NCAA Tournament 2013: Players Who Must Shine for Underdogs in Sweet 16

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NCAA Tournament 2013: Players Who Must Shine for Underdogs in Sweet 16
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The Sweet 16 of the 2013 NCAA tournament begins on Thursday.

Given the upsets we have already witnessed during March Madness, you can't discount the underdogs, whether it be No. 15 seed Florida Gulf Coast or No. 12 seed Oregon.

Several players have boosted underdogs throughout the NCAA tournament. Without these players, it's going to be difficult for these teams to emerge victorious in the Sweet 16.

Here's a look at some players who must step up for their respective teams to advance to the Elite Eight.

All stats via ESPN.com and TeamRankings.com.


Ramon Galloway, G, La Salle

Jamie Squire/Getty Images

No. 13 seed La Salle will face a determined Wichita State team in the Sweet 16. The Shockers have found ways to score against Pittsburgh and Gonzaga in the NCAA tournament, with those teams shooting 35 and 36 percent respectively in those games.

Wichita State ranks 38th in the nation in opponents' field-goal percentage this season. The program has been even better in its last three games, holding opponents to 37.3 percent shooting.

With that in mind, La Salle's leading scorer, senior guard Ramon Galloway, must come to play in the Sweet 16. 

Galloway has the ability to change games, as he's shown in the past three contests. Dating back to the Atlantic 10 Championship Game, Galloway has posted a combined 64 points on 22-of-41 shooting. That includes going a combined 12-of-23 from beyond the arc.

It's going to be interesting to see if Wichita State can limit Galloway in the Sweet 16.

 

Damyean Dotson, G, Oregon

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Oregon faces a Louisville team in the Sweet 16 that ranks 20th in opponents' field-goal percentage this season. More specifically, the Cardinals rank second in defensive efficiency.

In that regard, freshman guard Damyean Dotson has to have the game of his life. What's more, he may have to do it against Louisville's best on-the-ball defender, Peyton Siva (2.3 steals per contest).

Dotson has been impressive as of late. He followed up a 17-point effort against Oklahoma State with a 23-point performance against Saint Louis in the round of 32. That's even more impressive considering both squads were strong defensively this season.

Perhaps more importantly, Dotson had zero turnovers against Saint Louis. If he can take care of the ball against Louisville's scrappy defense, Oregon has a much better chance of upsetting the Cardinals.

 

Sherwood Brown/Bernard Thompson, Florida Gulf Coast

Rob Carr/Getty Images

Which player will have the biggest game in the Sweet 16?

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Florida Gulf Coast's leading scorers, senior Sherwood Brown and sophomore Bernard Thompson, have been dialed in during March Madness.

They combined for 47 points against defensive powerhouse Georgetown in the round of 64, as well as combining for 40 points against San Diego State in the round of 32.

Florida Gulf Coast hasn't typically been a very effective defensive team this season (ranked 86th in opponents' field-goal percentage, 73rd in defensive efficiency), so the Eagles generally have to score plenty of points to emerge victorious.

That's going to be a tough task against No. 3 seed Florida, which ranks fourth in opponents' field-goal percentage and third in defensive efficiency.

Brown and Thompson will need to carry the Eagles if they are to shock the Gators.

It can be done. Just ask Ole Miss' Marshall Henderson.

 

Don't forget to print out your bracket and follow along with the live bracketFollow all the exciting NCAA tournament action with March Madness Live.

 
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