NCAA Bracket 2011 Predictions: 10 Players Who Will Shock the World

Chris HawkinsContributor IIIMarch 15, 2011

NCAA Bracket 2011 Predictions: 10 Players Who Will Shock the World

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    Ah, let the madness begin. This is the time of year where many little known college athletes make a name for themselves by having a spectacular tournament. Every year in the NCAA tournament, there are players from lesser known or underdog programs who take the college basketball world by storm.

    Without further ado, here are this year’s most likely surprise players.

Kawhi Leonard (San Diego State Univerisity)

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    Leonard led the Aztecs to one of the quietest 32-win seasons in NCAA history. This sophomore combines length, athleticism and a high motor to beat his opponents.

    The Aztecs have Final Four potential, but Leonard will have to rise to the occasion. No doubt that he will.

Keith Benson(Oakland)

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    Perhaps the well-kept secret in college basketball. What rock has Keith been hiding under?

    This long, lanky 6’11" center combines effective low-post moves with a shooting touch from 15 to 18 feet.

    If you don’t know him now, you will by the end of the tournament.

Tai Wesley (Utah State)

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    This is an excellent time for the Utah State Aggies to be this year’s Cinderella, and Wesley will be the reason why. He isn’t very athletic, but he is a physical presence and protects the rim.

    Wesley will anchor the Aggies’ stingy defense.

Maalik Wayns (Villanova)

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    For Villanova to have a successful tournament, Wayns will have to play well and make the scoring load easier for Corey Fisher. Many people are counting the Wildcats out because of their recent slump. However, the Wildcats have a chance to use the tournament to break out of it.

    The play of Wayns will surprise many fans.

Ian Clark (Belmount Univeristy)

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    The Bruins field a very balanced team heading into the tournament. 11 players average more than 10 minutes a game.

    But, Clark is the lightning rod for this team. When he plays well, it energizes his teammates.

Shelvin Mack (Butler)

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    Gordon Hayward’s spectacular play overshadowed Mack for much of last season—he has a chance to make a name for himself as he is now the leader of this new Butler team.

    Mack’s deceptive quickness and shooting range will be key for the Bulldogs if they hope to return to the Final Four.

Scotty Hopson (Tennessee)

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    As Hopson goes, so do the Volunteers. He has been the primary scoring option this year and will have to stay consistent if his team is to have any chance in the tournament this year.

    After all, besides Hopson, this team doesn’t exactly field any spectacular athletes.

Taylor Battle (Penn State)

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    Penn State will only advance as far as Battles' scoring prowess will take them. For those people that haven’t received the chance to watch Battle, you all will be pleasantly surprised at how exciting his play is in the tournament.

Tu Hollaway (Xavier)

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    Much like last year’s Jordan Crawford, Hollaway is an undersized guard who can score in bunches.

    This Atlantic-10 player of the year will be a huge reason why Xavier advances deep into the tournament

Steven Gray (Gonzaga)

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    Gonzaga’s primary option isn’t the quickest or the most explosive player on the court. However, he combines skill with craftiness.  

    There is no doubt in my mind that Gray will raise his level of play in the tournament.