2011 NCAA Tournament: 10 Sensational Seniors Ready to Blow Up March Madness
Reaching the NCAA tournament is an excellent feat in itself, but for these 10 seniors, their ultimate goal is to tame the Madness and win it all.
Playing the final games of their college careers, all the seniors participating in March Madness have one goal in mind, and by playing near flawless basketball, that goal is a real possibility.
So without further adieu, here are the 10 sensational seniors ready to blow up March Madness.
10. Dallas Lauderdale, Ohio State
While fellow big man Jared Sullinger gets all the publicity on the much-favored Ohio State Buckeye squad, 6’8”, 255-pound Dallas Lauderdale quietly had a solid season and expect that to transfer well to the tournament.
Although Lauderdale is not technically a starter, he is a force off the bench by shooting 72 percent from the field and is an intimidating figure in the paint.
He can rebound, block shots and more importantly, he has that underrated athleticism that bodes well for a sensational run through March Madness.
Lauderdale will be a big factor in helping OSU reach the Final Four this year.
9. Jacob Pullen, Kansas State
As a 6’0”, 195-pound senior, Jacob Pullen is the heart and soul of the Kansas State Wildcats scoring game.
Despite not looking very athletic and featuring one of the best beards in the college game, Pullen makes up for his lack of physical size by putting up great shots and going strong to the basket.
Poised for a surprisingly deep run in this year's tourney, Pullen will need to showcase his scoring abilities that led to a 19.5-point average season mark, while also pulling down three rebounds, four assists and two steals per game.
Pullen’s playmaking abilities will be in full force this year as he leads the No. 5 seed Wildcats deep into the Madness.
8. Matt Howard, Butler
Putting up an impressive 16.7 points per game while also averaging eight rebounds, Matt Howard will have a mounting battle ahead of him as he leads the eighth-seeded Butler Bulldogs into the NCAA tournament.
His skinny 6’8” frame for a power forward doesn’t bode well for his chances at the next level, but as a senior, it’s the championship game that's on his mind.
With some favorable matchups ahead of him, expect Howard to play his final games with incredible heart and aggressiveness.
7. Kyle Singler, Duke
Certainly living up to the lofty expectations of him coming out of high school, Duke’s power forward Kyle Singler is looking to repeat as national champs in his 2011 senior season.
Singler is an essential piece of the puzzle for Coach K’s offense and his solid 6’8”, 230-pound frame promises to have a huge impact in this year’s tourney.
Averaging over 17 points per game, Singler will be teamed up with fellow senior Nolan Smith in an explosive Duke offense that will promise to put on a show again this year in the tournament.
6. Brad Wanamaker, Pittsburgh
Arguably Pittsburgh’s best player, Brad Wanamaker will look to end his senior season with a bang.
Averaging 12 points, six rebounds and five assists per game, Wanamaker has developed a knack for finding an open teammate and has excelled at his perimeter game.
Leading the way for the winningest team in Pitt history, Wanamaker has emerged as a clutch shooter and can even thrown down the dunk a little bit too.
Wanamaker will want nothing less than to hoist the NABC Championship Trophy to conclude his career at Pitt and with this year's squad, that's looking like a real possibility.
5. JaJuan Johnson, Purdue
Enjoying a solid four-year career at Purdue, JaJuan Johnson is now poised to the lead the Boilermakers to what most experts believe will be a Final Four appearance.
Averaging 20.5 points per game and 2.3 blocked shots this season, Johnson was selected as both the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and the Big Ten Player of the Year.
Scoring in double figures in every game this season, expect much of the same from Johnson as he goes on to amaze fans this year in what will be his final NCAA tournament appearance.
4. Ben Hansbrough, Notre Dame
After transferring to Notre Dame for the final two seasons of his career from Mississippi State, Ben Hansbrough will now have a final opportunity to legitimize his Fighting Irish tenure.
In his senior season, Hansbrough put up a solid 18.5 points, four rebounds and 4.3 assists per game while succeeding to follow in the footsteps of his older brother Tyler Hansbrough.
A strong tournament run could solidify him as the better Hansbrough brother, so look for Ben to come out hot this March.
3. Nolan Smith, Duke
Stepping up to play a crucial role on the Blue Devil offense after Kyrie Irving went down early this season, Nolan Smith has solidified himself as one of the most phenomenal athletes to play under Coach K.
Putting up 21.3 points, five rebounds and five assists per game, Smith’s scoring ability is limitless when the ball is in his hands.
Standing at a rock-hard 6’3” with a great frame and even better length, Smith’s high basketball IQ coupled with his NBA-ready style of play will once again lead the Blue Devils deep into the tourney as he closes the book on his Duke career.
2. Chandler Parsons, Florida
The SEC Player of the Year and a projected first to second-round draft pick, Chandler Parsons will play a big part in UF’s game if they make it back to the Final Four.
Though his 6’10” frame doesn’t stand out amongst the crowd, his energy on the defensive side of the ball is what gets scouts looking.
Averaging close to eight rebounds per game and over 11 points, Parsons will be the catalyst in coach Billy Donovan’s run for another national championship.
1. Jimmer Fredette, BYU
Grabbing a hold of the country's obsession, sharpshooter Jimmer Fredette and BYU will capitalize on a No. 3 seeding with a deep run in the tournament.
His playmaking abilities are out of this world and the way he can carve up defenses is something the college game sees only once in a while.
As a senior shooting guard, Fredette relies on his ability to hit the open shot while averaging 28.5 points per game.
Jimmer-time is in full swing and expect Fredette and BYU to capitalize on their newfound fame.