NCAA Bracket Predictions 2013: NBA Prospects Who Will Lead Their Teams to Win

Brian MaziqueCorrespondent IIIMarch 22, 2013

KANSAS CITY, MO - MARCH 15: Ben McLemore #23 of the Kansas Jayhawks shoots a three-point shot against the Iowa State Cyclones in the first half during the Semifinals of the Big 12 basketball tournament at the Sprint Center on March 15, 2013 in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Fans are obviously watching the NCAA tournament to see which teams advance to the Final Four, but the tournament also doubles as a showcase for much of the top talent in the nation.

Many of the players that will be lottery selections in the 2013 NBA draft will be in action. On Friday's schedule alone there are at least six almost certain lottery selections in action.

Kansas' Ben McLemore, Indiana's Cody Zeller and Victor Oladipo, UCLA's Shabazz Muhammad, Duke's Mason Plumlee and Georgetown's Otto Parker all figure to hear their names called in the top 15—should the applicable underclassmen declare.

Not all of the draft hopefuls will emerge victorious, but I predict a few of them will deliver stand-out performances that further solidify their status as draft studs.

Here's a look at three talented prospects I expect to shine on Friday in leading their teams to victory.


Ben McLemore, Kansas Jayhawks

Many consider the Jayhawks freshman to be the top prospect in the nation. The smooth-shooting 6'5" guard is capable of unconscious shooting performances and highlight-reel dunks.

He has a tendency to lose his aggressiveness here and there, but that won't be a problem against Western Kentucky. The top-seeded Jayhawks don't figure to get much of a challenge from the Hilltoppers.

McLemore should put on an impressive performance in his NCAA tournament debut. Expect to see him score 20 points and throw down at least one slam worthy of a replay.

The real challenge for the Jayhawks won't come until the round of 32, but if you want to get a look at one of the top prospects in the sport, McLemore will likely be in solid form on Friday.


Jamaal Franklin, San Diego State Aztecs

The Aztecs' junior swingman doesn't get the credit he deserves. Not many mock drafts have him in the first round, but that's about to change. Franklin is a phenomenal athlete that rebounds and defends well on the perimeter.

He isn't a great shooter, which is evidenced by his 27 percent three-point mark, but he's still a scorer. He's averaging 16.7 points, 9.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game. Many may remember this off-the-glass self alley-oop from earlier in the season.

Chances are he won't be pulling any stunts like that against No. 10 seed Oklahoma, but I predict he will still put on a show.

The Aztecs are the slight favorite as the No. 7 seed, but this is still expected to be a tight contest. Franklin's versatility will be on full display as the Sooners don't have a player that matches up well with him.

This game could be the beginning of a coming-out party for Franklin.


Cody Zeller, Indiana Hoosiers

Zeller and the Hoosiers didn't finish the season as strong as they needed to. He scored only 13 points in the team's loss to the Wisconsin Badgers in the Big Ten tournament semifinal.

While I consider him the best big man prospect in the nation, he needs to step up if the Hoosiers are going to have a chance to reach the Final Four.

This team has a bevy of talent, but Zeller is the player that needs to demand the ball in tough situations and make himself a force in the paint. He leads the team in scoring (16.9) and rebounding (8.2), but he needs to play even bigger.

Indiana probably won't need Zeller to dig deep against the No. 16 seed James Madison Dukes, but this is a game that can allow Zeller and his teammates to establish a rhythm.


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