March Madness 2013: Players That Are Key to Their Team's Cinderella Run
There are four teams remaining that legitimately qualify as Cinderella teams. The Oregon Ducks are the only one that has already punched its ticket to the Sweet 16.
It may be hard for some to think about the Ducks as a Cinderella considering they won the Pac-12 tournament, but they were still the 12th seed coming in.
They have already knocked off the No. 5-seeded Oklahoma State Cowboys and the No. 4-seeded Saint Louis Billikens.
In order for them to extend their run past the top-seeded Louisville Cardinals, they must get great backcourt play.
Louisville pressures the ball as well as any team in the country, and Gorgui Dieng is a great rim protector. The Ducks’ freshman guard Damyean Dotson will have to be just as big as he was against the Billikens.
He had 23 points to lead all scorers, and he made five-of-six three-point shots.
The Ducks must take better care of the ball, though.
They turned the ball over 18 times against the Billikens, They only got away with that carelessness because they shot 72 percent from three-point range, and the Billikens made just under 38 percent of their shots.
Along with better ball control, the Ducks will lean heavily on Dotson, who is emerging as their star.
Here is a look at players who are key to the other four Cinderella teams’ hopes of keeping the fairy tale alive.
Wichita State - Ron Baker
Cleanthony Early had 16 points for the Shockers in their huge upset of No. 1 Gonzaga on Saturday, but the biggest contribution was the 16 points the team got from freshman Ron Baker.
Baker had a foot injury earlier in the season that caused him to miss 21 games. The team was 15-6 during that stretch, but they are 13-2 when he’s in the lineup.
He proved his value on Saturday, and the Shockers will need him to play well if they hope to defeat the winner of the Ole Miss-La Salle matchup on Sunday.
LaSalle - Ramon Galloway
Galloway got a much-needed assist from Jerrell Wright against Kansas State on Friday. Wright was nearly perfect as he made all six of his shots from the field and nine-of-10 from the free-throw line.
But make no mistake, Galloway is the engine for this team.
Without him playing well, they will be overwhelmed by Ole Miss’s defensive pressure. Galloway was just six-of-15 from the field against the Wildcats.
He’ll need to be better if the Explorers hope to beat the Rebels.
Ole Miss - Marshall Henderson
Henderson has no conscience and coupled with the Rebels’ intense defense, this is a team to take note of.
He had 19 points in the upset win over Wisconsin, and you can bet the Rebels won’t see a defense on par with the Badgers against La Salle.
If Henderson can continue to be effective shooting the ball, the Rebels could easily reach the Elite Eight.
Florida Gulf Coast - Brett Comer
Sherwood Brown and Bernard Thompson combined for 47 points and more importantly, 28 of the Eagles' 44 free-throw attempts against Georgetown.
Which team has the best shot at reaching the Elite Eight?
They were huge, but Comer’s playmaking skills and ability to execute the offense is a big reason the Eagles were able to pull off the upset.
When Georgetown made its run, it was Comer that made the small plays that helped facilitate the big buckets that Brown and Thompson made.
Comer had 12 points, six rebounds and 10 huge assists in the game.
Knocking off San Diego State will be very tough. The Aztecs are extremely athletic, and they are led by one of the most underrated players in the nation in Jamaal Franklin.
If the Eagles are to extend their Cinderella run, they will need another strong game from Comer. His play makes Brown's and Thompson’s jobs easier.
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