March Madness 2013: Must-See Players to Watch for in the Round of 64
It's mid-March and as expected, the 2013 NCAA Tournament bracket is all the rage. Amateur bracketologists around the country are nervously making their last-minute picks, as the madness gets set to continue with the start of the second round on Thursday.
But while all eyes will be on stars like Doug McDermott, Marcus Smart and Shabazz Muhammad, some other phenomenal players will be looking to lead their teams to NCAA Tournament glory as well.
With the round of 64 set to tipoff on Thursday afternoon, let's take a closer look at some must-see players that college basketball fans should be watching for.
*Be sure to download and print out your bracket before the action heats up on Thursday.
Bernard Thompson, Florida Gulf Coast
Florida Gulf Coast sophomore guard Bernard Thompson is one of the top all-around players no one knows about this season. Thompson helped power the Eagles to an Atlantic Sun Conference title this March, and will look to help lead them to a monumental upset win over second-seeded Georgetown on Friday night.
Thompson is FGCU's second-leading scorer, averaging 14 points per game on 47 percent shooting from the floor. But the 6'3" guard is much more than a scoring threat. Thompson also averages 4.4 rebounds, 2.8 steals (fourth-best in the nation) and nearly two assists per game.
Although the Georgia native will have his hands full against the Hoyas in the NCAA Tournament, viewers would be wise to get a good look at No. 2 for FGCU before the Eagles' tournament run ends this March.
Lamont Jones, Iona
The nation's third-leading scorer this season, Iona's Lamont Jones is another sensational must-see player on a 15th-seeded squad this spring.
Jones, a senior guard who transferred from Arizona in 2011, is averaging 23 points per game for the Gaels this year. He's exploded for 30-plus points on six occasions this season as well.
In addition to possessing the ability to light up the scoreboard, Jones is a solid passer and rebounder at 6'. He's averaging 3.5 assists and 3.1 rebounds per game coming into the 2013 NCAA Tournament.
Like Thompson, there's a good shot that Jones will be headed home after the round of 64, which means college basketball fans who are unaware of the Gaels star will want to check him out on Friday night against second-seeded Ohio State.
Nate Wolters, South Dakota State
The Michigan Wolverines will have to find a way to slow down elite guard Nate Wolters on Thursday if they hope to advance to the round of 32. The South Dakota State senior is the country's fourth-leading scorer this year, averaging 22.7 points per game on 49 percent shooting from the field and 39 percent shooting from beyond the arc.
Which player will have the best performance in the NCAA Tournament?
In addition to carrying a bulk of the Jackrabbits scoring load, Wolters is the team's leading assist man, averaging 5.8 per game to go along with his 5.6 rebounds. He recorded 19 points, four assists and four rebounds in a round of 64 loss to Baylor in last year's NCAA Tournament.
At 6'4", Wolters can do a lot of things well on the basketball court, and his play will ultimately determine whether 14th-seeded South Dakota State upends fourth-seeded Michigan in the South Region on Thursday.
The Wolverines are just 6-6 over their last 12 games and if Wolters—who exploded for 53 points in a win last month—can get hot and stay hot, it could be the Jackrabbits marching on to the round of 32 this weekend.
Make your picks for the 2013 NCAA tournament here with the Bracket Challenge Game
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