B/R CBB Community: Who Do You Want Taking the Shot for All the Marbles?

Kerry Miller@@kerrancejamesCollege Basketball National AnalystJanuary 20, 2022

Duke's Paolo Banchero
Duke's Paolo BancheroBen McKeown/Associated Press

There's 10 seconds left on the clock.

You're down by just one point.

You've got the ball, and a spot in the Final Four hangs in the balance.

Dribble. Dribble. Dribble.

Pump fake.


"The crowd goes wild." (Making pretend audience noises into your cupped hands.)

It's a scenario that probably each and every one of us played out a billion times in the driveway / at the park when we were growing up, but now we want to know which current men's college basketball player you would want taking that win-or-go-home jumper.

We asked our B/R app users to let us know who they trust the most in a do-or-die situation.

These were the most popular responses.


Setting the Barcello High

BYU's Alex Barcello
BYU's Alex BarcelloYoung Kwak/Associated Press

@donavans_agent / @nrh4 / @jeffreyhavens: Alex Barcello

Gotta say, I was not expecting someone from BYU to be the most popular/liked answer.

But I get it.

After shooting 29.7 percent from three-point range in his first two seasons with Arizona, Alex Barcello transferred to BYU and became a bona fide sniper. In his three-season career with the Cougars, Barcello has made 48.0 percent of his 323 three-point attempts.

Per Sports Reference, the only player in the past three decades to attempt at least 300 three-pointers and make at least 48 percent of them in his collegiate career was William & Mary's Connor Burchfield. So, his three-point accuracy with the Cougars has been darn near unprecedented.

Here's the thing, though: We don't need a trey.

If it was a "down by three and need to force overtime" scenario, sure thing, give me Barcello. Not only is he lights-out from distance, but he's a career 86.8 percent free-throw shooter, as well, in case the opponent is smart and gives the foul before he can get off a potential dagger.

However, when you only need a deuce for the win, a guy with a career 48.1 field-goal percentage just isn't that intriguing. Plus, he was in basically this exact situation a month ago against Vanderbilt and missed not once, but twice on game-tying attempts in the paint in the final 10 seconds.


Mashed Potatoes and Grady

Kentucky's Kellan Grady
Kentucky's Kellan GradyMichael Clubb/Associated Press

@Wilding1690: Kellen Grady for sure. Count it!

@Blublood72 / @blake_cummins / @RavenNation20 / @CURRYKNOWSBEST12: Kellen Grady

@jbmendy5: Kellan Grady

First of all, shout out to @jbmendy5 for being the only one who knows how to spell Kellan Grady's first name. I understand football fans are probably accustomed to "Kellen" as in Winslow, Moore and Mond, but come on, gang. If you're trusting him with your season on the line, at least put some respect on his first name.

That said, the case both for and against Grady is similar to that of Barcello.

Grady entered Wednesday night's game against Texas A&M as a 46.2 percent three-point shooter this season. Any time Kentucky needs a triple, he's clearly Plan A.

But after four years as more of an all-around scorer with Davidson, Grady has essentially become a three-point specialist in Lexington. He's only averaging 2.4 two-point attempts and 1.1 free-throw attempts per game in 2021-22. So if he's got the ball with the clock winding down, the defense is going all out to defend the perimeter.

Kentucky hasn't played in any games decided by fewer than four points yet this season, but it seems like a safe assumption that John Calipari would be drawing up something for TyTy Washington with Oscar Tshiebwe in position for a possible game-winning put-back bucket.

And, yes, TyTy is near the top of the list of guys I would want in this situation. Kentucky is unusually loaded with veterans this season, but the freshman sensation has been awesome the past few weeks.


Heeeeeeeere's Johnny

Wisconsin's Johnny Davis
Wisconsin's Johnny DavisAndy Manis/Associated Press

@snides2456 / @Skinny_Ryan: Johnny Davis

I was surprised there weren't more nominations for Wisconsin's Johnny Davis, considering he would be a no-brainer first-team All-American—if not the unanimous National Player of the Year—if the season ended today.

In fairness, Davis' shooting percentages are decidedly not great. I mean, 47.2 percent inside the arc and 36.2 percent beyond it aren't lights-out figures.

But if you're picking Davis, it's because you realize he's a volume scorer and that repetitions late in close games throughout the season are arguably more important than year-to-date shooting percentages in this situation.

Davis was Captain Clutch in the second half of wins (all away from home) over Purdue, Houston and Northwestern. He was also indispensable in victories over the likes of Iowa, Indiana, Saint Mary's and Marquette.

Though there has not yet been a situation where Wisconsin needed him to hit a last-second shot to turn a deficit into a lead, there are not many players in the country I would rather have bringing the ball up the court if I desperately needed a bucket to stay alive in the NCAA tournament.


The Nation's Leading Scorer

Iowa's Keegan Murray
Iowa's Keegan MurrayCharlie Neibergall/Associated Press

@sallen7 / @MitchCumstein6: Keegan Murray

Though Iowa went to Joe Toussaint earlier this season against Virginia when it was in this exact situation, it's pretty hard to argue with Keegan Murray.

Murray did struggle a wee bit back in early December. He missed the game against Purdue with an ankle injury and wasn't his normal dominant self in the subsequent games against Illinois and Iowa State. But even with those games included, Murray is leading the nation in scoring at 23.9 points per game.

And he can beat you in a wide variety of ways, shooting 68.7 percent inside the arc, 36.2 percent beyond it and 77.5 percent from the free-throw line. If Iowa gets him the ball on the wing and clears out to let him go to work, he's going to score more often than not.

My one concern with Murray is he's a bit of a black hole as far as ball movement is concerned. He entered Wednesday night's game against Rutgers without so much as one assist in any of his previous three games, which means the opposition can double him without much fear of a pass. But he has been so doggone lethal this season that he's probably going to score through the double team anyway.


The Banchero Is Open

Duke's Paolo Banchero
Duke's Paolo BancheroMark Wallheiser/Associated Press

@Yomama223 / @Dominator_024: Paolo Banchero

In my humble opinion, this is the correct answer, and it is beyond mystifying that Duke didn't draw up something for Banchero in the closing seconds of recent losses to Miami and Florida State. (Far be it from us to question a coach with five national championships, but, seriously, what the heck? Feed Banchero!)

Sometimes he can be a bit too passive on offense, and he did get pushed around a good bit in the first 32 minutes by a big, physical Seminoles team on Tuesday night.

But when he wants to be, Banchero is the most unguardable player in the country, which is why he's probably going to be the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft in a few months.

At 6'10", 250 lbs. with good ball-handling, solid three-point range and the ability to pull up on a dime, there just are not many players capable of shutting Banchero down. His NBA-ready game is exactly what you want in this scenario.

North Carolina's Leaky Black might be the best defensive player in the country, so it will be fun to see what he can do with Banchero in those rivalry games. But if it comes down to Banchero vs. Black at the buzzer in either game, I like the Blue Devils' chances.


Kerry Miller covers men's college basketball and college football for Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter: @kerrancejames.