March Madness shows off the skills of some of the best players in the country, hailing from all different parts of the U.S.A. Guys like Johnny Juzang, Donte DiVincenzo, and Carsen Edwards have recently lit the NCAA’s biggest stage. The following will provide some insight into which players can match those efforts made by those in the past, if not surpass them.
Jaden Ivey (Purdue)
Purdue is a fantastic team with great depth, especially at the guard position. Ivey can have bad games, and Purdue can still dominate.
But they are a whole different monster when Ivey is on, and they’re virtually unbeatable when he’s turned up. Ivey can score 20 a game, and almost does, and he shoots the three-ball efficiently. He’s one of the most dangerous guards driving to the bucket, and his size allows him to finish over some of the country’s best big men.
He will be well-schooled after playing a Big 10 schedule for two straight years, and he will be on a mission to redeem Purdue from last season’s early March Madness exit.
Read about which players have the most to lose during 2022 March Madness.
Bennedict Mathurin (Arizona)
Mathurin is versatile at 6’5” and the clear top player on a successful Wildcats team. He can score and hit tough shots over the best defenders, and he’s also a fantastic rebounder. His ability to elevate over defenders and hit midrange combined with his threat to get to the bucket makes him almost impossible to stop. He’s shown his ability to put up multiple crazy games in a week, and he can do it in March too.
Justin Lewis (Marquette)
Lewis is the best player on the Golden Eagles, partnering with Maryland transfer guard Darryl Morsell. Lewis is the teams’ best rebounder at 6’7”, and he has ball-handling skills to run a break, catch lobs, and shoot the three. His threat level at all positions on the court opens up looks for his teammates who all can knock down shots. He’s done it against all the top teams in the Big East and more, and if Shaka Smart’s Marquette goes far, it’s going to be on the back of Justin Lewis.
JD Notae (Arkansas)
Arkansas is dependent on JD Notae to score. He doesn’t even have to be all that efficient, but he has to put the ball in the hoop. When Notae scores at a high level, the Razorbacks win. When he doesn’t they lose. It’s that simple. Notae did it during March Madness last year, and a year later, why can’t he do it again, but at a higher level?
Jaden Shackelford (Alabama)
On a team consisting of utter inconsistency, Shackelford brings a little bit of stability to the Crimson Tide. He’s their best scorer, and one of the best lefties in the country, which throws off defenders.
He’s an amazing three-point shooter, and even though he hasn’t shot the ball as well as he did last year, he can turn it on at any time. He has the ability to just take over a game with his shot or a pump fake-drive move. He’s athletic and just impossible to guard when he’s hot. Shackelford can carry games, and he can carry Alabama deep into the tournament.
Izaiah Brockington (Iowa State)
Brockington is really the only consistent scorer on a team who struggles to do just that, score. Their defense will always be solid, but when Brockington is hitting his shots, making tough ones close to the hoop, and fooling defenses with his clean left hand, it’s over for the opposition. Brockington has performed in big games this year, and the Penn State transfer guard could really be a hero for the surprising Cyclones.
Johnny Davis (Wisconsin)
Davis is a candidate and one of the favorites for the Wooden Award for a reason. The 6’5” guard is one of the best rebounding guards college basketball has ever had, to go along with pretty much 20 points every game. Even in games where it feels like he’s done nothing, he does it from the free-throw line and gets his points. Davis is hard to stop, and if you can’t stop Davis, you’re not beating Wisconsin.
Isaiah Mobley (USC)
Mobley is the team’s best scorer and best rebounder, and he plays virtually the entirety of every game for the Trojans. His ability to catch fire from deep at 6’10” is one of the reasons he’s so dangerous. His success opens up open shots for supporting players, of whom USC has many, that hit consistent jumpers. He can shut down opposing big men in the paint which only increases his value.
USC has some other great players, but without Mobley, their success would be nothing like it has been. If they’re going to make a March Madness run, the Trojans will need Mobley to be at his best.