Most Clutch Players in the 2013 NCAA Tournament
March Madness creates nonstop opportunities where someone needs to step up.
When the shot clock is running down, when the half is getting close or when the game is on the line, in what college hoops players hands would you most want the ball?
Here is a lightning-fast look at the 10 most clutch players in the 2013 NCAA tournament.
10. Mark Lyons (Arizona Wildcats)
Mark Lyons is not only a fierce competitor, but he's also a player who has delivered when the game is on the line.
Arizona's senior PG may not be the prototypical, pass-first floor leader, but he has no problem taking the responsibility of getting the Wildcats the best shot possible in the closing seconds of the game.
This early-season thriller is a good example of how Lyons, who transferred to Arizona from Xavier, instantly had the trust and confidence of his teammates and his coach Sean Miller.
9. Ben McLemore (Kansas Jayhawks)
Ben McLemore may be one of the most deadly outside shooters in the country, but the 6’5” SG can actually score from anywhere on the court.
Give him the ball on the perimeter, and he will bury jumpers all night long.
Let him have a seam to the basket, and he will throw down a thunderous dunk.
McLemore only needs the rock. He is more than capable of supplying everything else.
8. Seth Curry (Duke Blue Devils)
Seth Curry can bring it when the Blue Devils need it.
The senior SG is a long-distance sharpshooter who can also put the ball on the deck and bury a nasty floater.
Curry is averaging 17 points per game, shooting 43 percent from beyond the arc and 81.7 percent from the line.
Even through the pain of a variety of leg injuries, Curry has shown that Coach K doesn't need to look any further to find someone who can be counted on during crunch time.
7. Doug McDermott (Creighton Bluejays)
Doug McDermott ended up the regular season as the nation's No. 2 scorer at 23.1 points per game.
The 6'8" combo forward can score from just about anywhere on the court.
He can set up shop on the block and go to work with his back to the basket.
Or, McDermott can move out to beyond the arc where he hit 49.7 percent of his long-distance attempts.
When the Bluejays needed to beat Wichita State in the final regular-season game of the Missouri Valley Conference, he put in 41 points on 15-of-18 shooting from the field.
6. Deshaun Thomas (Ohio State Buckeyes)
Everyone who has played Ohio State this year knew exactly who the Buckeye's go-to guy is. Deshaun Thomas,
And yet the "scorer supreme," who led the Big Ten in scoring (19.5 points per game), just keeps getting better as the 2012-13 campaign continues.
His mid-range game is about as good as anyone's in the country.
Thomas is the only OSU player who is averaging double-figure points.
5. Shane Larkin (Miami Hurricanes)
Miami has lots of weapons, but Shane Larkin is the driving force behind the Canes’ success.
The 5’11” sophomore PG does it all, including averaging 14.6 points, 3.9 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game.
Larkin, the ACC tournament MVP, stepped up his game in the postseason tourney, scoring 23.7 points, grabbing five rebounds and dishing out five assists.
Because of an explosive first step, he is a nightmare to keep out of the lane.
Larkin's March Madness performance will determine how well Miami finishes out its dream season.
4. Marcus Smart (Oklahoma State Cowboys)
From the very beginning of this season, he has played on a different level than most of his opponents. He impacts the entire OSU team through his toughness, physicality and skills.
At 6’4” and 225 pounds, Smart uses his size and strength to dominate both ends of the court.
Smart regularly has stuffs the stat sheet, scoring 15.4 points, grabbing 5.7 rebounds and handing out 4.2 assists per game.
3. Victor Oladipo (Indiana Hoosiers)
The Hoosiers 6’5” wing has gone from being the team’s fourth scoring option in 2011-12 to being Indiana’s spark.
He has always been a mad slasher, but Oladipo has added long-distance shooter (44.3 percent from beyond the arc) to his well-honed skill set.
Even though IU’s coach Tom Crean has lots of options, going with Oladipo seems to be working awfully well.
2. Otto Porter Jr. (Georgetown Hoyas)
Otto Porter Jr. has the natural ability to make everyone that plays with him better. As he is elevating his game, so are his Hoya teammates.
But, when Georgetown needs to get a bucket, there is no confusion about who is its No. 1 option.
A perfect example of how the 6’8” sophomore finds ways to get things done is his stellar performance at Syracuse in late February. Porter scored 33 of the Hoyas’ 57 points.
1. Trey Burke (Michigan Wolverines)
If I could choose one player in the country to take a final shot or make a big play in a close game, without hesitation I would select Trey Burke.
At times, the 6'0" sophomore PG is nearly impossible to stop. He consistently beats whomever is attempting to guard him, and he has no trouble finishing at the rim in traffic or pulling up from distance or mid-range.
One aspect of Burke's game that he rarely gets full credit for is his ability to deliver the ball to one of his capable teammates in scoring position. Burke led the Big Ten in assists (6.7 apg) by more than two dimes per game.
If Michigan is in a close game during this year's NCAA tournament, Burke will be ready to get it done.