NCAA Tournament 2012: 5 Players Left in March Madness Nobody Wants to Guard
With only 12 teams left in the Big Dance, it’s time for the strongest players to come out and shine for their respective squads.
In order for any team to win the six games in a row needed to call themselves champions, great individual performances are going to be needed by the teams' stars.
There are numerous players still playing in the tournament who have the ability to completely take over the remainder of the tournament and win the whole thing by themselves.
Here are some of the best scorers left in the March Madness tournament that nobody wants to guard.
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images
Season Average: 15.5 ppg
Tournament Average: 15.0 ppg
Cody Zeller is an extremely tough matchup for any big man because of his superb footwork. In the low post, Zeller has one of the best spin moves in the country. He also has great range on his jump shot, so you can’t sag off him or he’ll make you pay.
Another reason Zeller is so difficult to guard is because he loves to run the floor more than most big men do. He is so smart and loves to find his defender towards the foul line and pin them behind him, leaving a clear lane for him to get to the basket and finish the easy lay-in or dunk.
Jim Rogash/Getty Images
Season Average: 15.9 ppg
Tournament Average: 24.3 ppg
Ohio State has the luxury of having player like Deshaun Thomas, who has so much versatility on the court. The range on his jump shot extends all the way to the three-point line, even though he is 225 lbs. He is only 6'7", but he uses his huge frame to his advantage to bully bigger defenders down low.
With so much attention on fellow big man Jared Sullinger, Thomas has actually been able to score huge numbers this tournament. With 24.3 ppg, he leads the nation in scoring during his three games. It will be very interesting to see if he will have the same success when he faces the infamous 2-3 zone of Syracuse in the Elite Eight.
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Season Average: 17.3 ppg
Tournament Average: 15.5 ppg
Harrison Barnes has already proven he can be a dominant scorer, but he is going to need to step up his distributing with Kendall Marshall expected to miss time with a wrist injury. Barnes is by far the team’s best perimeter player, so I believe it is now going to be his responsibility to get the ball to his bigs, Tyler Zeller and John Henson.
This makes Barnes even scarier to guard. Where his defender usually only needed to worry about him trying to score, they now need to think about also cutting off passing lanes or he will just find his teammates for easy scores all game. The tighter pressure will make it easier for Barnes to drive past his defender, so I expect his scoring total to stay high, even with the increased assists.
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Season Average: 17.4 ppg
Tournament Average: 23.0 ppg
Tu Holloway, the senior who has made the tournament every season he’s played at Xavier, has been dominating for the Musketeers so far in his last tournament. He is currently tied for third in scoring in with his 23 points per game.
Holloway willed his team to victory in their opening-round upset of Notre Dame. He scored over a third of his team's points, including the go-ahead shot with 21.3 seconds left in the game. He did much of the same in the team’s second-round game, scoring over 20 points again. The Baylor guards will have their hands full trying to stop Holloway from raining jumpers on them in their Sweet 16 game.
Eric Francis/Getty Images
Season Average: 17.7 ppg
Tournament Average: 13.5 ppg
Thomas Robinson only scored 11 points in the team’s second-round game, but no one has forgotten how dominant the finalist for the Naismith Player of the Year award was the entire season. He led the NCAA in double-doubles this season with 25.
Robinson is so tough to guard because not only can he beat defenders up down low, but he is also relentless on the boards. He led the nation in total rebounds this season with 414. He is the most ferocious when he is attacking the offensive glass. So far in this tournament, he is averaging four offensive rebounds per game. If his defender doesn’t get a body on him quickly, Robinson will cause numerous second-chance opportunities for his team.