NCAA Tournament 2014 Bracket: Predictions for Top Stars in Round of 64 Games

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NCAA Tournament 2014 Bracket: Predictions for Top Stars in Round of 64 Games
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The NCAA tournament officially begins Tuesday, and there will be plenty of star players to watch for once the round of 64 begins. 

While balanced teams can make the tournament without too much trouble, teams usually need a star player who can put the team on his back when needed, especially if they get into some trouble. 

There are a ton of talented young players in this year's tournament, so let's look at some predictions in the round of 64 for the nation's biggest stars.

 

Andrew Wiggins, Kansas Jayhawks

It may have taken him a little while longer to blow up than Kansas fans would have wanted, but star freshman Andrew Wiggins has finally shown up.

Without Joel Embiid, who hasn't been able to play since the beginning of March, Wiggins has put the team on his back. Over the past three games, he's been especially impressive, averaging 31 points per contest while shooting 50 percent from the floor. His career-best game came in a loss against the West Virginia Mountaineers, dropping 41 points and eight rebounds.

It looks like the Jayhawks will be without Embiid for a little bit longer, which means that Wiggins will have to continue to play at a high level. According to KUAthletics.com, Bill Self had this to say about Embiid's injury:

Based on that, this weekend (in the Big 12 Championship) is out. Next weekend, we feel like is a longshot, but the doctors are hopeful that if Joel works hard in rehab and progresses that it is possible that he could play in the later rounds of the NCAA Tournament if our team is fortunate enough to advance.

With the Eastern Kentucky Colonels allowing 70.6 points and opponents shooting 48.2 percent against them, Wiggins should have another big day to keep Kansas alive.

Prediction: 28 points, eight rebounds, three assists

 

Russ Smith, Louisville Cardinals

Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The defending national champions are having another terrific season with a 29-5 record, but the tournament committee gave them just a No. 4 seed in the Midwest Region. 

Senior guard Russ Smith will make sure to remind everyone just how good the Louisville Cardinals are in their matchup against Manhattan.

This has been a terrific season for Smith, who has put up 18.3 points, 4.7 assists, 3.4 rebounds and 2.1 steals per game. He had an especially big night in the AAC semifinals against Houston, scoring 42 points on 14-of-22 shooting.

The Jaspers had a strong season coming out of the MAAC, but Smith and the Cardinals should be able to handle them with ease. 

Prediction: 25 points, six assists, three steals

 

Jabari Parker, Duke Blue Devils

When it comes to stars in college basketball, there might not be a bigger one this season than Duke's Jabari Parker, who is dominating for the Blue Devils.

With 19.3 points and 8.8 rebounds per game, Parker has been one of the most productive players in college basketball all season. He's been especially hot over the past five games, averaging 22 points and eight rebounds per contest while shooting 47.6 percent.

The Mercer Bears may be coming out of the Atlantic Sun, but they're still a strong team, going 26-8 this year while holding opponents to just 40 percent shooting and 29.8 percent from behind the arc. That might make things a little more difficult for Parker, but given how well he's been playing lately, he should still be able to put up some pretty solid numbers.

Prediction: 19 points, 10 rebounds, two steals

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