The flash and flair on the outside draw most of the attention and praise. But without the beef and brawn inside, most college basketball teams will fail to make it big in the absence of bigs.
The college big man continues to be a necessary commodity in today's game, with power forwards and centers remaining as important to a balanced lineup as any other position. Their ability to take up space, cover the boards, alter shots and provide key scoring inside is essential to success, as the results from nearly every NCAA tournament will show you.
The 2014 Final Four saw four teams (Connecticut, Florida, Kentucky and Wisconsin) who each had at least one major player working down on the blocks. While the Huskies' national championship was credited mostly to the backcourt play of Shabazz Napier, that might not have happened without DeAndre Daniels. And Kentucky's late push to the title game was as much due to the Wildcats' stable of interior threats as to their clutch outside shooting.
Looking ahead to the 2014-15 season, big men will once again play significant roles in their teams' game plans. Here's our prediction of which ones will be the best of the beasts.