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NCAA Bracket 2012: Studs Who Will Carry Team to Elite 8 on Friday

LOUISVILLE, KY - MARCH 17: Anthony Davis #23 of the Kentucky Wildcats attempts a shot in the first half against the Iowa State Cyclones during the third round of the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at KFC YUM! Center on March 17, 2012 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistMarch 23, 2012

Unless we are talking about a stout goalie in hockey or an ace pitcher in baseball, few sports can be as dominated by one player quite as much as basketball.

A superstar has the ability to strap a team to his back and carry them to victory.

Often, that comes when the player is a prolific scorer, but dominance can be felt in other ways as well. Let's take a look at three players who I believe will dominate in Friday's game and lead their teams into the Elite Eight.

 

Tyler Zeller, C, North Carolina

Zeller is second on the Tar Heels in points scored per game (16.4) behind Harrison Barnes, and second in rebounds (9.4) and blocks (1.4) per game behind John Henson. He was named the ACC's Player of the Year this season.

He's experienced (he is a senior), maintains intense focus, never loses his composure and is a leader for the Tar Heels.

This is Zeller's moment, and frankly, Ohio doesn't have an answer for him down low. Pay too much attention to him, and Barnes and Henson will beat them. Pay him no mind and Zeller will kill them.

The Bobcats are damned if they do and damned if they don't this year.

 

Perry Jones III, PF, Baylor

He's frustratingly inconsistent. And he's due.

Jones has as much talent as any player in college basketball, but he doesn't always utilize it. Take the tournament thus far—Jones has only scored nine total points even though he averages 14.0 a game.

But he's due for an explosion, and he's capable of one. Against Kansas State in the Big 12 tournament, Jones exploded for 31 points and 11 rebounds. If Jones decides he's going to dominate against Xavier in Sweet 16 play, the Musketeers won't be able to overcome the Bears.

Jones is due. Xavier is in trouble.

 

Anthony Davis, C, Kentucky

The nation's best player (in my opinion) has the ability to influence the game in a number of ways.

He scores (14.3 PPG), he rebounds (10.1 RPG) and he blocks a ton of shots (4.6 BPG). And even when he isn't blocking the shot, his presence in the paint is a natural deterrent for players thinking about driving the lane.

The last time Kentucky played Indiana, Davis got in foul trouble early and was held to six points in only 24 minutes of play. Don't expect that to happen this time around, and don't expect Indiana to win again, either.

 

Thomas Robinson, PF, Kansas

Another Player of the Year candidate, Robinson could have trouble with NC State's bigs.

Or he could do what he's done all year long—dominate.

Robinson has been good for 17.9 PPG and 11.8 RPG this season. He's only scored less than 10 points once this season, and that was in an 89-34 win over Howard in which he only played 22 minutes. Oh, and his season-low in rebounds was seven in a game against Iowa State.

Here's a fun understatement—Robinson is really, really good. More importantly, he's consistently good.

That won't change against NC State. Robinson will lead the Jayhawks to victory.

 

Hit me up on Twitter—I've tweeted from Lehigh's campus before. Seriously.

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