8 Players to Watch in the 2013 NCAA Tournament's First Four

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistMarch 18, 2013

8 Players to Watch in the 2013 NCAA Tournament's First Four

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    Before the madness of the second and third rounds of the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship tips off this weekend, eight teams will compete for a spot in the round of 64 in Dayton at the First Four. 

    Four No. 16 seeds, two No. 13 seeds and two No. 11 seeds will make their way to the UD Arena on Tuesday and Wednesday to compete in the official start to the NCAA tournament. 

    Here are eight players, one from each team, that you should keep an eye when the First Four tips off Tuesday night. 

Davon Marshall, No. 16 Liberty

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    Notable Stats: 13.4 points per game, .849 free-throw shooting, .433 three-point shooting

    Junior guard Davon Marshall has been a key cog in the Liberty machine all season, and his play has improved during the postseason. 

    When the Flames took down Big South South Division champions Charleston Southern in the conference tournament final, Marshall scored 20 points and shot 6-of-7 from beyond the arc. 

    Since the month of March began, the Niagara Falls, N.Y., native has scored over 16 points in four of the Flames' five games. 

Lamont Middleton, No. 16 North Carolina A&T

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    Notable Stats: 12.4 points per game, 4.1 rebounds per game, .695 free-throw shooting

    In North Carolina A&T's run to the MEAC tournament title last week, Lamont Middleton scored in double digits in all four of the Aggies' games. 

    Before his hot streak in Norfolk, Middleton scored over double digits just once in the final six regular-season games of the season.

    With Middleton on a hot streak going into the NCAA tournament, the Aggies have a strong chance to come out of Dayton with a victory on Tuesday. 

Jamal Olasewere, No. 16 LIU Brooklyn

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    Notable Stats: 18.9 points per game, 8.5 rebounds per game, .518 field-goal shooting

    Jamal Olasewere dominated the Northeast Conference all season, and now he gets a chance to showcase his talents on the national level. 

    Olasewere has scored over 20 points in 13 games and has reached over 30 points twice, including his season-high 33 against Quinnipiac on March 2 in the Blackbirds' final regular-season game. 

    In the NEC tournament, Olasewere scored 20, 12 and 15 points as the Blackbirds advanced to the field of 68. 

    If Olasewere was not enough for James Madison to be worried about, the Blackbirds have another high-profile scorer in C.J. Garner, who averaged 16.1 points per game in the regular season. 

Rayshawn Goins, No. 16 James Madison

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    Notable Stats: 12.7 points per game, 7.4 rebounds per game, .699 free-throw shooting

    Rayshawn Goins is the leading scorer and rebounder for the Dukes of James Madison, and he will have to step up once more on Wednesday in Dayton if his team wants to play Indiana on Friday.

    Goins has struggled of late as he has only scored in double digits twice in his last six games. 

    The senior forward will also have to face adversity on Wednesday as he will be suspended for the first half after being arrested on charges of obstruction of justice and disorderly conduct on Sunday night (via Wall Street Journal).

Tyreek Duren, No. 13 La Salle

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    Notable Stats: 15.0 points per game, 3.3 assists per game, .772 free-throw shooting

    While Ramon Galloway may be the Explorers' leading scorer, Tyreek Duren has been the player leading La Salle during the stretch run. 

    The junior guard has scored over 13 points in each of his team's last seven games. Duren's streak started when he lit up Big 5 rival St. Joseph's for 29 points on Feb. 16. 

    Duren drives the La Salle offense. If he is able to dish the ball to Galloway and the rest of his teammates, the Explorers will leave Dayton with a victory on Wednesday. 

Anthony Drmic, No. 13 Boise State

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    Notable Stats: 17.3 points per game, .775 free-throw shooting, .461 field-goal shooting

    Anthony Drmic is one of three players on the Boise State roster that averages over 10 points per game. 

    Of those three players, Drmic has been the most consistent down the stretch. 

    In six of his last seven games, the sophomore guard from Australia has scored over 20 points. The only game where he did not eclipse the 20-point mark was on March 2 against Colorado State, when he scored 15. 

Marcos Knight, No. 11 Middle Tennessee

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    Notable Stats: 12.5 points per game, .444 field-goal shooting, .697 free-throw shooting

    Marcos Knight has been the best player for Middle Tennessee this season, and he will have to star on Tuesday night for the Blue Raiders to advance past St. Mary's. 

    During the Blue Raiders' amazing run in conference play, Knight was a consistent contributor to the Middle Tennessee cause. 

    In 26 of the 33 games he has played this season, Knight has scored in double digits. 

Matthew Dellavedova, No. 11 St. Mary's

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    Notable Stats: 15.8 points per game, 6.4 assists per game, .877 free-throw shooting

    Matthew Dellavedova is the best player heading to Dayton to play in the First Four. 

    The senior guard from Australia is one of the best shooters in college basketball, and if he gets hot from beyond the arc, St. Mary's could go on a run in the NCAA tournament. 

    Dellavedova also barely misses free throws, and if the Gaels are up by a few points late in the game, the Aussie could bury any opponent from the line. 

    Follow me on Twitter, @JTansey90.

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