NCAA Tournament 2013 Bracket: Players to Catch Now Before They Lose Early

Rob GoldbergFeatured ColumnistMarch 21, 2013

OMAHA, NE - MARCH 2:  Doug McDermott #3 of the Creighton Bluejays celebrates during a timeout during their game against the Wichita State Shockers at the CenturyLink Center on March 2, 2013 in Omaha, Nebraska.  (Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images)
Eric Francis/Getty Images

The NCAA tournament is a great opportunity for players from smaller schools to shine on the big stage. However, they might not be around for too long.

While stars like Victor Oladipo of Indiana and Russ Smith of Louisville should be in the tournament for a couple of weeks, some lesser-known players could be out as soon as the round of 64.

Still, the talented players from the mid-majors are worth watching, so make sure not to miss a second of the action.


Lamont Jones, Iona

Ohio State does not have the toughest road to the Final Four in the West region, but it cannot be happy to see Iona in the first game.

The Gaels are led by Lamont Jones, who finished the regular season third in the country in scoring at 23 points per game. He is small in stature, but is very quick and knows how to use his body to finish in the paint.

In addition, he gets to the free-throw line at an average of 7.5 times per game, where he hits 88.7 percent of his shots.

If he hits his outside shots, Ohio State could be in for some trouble. Otherwise, the former Arizona transfer will be out of the tournament quickly. 


Wesley Saunders, Harvard

While he is not as big of a star at Harvard as Jeremy Lin, Wesley Saunders is not far off. The No. 14 seed will have a very tough time getting past New Mexico in its opening game, but this squad will at least put up a fight.

Saunders leads his team with 16.5 points per game, and he is also among the best on the roster in rebounds, assists, steals and blocks.

The wing is very athletic, and he knows how to get himself into the lane to get easier shots. This has helped him make an impressive 53.6 percent of his shots this year.

New Mexico has a very tough defense, but if anyone will succeed for the Crimson in this one it is Saunders.


Doug McDermott, Creighton

Among everyone on this list, Doug McDermott has the best chance to stick around in the Big Dance. His Creighton Blue Jays are a No. 7 seed, and a Sweet 16 appearance is not out of the question.

This would especially be true if McDermott plays to his ability. The nation's second-leading scorer is also sixth in the country in three-point shooting after making 49.7 percent of his outside shots.

He is the leader of a team that ranks No. 1 in the nation in three-point shooting.

The problem is that Cincinnati looms in the first round, and the Bearcats can rebound the ball as well as anyone in the nation. If the Blue Jays cannot keep them out of the lane defensively, they will go down in the first round.


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