Five Seniors Capable of Turning Mid-Majors Into Tournament Cinderellas

Ryan CallahanAnalyst IJanuary 2, 2009

Last season, we all witnessed Stephen Curry lead 10th-seeded Davidson to the Elite Eight. Obviously Curry will be back to help lead his team, but here are five other players from mid-majors who have the talent to lead their teams to upsets. These players all have the talent and leadership to lead their teams past the big conference schools.

1. Dionte Christmas, Temple

This sweet-shooting guard from Temple is averaging 20.1 points-per-game and 6.3 rebounds-per-game. Christmas took over for Temple in their biggest win of the season, an 88-72 victory over Tennessee. He scored 35 points, including 7-for-14 from three-point land.

However, Temple will need to win some key games in their conference schedule just to make the tournament. Luckily the A-10 looks pretty strong this season, with Xavier, Dayton, and Rhode Island all off to hot starts.


2. Eric Maynor, VCU

Maynor is averaging 23.3 points-per-game and 5.2 assists-per-game for the Rams this season. He comes through in the clutch and already led his team to an upset win in 2007 NCAA tournament, hitting the game-winning shot against Duke. VCU's biggest test so far this season has been Vanderbilt, where they lost by five points despite Maynor scoring 31.


3. Chavis Holmes, VMI

Chavis and his brother Travis have turned Virginia Military into one of the most exciting teams in college basketball. VMI opened up their season with an upset over Kentucky, and are off to a 10-2 start overall. Not known for playing spectacular defense, VMI's philosophy is shoot first, ask questions later.

Holmes is excelling, averaging 20.3 points-per-game and 3.6 steals-per-game. His brother Travis leads the nation in steals while Chavis is tied for third. VMI is the No. 1 team in points-per-game with 97.1.


4. Booker Woodfox, Creighton

Woodfox is one of the best three-point shooters in the country, evidenced by his 53 percent from behind the arc. He has led Creighton to a 12-2 start, including wins over DePaul, Dayton, and St. Joseph's. Woodfox is averaging 17.6 points-per-game and looks to lead the Bluejays back to the tournament.


5. Garrison Carr, American

The top player on the American team that made the tournament last season, Carr is averaging 17.7 points-per-game. I can guarantee that Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl does not want to play American again in the tournament, as Carr helped the Eagles keep it close until the Volunteers finally pulled away in the second half.