Five must-watch college basketball players to keep an eye on for March Madness
When the game is on the line and the stakes are the highest, someone needs to step forward and take the biggest shot. That will be especially true in the NCAA tournament when the pressure is the greatest and the rewards are the highest.
So who are the sport's top stars and elite players leading their respective teams as the season heads into the home stretch?
A look at five must-know names that could become stars in March:
Luka Garza. Iowa. A preseason national player of the year candidate following a remarkable junior campaign, the 6-11 big man continues to deliver — averaging 25.3 points and 8.5 rebounds as the centerpiece to a Final Four-capable Iowa squad made up of hot-shooting guards who support Garza.
Cade Cunningham, Oklahoma State. Projected to be the No. 1 pick in June's NBA draft, the 6-8 guard has been electric this season while elevating the Cowboys into the NCAA Tournament equation. Cunningham's averages — 18.7 points, 6.3 rebounds, 3.4 assists — are nice, but it's his ability to perform in the clutch that makes him a star who will be in the spotlight come March. Cunningham's step-back three-pointer in a Feb. 6 double-overtime win over Texas and his game-winner on Dec. 12 vs. Wichita State are two examples of his ability to come up big in crunch-time situations.
Hunter Dickinson, Michigan. Outside of Cunningham, one could make a case for an All-America first team made up of Big Ten players. The league has been that good. Dickinson is the go-to player on the conference's best team. The 7--1 freshman has averaged 15.1 points and 7.2 rebounds for the Wolverines (13-1) with the team well positioned to garner a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Ayo Dosunmu, Illinois. A preseason first-team All-America, Dosunmu has been living up to the hype and then some by averaging 21.2 points and 5.1 assists for the Illini (13-5). In a Feb. 6 win over Wisconsin, the junior guard had a triple-double — just the third in Illini history — with 21 points, 12 assists and 12 rebounds.
Corey Kispert, Gonzaga. The 6-7 senior wing has added leadership and experience to one of coach Mark Few's most well-rounded rosters. Kispert is averaging 19.5 points while shooting 57% from the floor for the undefeated Bulldogs, ranked first in the Ferris Mowers Coaches Poll.
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