With the release of the NCAA tournament bracket for 2013 (printable version here), all attention will quickly focus on how certain teams will perform this year.
The matchups between the top seeds and the lower seeds will be analyzed intently, but it's the players within those matchups that deserve the most attention.
For not only are they the players who are going to win or lose certain March Madness games, but they're also the players we're going to be watching in the 2013 NBA draft later this year. Especially those who are bound for big tournaments and could see rises in their draft stock as a result.
Read on to see which NBA prospects are going to light up the tournament this year, and seriously boost their draft stock in the process.
Trey Burke, PG, Michigan
Despite his talent and blistering athleticism, Burke isn't a top 10 pick in the draft—something that he could well prove with a good showing here.
The Wolverines have a good chance to make some noise in the tournament this year, with their talented playmaker in Burke likely to be behind anything they do. Be that attacking the basket himself, working the ball for his teammates or forcing turnovers on defense, Burke can do it all, and he'll show that to be the case at March Madness this year.
NBA scouts should find that very encouraging from the star guard.
Matthew Dellavedova, PG, Saint Mary's
Saint Mary's point guard Matthew Dellavedova showed in the Gaels' win over Middle Tennessee just how good he can be—racking up 22 points and four assists.
The Australian has put up strong numbers all year for Saint Mary's (averaging 15.5 points, 6.5 assists), but now on the biggest stage, he could do wonders to his draft stock with strong performances. Especially if the Gaels can continue their impressive form in the round of 64.
He is a dominant dribbler who perhaps doesn't have the same quickness and athleticism that someone like Burke has, but he certainly has the skills. The guard is a prolific passer of the ball and a great team manager—something that scouts will surely look favorably on.
Dellavedova is currently touted as being just inside the top 100 prospects in the country, but expect that to change dramatically come draft time.
Teams will need to understand that they're getting a future Steve Nash more than a current Kyrie Irving, but that certainly has its positives.
Dellavedova is a complete player and would be a shrewd pickup as a result.
Doug McDermott, SF/PF, Creighton
McDermott, like Burke, is receiving plenty of notoriety for his offensive brilliance throughout the year, but isn't quite being considered a top 10 pick just yet.
The Bluejays' forward should change that with a strong showing in March Madness this year—particularly if Creighton can get on a roll in the tournament. They have a good chance to beat Cincinnati in their opening game and given Duke's poor defense, could threaten the Blue Devils in the round of 32, which would do wonders to McDermott's draft stock.
Coming in at 6'8" and 223 pounds, McDermott's ability to dominate inside (23.1 points, 7.5 rebounds, 0.561 field goal percentage) and his skills outside as well (0.497 three-point percentage) make him a great all-around player at the tournament this year, and a future star of the NBA as well.
Look for his stock to rise with every game that Creighton wins.
Which NBA prospects do you think will shine at March Madness 2013?
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