brings emotion and excitement to the table on a level that few events can match.
With that said, not every observer is focused on the same thing when it comes to March Madness and NBA die-hards are centered on players that can (and, in most cases, will) make the jump to the professional ranks. Despite the fact that the NBA Draft doesn’t arrive until late June, the NCAA Tournament doubles as a coming-out party for some prospects on a national scale and, even if the NBA folks likely already know quite a bit about them, the bright lights can bring new observances to the table.
A lot can change between the beginning of the tournament until the end from a mock draft sense, but before tip-off arrives on the opening weekend, we will highlight five prospects in each region that are poised to make the leap to the NBA in short order. In short, the vast majority of the projected top-20 in the upcoming draft (with apologies to Luka Doncic, Troy Brown and Dzanan Musa) will be in action, and there is plenty of evaluation to be done.
Now let’s roll through the list, beginning with the South region and working in alphabetical order.