In case you live under a rock, do not have a television or computer, by now you know that the brackets for the NCAA College Basketball Tournament were unveiled Sunday night.
March Madness takes on a life of its own, and a lot like the Super Bowl, folks from all walks of life fill out brackets. One thing people should take into account when picking winners and losers is, identify teams with the best guards. The NCAA Tournament is also known as a “guards tournament”, because in many ways, guard’s play rules the day. Announcers and prognosticators from channel to channel and website to website point it out, and I happen to agree, as a fan and as a coach. There is no better sight as an avid college hoop fan than a guard breaking his man down and getting to the basket for a score or to set his teammate up for an easy basket. As a coach, knowing the ball is in the capable hands of your trusted guard is a great thing. With these ideas in mind, I thought I would take a trip through the four regions and highlight some of the better guards you will be seeing over the next few weeks.
SOUTH – #1 seed Kansas has three guards that can affect the game on both sides in a positive way in Devonte Graham, Frank Mason, and Wayne Selden. Peter Jok, from Iowa is a long two-guard who scores in all ways, and Wichita State’s Fred Van Vleet is a treat to watch. For my money, I’ll take Maryland’s Melo Trimble in a big game. He is a blur in red, and his ability to get to the rim with ease and bury deep jump shots is a lethal combination.
WEST – The soon to be named John Wooden Award winner (the best college player in the country), Oklahoma’s Buddy Hield is in this section, as are Duke sophomore Grayson Allen, and shot maker Danuel House of Texas A&M. However, I want you to watch for Northern Iowa’s Wes Washpun. The guy has crazy hops (that means he jumps high), gets buckets, and his teammates involved.
EAST – This region is LOADED with awesome guards! First we have my guy, Kris Dunn of Providence, who will be a top 10 NBA selection in a few months. Then there is UNC’s Marcus Paige, who has struggled some in his senior campaign, Demetrius Jackson from Notre Dame, and Kentucky’s dynamic duo of Tyler Ulis and Jamal Murray are dangerous with a capitol D. But there is also a little guy from Indiana that will rip your heart out if you let him. Hoosiers senior point guard Yogi Ferrell is small in stature, but tall in talent and accomplishments.
MIDWEST – The best player in this region is Virginia guard Malcolm Brogdon. There is nothing cavalier about how the ACC’s player-of-the-year handles his business on the court. This guy is a no-nonsense, textbook two-way player. Iowa State’s Monte Morris hails from Flint, Michigan, and is as tough as that city is, and Dayton’s Scoochie Smith has the best combination of handle and name. Yet by far, the hottest guard from this side of the bracket coming into the big dance is Seton Hall sophomore, Isaiah Whitehead. The wrecking ball of a shooting guard is playing with a chip on his shoulder and he is bringing the Pirates along for the ride. Yes, the Hall is a deep team, but without Whitehead consistently ringing the bell, they won’t go as far as they should.
And that is My 2 Sense for this week. Enjoy the games gang!