NCAA Tournament 2013: Players That Will Shine During Sweet 16

Josh BenjaminCorrespondent IMarch 27, 2013

Feb 2 2013, Bloomington, USA; Indiana Hoosiers guard Victor Oladipo (4) smiles as he enjoys the lead against the Michigan Wolverines at Assembly Hall. Indiana defeats Michigan 81-73. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

This year's NCAA tournament has entered the Sweet 16, which is where the players from certain teams truly start to separate themselves from the rest of the pack. That said, fans should be excited for the bevy of talent they'll be able to watch in the coming days.

From lights-out shooters to incredible slashers, this year's Sweet 16 is full of players that have shone bright both in the regular season and in the tournament. Though the pressure has been turned up, this is just another chance for them to continue doing what they've been doing and keep playing some excellent basketball.

This means that fans should be excited to see Indiana continue to play well after a nailbiter against Temple last weekend, not to mention a Florida team that seems destined for greatness despite being the sole solid team in a weak SEC.

Of course, the players of those teams and others should provide plenty of fireworks for the fans to enjoy.


Russ Smith, G, Louisville

Though he is not necessarily a strong jump shooter, Smith has done a great job of stepping up his effort for the No. 1 seed Cardinals in the tourney. Over two games, he is averaging 25 points and five steals per game. Yes, the latter number is a bit inflated, but it still shows how good an on-ball defender Smith is when he is fully locked in.

Smith has also shot 55 percent from the field in the tournament, which is well above his season mark of 42 percent. This young man is fully committed to being his team's leader on the floor and in the Sweet 16, that's only going to improve Louisville's chances of reaching the Elite Eight.


Victor Oladipo, G/F, Indiana

Victor Oladipo isn't going to put up huge scoring numbers game after game, nor is he going to send fans into a frenzy with regularly deep three-point shooting. However, his athleticism will keep fans on the edge of their seats until his playing days are over, and his performance in the tourney this year has been no exception.

The junior has posted just 13.5 points per game this tournament, but his seven rebounds and field-goal percentage of 53 are quite impressive for someone just 6'5", 214 pounds. Oladipo has proven time and time again that he'll do whatever it takes to get his team a win, be it shouldering the scoring load or playing great on-ball defense, and a Sweet 16 matchup against Syracuse will be no exception.

Oladipo is going to shine brighter than ever before against the Orange, and a strong night from him will ensure a Hoosiers trip to the Elite Eight.


Mike Rosario, G, Florida

Rosario averaged 12.5 points and shot 38 percent from the field in his senior season with the Gators, but his round of 32 performance against Minnesota made him a player to watch in the Sweet 16. Against the Golden Gophers, Rosario scored 25 points and had six three-pointers, helping carry the team from start to finish.

He isn't the most athletic of guards at 6'3", 183 pounds, but Rosario has definitely established himself as a fine shooter this tournament, not to mention someone who has a strong ability to penetrate the lane. Against a feisty Florida Gulf Coast squad, look for him and his teammates to give the Eagles a lesson in what it takes to be a truly elite program.


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