8 teams are left with a chance at winning March Madness. These players are heads and shoulders above the rest of the competition.
1. Drew Timme, Gonzaga
Mr. March Madness, Drew Timme holds the record for most 20-point games in NCAA Tournament history, and might be able to put that record out of reach if Gonzaga’s run continues. A dominant force down low, Timme is sneaky, deceiving, and plays with a will to win. He’s also been here before and knows what it takes to win in March.
2. Markquis Nowell, Kansas State
Markquis Nowell is box-office. The 5-7 guard from New York City broke the NCAA Tournament record with 19 assists in K State’s Sweet 16 win over Michigan State. What’s in store next for Nowell? Perhaps leading the Wildcats to their first Final Four since 1964.
3. Adama Sanogo, UConn
UConn’s success starts and ends with Adama Sanogo. While the Huskies have plenty of capable pieces around him, Sanogo is part of a two-headed matchup nightmare for anyone who dares to try and go inside the paint. Sanogo didn’t win the Big East Player of the Year, and he’s playing like a man on a mission to prove the voters wrong.
4. Isaiah Wong, Miami (Fla)
In today’s age of parity in college basketball, it’s rare to see teams make back-to-back Elite 8 runs. Isaiah Wong is the catalyst behind that success for the Miami Hurricanes. The ACC Player of the Year is one of the best pure scorers left in this tournament and seems to bring his game to another level when it matters most.
5. Marcus Carr, Texas
The Texas Longhorns might be the most loaded team in the Elite 8. Tyrese Hunter, Timmy Allen, Sir’Jabari Rice, Christian Bishop, and Dylan Disu are all stars in their own rights, but Marcus Carr is THE star. He’s and elite scorer, passer, and defender. If you plan on playing Marcus Carr, just know you’re in for a long night.
6. Ryan Kalkbrenner, Creighton
Two Big East teams are left in March Madness and both are anchored by their big men. For Creighton, it’s Ryan Kalkbrenner, who is just one of a handful of Bluejays players who can score in bunches. He separates himself on the defensive end, where the 7-footer averages 2.1 blocks per game.
7. Nijel Pack, Miami (Fla)
When it’s not Wong scoring the basketball, it’s probably coming from Pack. The Kansas State transfer has 25% of his former and current teams in March Madness, but is clearly one of the main options for the ‘Canes. Pack is one of the most lethal three-point shooters in the Big Dance.
8. Keyontae Johnson, Kansas State
The Keyontae Johnson story about collapsing on the court, being in a medically induced coma, and then coming back to form, if not better than before, can’t be overstated. He might only be 6-5, but Johnson plays much bigger and forces defenses to extend. The combo of Nowell and Johnson is arguably the most exciting to watch in the Elite 8.
9. Matt Bradley, San Diego State
One of the best two-way players in the Elite 8, Matt Bradley is built for the occasion. Literally. He’s 6-4 and 220 pounds and requires a certain type of player to muscle up and try to take him out of the game.
10. Jordan Hawkins, UConn
At the beginning of the season Dan Hurley said Jordan Hawkins could be a 1st-round draft pick. He might have been on to something. Hawkins is an NBA talent, with the smoothest jumper you’ll see on Saturday night. He’s a clear difference maker, giving UConn a go-to scorer paired with Sanogo’s inside presence.
11. Julian Strawther, Gonzaga
Julian “The Shot” Strawther hit THE shot of March Madness so far. His pull-up three gave Gonzaga the late lead to take down UCLA in overtime in the Sweet 16. But don’t think he’s just a one hit wonder. Strawther’s the second leading scorer on this Gonzaga team and hits 42.1% of his three-point attempts.
12. Johnell Davis, Florida Atlantic
Last but not least is no way to describe Johnell Davis. The FAU superstar plays like he’s the best player on the court every time he steps foot on it. If the Owls are to pull off a miraculous run to the Final Four, look no further than Davis to be the reason why.