March Madness 2010: Ranking the Top 10 Tournament Teams By NBA Prospects
There are many different thoughts that run through the minds of rabid college basketball fans while filling out their tournament brackets.
The one common theme is that the more talented the team, the better off they should be in the tournament. NBA prospects are born each March during the tournament and most of the talented players tend to be on the better teams.
Many people believe it will take one to two NBA caliber players to win it all at the end of the season. History tends to support that statement. Whether it be the Fab 5 with Chris Webber and Jalen Rose or the Syracuse Orangemen with Carmelo Anthony and Hakim Warrick, talent is necessary to win the championship along with great coaching.
This March will be no different and we will have a pool of teams that contain as much talent as any tournament from the past. There are individual players who are shoe-ins for the NBA draft such as Ohio State's Evan Turner and Syracuse's Wesley Johnson, but do they have another player on the team that can make the same big plays that these stars are able to and help support their team?
Will the teams with the two or three stars such as Kentucky, Duke, and Kansas reign supreme over the field of 64? NBA prospects will be looking to make a name for themselves in the tournament and trying to increase their draft stock—and if they do play to their high expectations it could prove to make the road to the championship that much harder for the less talented teams.
Let's take a look at the top 10 tournament teams with the most NBA-ready talent and break down what gives their teams the slight edge over the rest of the pack.
10. Tennessee Volunteers
The Tennessee Volunteers have a nice variety of talent on their team.
It still needs to be seen if this will turn into NBA type talent, but two players jump out at me when looking at the Volunteers starting five: Wayne Chism and Scotty Hopson.
Both players have tremendous upside. Chism has an incredible work ethic and has developed a very nice outside jump shot that will have most teams in the tournament scrambling to defend. Chism also is a very good defensive player.
Hopson is only a sophomore, but has shown amazing upside and a very wide variety of athletic ability. He is able to beat his man off the dribble with great speed and can create his own shot. He has the ability to knock down the three, but can play above the rim if need be.
Bobby Maze and J.P. Prince are also very athletic for the Volunteers and although they may not find themselves playing in the NBA like I believe Chism and Hopson will, these two will be a huge factor in determining how deep the Volunteers can run in the tournament.
9. Syracuse Orangemen
Nobody in the country is happier with the way his team is playing than Jim Boeheim.
He has one of college basketball's best players in Wesley Johnson who happens to be one of the greatest transfers in the history of the game. Johnson posseses every ability you need at the next level to be successful. Now the only question is, who is the other NBA prospect that is playing for the Orangemen this season?
Kris Joesph will be a name many NBA scouts will want to watch for. He is only a sophomore and is averaging 11 points and five rebounds a game this season. His height and length are a great asset to his game. His numbers will most likely increase as he gains experience. This duo will need to perform well in the tournament if Syracuse will be doing any damage in the big dance.
8. Purdue Boilermakers
The Boilermakers took a huge hit losing Robbie Hummel for the rest of the season.
Nonetheless they still have E'Twaun Moore and JaJuan Johnson. Both players have great draft stock. Moore is one of the best guards in the country and JaJuan Johnson could be an answer down low that makes Purdue a very dangerous team come tournament time.
Even without Hummel the Boilermakers will be tough to knock off. The best thing about both Moore and Johnson is that they are both juniors which means that there is another whole season for them to increase their draft potential.
7. Kansas State Wildcats
Kansas State has two of the best guards in the country in Denis Clemente and Jacob Pullen. Pullen is only a junior, but will have the opportunity to enter the NBA draft.
Both guards will need to be successful in the tournament for Kansas State to have any luck at reaching the Final Four. K-State may have two of the best guards in the country, but they are not very deep which could hurt their chances. Either way this is going to be one of my favorite teams to watch during the tournament because of Pullen and Clemente.
6. Ohio State Buckeyes
Thad Matta has established himself as one of the best recruiters in the country.
He now has who I would give my vote for Player of the Year to in Evan Turner and will be looking for this star-studded player to lead them deep into the tournament.
Turner has shown his capability to take over games on his own and will fight for a chance to be the first pick in this year's NBA draft. I find it very difficult to see Turner returning to Columbus for his senior season.
The other NBA type talent playing for the Buckeyes is William Buford. Buford is only a sophomore, but has showcased skills that NBA scouts are drooling over. He has a very athletic build and needs a little work on his jump shot, but once that is developed, don't be surprised if he turns into a player that resembles Evan Turner. The Buckeyes also are not very deep, but whenever you have the best player in the country, anything is possible in March.
5. Michigan State Spartans
Michigan State has a very deep team which is full of talent. Kalin Lucas and Raymar Morgan have both been great for Michigan State down the stretch and they have the experience to help make a run in the tournament.
Morgan was a very highly-touted recruit coming out of high school, but has been very inconsistent with the Spartans and injury problems have held him back from his full potential. Durrell Summers and Draymond Green are also both very important to the Spartans' success.
4. Georgetown Hoyas
When analyzing a team by straight NBA talent, the Georgetown Hoyas have it.
Although they haven't put it together as a team, the Hoyas have a lot of straight up talent. Austin Freeman and Greg Monroe should be very high NBA picks in their own right and playing in the Big East and against its talent makes them even better. Chris Wright is a major force for the Hoyas and if they are able to start playing better as a team in the tournament then they will be a very dangerous team to play.
3. Duke Blue Devils
The Blue Devils don't have the deepest pool of NBA talent, but they definitely have three players which possess top talent.
Nolan Smith, Jon Scheyer, and Kyle Singler are all big time players for the Blue Devils and all three will be found on an NBA roster when their college careers are over.
All three players average double digits in points per game. These three players have been the reason for Duke's success not only this year, but last year as well. Scheyer will most likely turn out to be a J.J. Redick type player in the NBA, but the other two have the chance to be big names depending on the team they play for and how hard they work.
2. Kansas Jayhawks
The top two teams were difficult to choose between.
Both have an abundance of talent and many players will be big names for the next couple of years before going to play NBA ball.
The Jayhawks are most people's favorite to win the NCAA tournament and the reason for that is the skill of Cole Aldrich, Sherron Collins, and Xavier Henry. No one knows if Henry is going to be a one and done or if he even had a good enough season to be one.
What we do know is that he flashed some of his brilliance throughout the season and has the skill set to be a very good player at the next level. He has to grow and mature a little bit as a player though before he reaches that star status.
Aldrich and Collins will both be playing in the NBA next season. There is no doubt about that. Collins is a born leader and Aldrich is a big body that will make any GM's job a lot easier if he is playing for your team.
1. Kentucky Wildcats
Imagine if Jodie Meeks would have stayed! The Wildcats have the most depth out of any team and with that, the most NBA depth.
Whether it be the freshmen—John Wall, Eric Bledsoe and DeMarcus Cousins—or junior Patrick Patterson, the Wildcats are loaded. All four have the potential to be NBA lottery picks by the time their college careers comes to an end.
These NBA prospects have college basketball fans waiting to see exactly what they have to offer on the grand stage in the NCAA Tournament. It is time to see if skill and athleticism outweighs experience. If it does, there should be no way the 'Cats lose in the tourney.