NCAA Bracket 2012 Predictions: Players That Will Go Viral During March Madness
Last year we had Jimmer Fredette, Shelvin Mack, Brandon Knight, Derrick Williams, Kenneth Faried and Kemba Walker. This year it will most likely be Anthony Davis, Thomas Robinson, Doug McDermott and possibly even a few others.
Some of them you have definitely heard of, some you might have heard of and some could be flying under your radar. Here is a list of players that will go viral over the next couple of weeks.
*Follow Jesse Kramer on Twitter @Jesse_Kramer for more college basketball news and information.
Anthony Davis, Kentucky
2011-12 Season Stats: 14.3 ppg, 10.0 rpg, 4.6 bpg, 64.2 FG%
Anthony Davis has already received loads of national attention this year. However, that is no reason that the spotlight will shift off of him during the next few weeks. His name is more likely to get even bigger.
Davis is a clear Player of the Year candidate, averaging a double-double on the season. In addition, he leads the nation in blocks with 4.6 per game.
He is one of the most dynamic players in the nation, especially on the defensive end. Not only does he get blocks, but he also alters so many more shots each game. Along with fellow freshman Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Davis and Kentucky are ready to make a run in the 2012 NCAA tournament.
Thomas Robinson, Kansas
2011-12 Season Stats: 17.9 ppg, 11.8 rpg
The debate is endless on whether the best big man in the nation, and possibly even the best overall player, is Davis and Thomas Robinson of Kansas.
Robinson is also averaging a double-double, and he has been a monster for the Jayhawks this season. His 11.8 rebounds per game are No. 2 in the country (second to O.D. Anosike, Siena), and he has had as many as 21 rebounds in a single game this year.
Over the course of the entire season, he has 23 double-doubles, and he has scored in double figures in all but one game this season.
When Robinson gets going, he is one of the most exciting players to watch.
Doug McDermott, Creighton
2011-12 Season Stats: 23.2 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 61 FG%, 49.5 3P%
Doug McDermott will surely catch the eyes of many viewers in the 2012 NCAA Tournament, even though Creighton's chances for a deep run are not too favorable.
Entering postseason play, the sophomore from Ames, IA is No. 3 in the country in scoring, and he has been a model of consistency. He has scored at least 12 points in every game this season. Twenty-two times, he has scored 20 or more. He also has 10 double-doubles.
Finally, McDermott will get to play on the biggest stage of college basketball in front of millions of people, and barring a rare off-night, the nation will get to see just how good he actually is.
If the Bluejays are going to make any sort of run in March, McDermott will be the driving force.
Isaiah Canaan, Murray State
2011-12 Season Stats: 19.2 ppg, 3.7 apg, 47.3 3P%
The reason Murray State is the only one-loss team in college basketball this year is because of Isaiah Canaan.
Canaan has been an explosive scorer all year, posting as many as 36 in a single game. (This season-high came against fellow NCAA tournament team Southern Miss.) He is one of the best long-range shooters in the nation this year—he has hit five or more three-pointers in eight games.
Also, the junior is no stranger to the NCAA tournament. As a freshman, he averaged 10.4 points per game for the Murray State team that upset No. 4 seed Vanderbilt and went to the second round.
Nate Wolters, South Dakota State
2011-12 Season Stats: 21.3 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 6.0 apg
Nate Wolters put up unreal numbers this year, being the only player to average more than 20 points per game, five rebounds per game, and six assists per game. He can present mismatch problems, standing at 6'4" and playing as a point guard who can both score and distribute. Basically, Wolters can do it all on the hardwood.
Wolters is only a junior, yet he clearly has NBA potential. If South Dakota State is going to make any sort of run, he will be at the helm.
Marcus Denmon, Missouri
2011-12 Season Stats: 17.6 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 40.9 3P%
Marcus Denmon is one of the better scorers in college basketball. This year, he caught the attention of many by scoring 28.5 points per game in two meetings with Kansas. In the first of those meetings, he scored nine consecutive points in the final 2:04 to single-handedly vault Missouri to a win over its rival.
Denmon has not been a consistent three-point shooter this season, but when he gets going, it is extremely hard to stop him.
Also, he is the No. 5 in the nation in free throw shooting at 89.8 percent.
Pierre Jackson, Baylor
2011-12 Season Stats: 13.3 ppg, 5.8 apg, 43.4 3P%
Pierre Jackson's numbers are not particularly eye-popping. His 5.8 assists per game rank third in the Big 12, and he only scores 13.3 points per game.
But don't let that fool you.
Jackson is an electric player who has been arguably the second-best point guard in the Big 12 behind Phil Pressey of Missouri. And even though his scoring average is not outstanding, he has gone off for 20 or more points on four occasions, scoring as many as 35 against Iowa State.
Casper Ware, Long Beach State
2011-12 Season Stats: 17.4 ppg, 3.3 apg
Casper Ware won the Big West Defensive Player of the Year Award last season, and he has won the Big West Player of the Year Award each of the last two years.
As one of the best point guards in the nation, Ware has the ability to take control of games. Those who watched the either Long Beach State's upset over Pittsburgh early in the season or the conference championship game against UC Santa Barbara last Saturday have already seen this happen. Against the Gauchos in his most recent game, he posted 33 points, making 8-of-16 three-pointers, and six assists.
Ware will certainly catch the eyes of many NCAA tournament viewers when the 49ers take on New Mexico on Thursday.
C.J. McCollum, Lehigh
2011-12 Season Stats: 21.9 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 2.6 spg
C.J. McCollum currently has 2030 career points, good for the No. 2 spot in Lehigh history—and he's only a junior.
Some of you may remember him from his freshman year when Lehigh was a No. 16 seed in the 2010 NCAA tournament. In the Mountain Hawks' first round game with Kansas, McCollum posted 26 points and seven rebounds in a 90-74 loss.
This year, McCollum scored in double digits in all games except when he played just 15 minutes in a blowout win over Arcadia University. During the Patriot League tournament last week, he averaged 23.7 points per game over three games.
In the 2012 NCAA tournament, McCollum will have the opportunity to lead his squad to a rare, first-round win by a No. 15 seed.
Andrew Nicholson, Saint Bonaventure
2011-12 Season Stats: 18.4 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 2.0 bpg
Andrew Nicholson has been listed in mock drafts throughout the season, but most people did not get to see the senior forward play until Selection Sunday when his Bonnies defeated Xavier in the Atlantic 10 championship. In that game, Nicholson posted 26 points on 7-of-13 shooting, 14 rebounds, and eight blocks.
And over his last 11 games, he has been averaging 24.7 points per game, 11.1 rebounds per game, and 2.8 blocks per game.
Nicholson may not play at the highest level of competition, but he has the talent to compete with the best.