NCAA Tournament 2012 Schedule: Senior Leaders Who'll Dominate on Thursday

T.J. McaloonContributorMarch 21, 2012

COLUMBUS, OH - MARCH 18: Brandon Wood #30, Draymond Green #23 and Keith Appling #11 of the Michigan State Spartans celebrate after defeating the St. Louis Billikens during the third round of the 2012 NCAA Men's basketball tournament at Nationwide Arena on March 18, 2012 in Columbus, Ohio.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

Michigan State has come a long way since being an unranked team to start the season. A big reason why they not only are a No. 1 seed, but also in the Sweet 16 is because of the leadership from senior Draymond Green.

However, Green will not be the only senior who goes off in the Sweet 16. He will have a huge game against the Louisville Cardinals, and these other senior leaders will follow him in leading their teams to the Elite 8. 

 

 

Draymond Green - Michigan State

COLUMBUS, OH - MARCH 18: Brandan Kearney #3, Brandon Wood #30, Derrick Nix #25, Travis Trice #20 and Draymond Green #23 of the Michigan State Spartans run to the bench for a timeout against the Saint Louis Billikens during the third round of the 2012 NCAA
Rob Carr/Getty Images

Through the Spartans' first two games of the NCAA tournament, Green has put up some impressive numbers. He’s scored a double-double in both games, scoring 40 total points and grabbing 25 rebounds.  

Coming into the tournament Green has strung together three straight double-double games where he’s averaged 18 points and 12 rebounds.  

Green will have to continue to be a dominant force for the Spartans as they continue their road to the Final Four. 

 

 

Jae Crowder - Marquette

LOUISVILLE, KY - MARCH 17:  Jae Crowder #32 of the Marquette Golden Eagles celebrates the 62-53 victory against the Murray State Racers during the third round of the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at KFC YUM! Center on March 17, 2012 in Louisville,
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Crowder has been on fire during Marquette’s two tournament games. He’s averaging a double-double with 21 points and 14.5 rebounds. However, these big numbers aren’t new, as coming into the tournament Crowder was putting up double-double numbers in the Big East tournament averaging 18 points and 13 rebounds.

Against Florida, Crowder will pose a big problem to the Gators interior defense. 

When the Golden Eagles played two SEC opponents earlier in the year, Crowder went off for 22 points and nine rebounds against LSU and 16 points and 10 rebounds against Vanderbilt. 

Crowder will get his chances to shine in the Sweet 16, as he will lead Marquette to the Elite Eight with 19 points and 14 rebounds. 

 

 

Yancy Gates - Cincinnati

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 10:  Cashmere Wright #1, Yancy Gates #34 and Sean Kilpatrick #23 of the Cincinnati Bearcats look on late in the game against the Louisville Cardinals during the finals of the Big East Men's Basketball Tournament at Madison Square Gard
Michael Heiman/Getty Images

Gates has put this Cincinnati Bearcats team on his back and have carried them through a deep run in the Big East tournament and two big wins in the NCAA tournament. 

Over his last five games, Gates has averaged 15 points, 7.2 rebounds and six made field goals. 

Gates has played every minute in Cincinnati’s last five tournament games, and will be there for every minute of their big Sweet 16 game against the No. 1 seed, Ohio State. The Bearcats will have to get a big performance from their senior leader if they want to have a chance to pull off a huge upset over the heavily favored Buckeyes. 

 

These three seniors do not want to see their season’s come to an end on Thursday. They will have big games, and they will see their team’s move onto the Elite Eight.