Though we here at TDN are all huge fans of the NFL Draft, that doesn't mean our fandom and enjoyment of sports don't go beyond football, at times. And with that said, you better believe that all of us -- well, not quite all of us, I'll let you figure out who -- look forward to the end of March for one big reason.
Playoffs in each respective sport can have some big-time drama, but I would say the only thing that comes close to the NFL Draft in terms of excitement, pandemonium and outright chaos is the first round of the NCAA tournament. I mean, even the concept itself is crazy. 64 teams set up to play all of the games in a tournament-style within three weeks, one loss and you're out, winner takes all. There's bound to be some excitement with a formula like that.
As I filled out my bracket this year, I found myself weighing characteristics of teams and what they do best as to determine how far they would go. Some win with size and speed, others with experience and coaching; some are defensively focused, and others are all about a faster pace and scoring points. As I went through the teams, trying to envision which would be better than the others, I naturally started to think of draft prospects that share similar characteristics or "ways of winning". As I let my mind expound upon that, I started to think "this team reminds me of Parris Campbell" and "that team reminds me of Brian Burns."
And once my mind starts going on something like that, it can't stop.
The result is what you'll read below. 68 draft prospects linked to all 68 teams in the NCAA tournament. This isn't necessarily the four best prospects in the draft as the four No. 1 seeds -- it's different. What I did is I tried to link every team with a prospect that shared their characteristics. I kept the seeding the same, so that sometimes there are Top 10 prospects who are representing teams with higher seeds just because they have similar DNA in how they win.
It was a fun (and very long) exercise to write, but I hope you all enjoy the read. I'll be keeping up with this bracket throughout the tournament, and at the end we'll see which prospect(s) best represent the Final Four and ultimately the national champion.
Duke (1): Nick Bosa
The first one is an easy one. Nick Bosa is the closest thing to Zion Williamson we have in the draft class. Both guys dominate every team they play with size, speed and skill. Both are one-of-a-kind, and are key pieces for championships in each of their sport. I wonder how good both would be if they switch places…
Experience, size and high basketball IQ is how NCC gets it done, and due to the fact that they run everything through their big man Raasean Davis, I think LSU tight end Foster Moreau fits this bill as a smooth senior pass catcher. As for NDSU, they generally don’t have a go-to scorer, rather boasting mid-level game all-around. That’s sort of like Rypien, to me. He’s a guy who doesn’t have the best arm but he can make it work – sometimes.
VCU (8): Juan Thornhill
UCF (9): Jaylen Ferguson
Thornhill being paired with VCU comes from the fact that the VCU Rams have a tradition of being a defensive-based team that wins by forcing turnovers. With six interceptions this past season and 13 career picks, Thornhill bases his game and his success off turnover as well – the football kind, not the pie, although maybe.
As for UCF and Jaylon Ferguson, the Knights’ senior guard B.J. Taylor is the unquestioned leader and producer for them at a non-Power 5. He, like the All-Time NCAA sack leader Ferguson, has played at an all-conference level for three years now and accumulated some big time stats for UCF along the way.
Miss St. (5): Miles Sanders
Liberty (12): Taylor Rapp
The MSU Bulldogs go into the tournament with a top 20 offense in the nation. Meanwhile, Miles Sanders was top 25 in both rushing yards per game (98.00) and total rushing yards on the season (1,274) for Penn State’s football program. But for both Mississippi State and Sanders, their Achilles heel (shout out the movie Troy), if you will, are their turnovers. Sanders was third in the country with four fumbles lost in 2018, and MSU’s past three losses came with a combined 46 turnovers. Can’t score if you don’t have the ball… unless…
To me, Rapp’s top characteristic is his football intelligence and his all-around game. I wouldn’t say he’s elite in any area, other than maybe tackling, I mean the dude’s a human bear trap when he gets his arms around you. Anyways, he’s balanced as a prospect, and that’s Liberty’s team identity, too; one led by Scottie James. They present a well-round team both offensively and defensively. But can they trap bears? That’s what March is for.
Va Tech. (4): Rodney Anderson
St. Louis (13): Daniel Wise
When Virginia Tech is healthy, they are one of the best best teams in the country; when Rodney Anderson is healthy, he is one of the best backs in the country. The parallels between Justin Robinson’s injury/skill level for the Hokies (who is back for the tournament) is on par with what Anderson brings as a prospect, when healthy. Turn off the injury setting and watch them cook.
The St. Louis Billikens (I don’t know what a Billiken is either) came into the A-10 tournament as the six seed, but thanks to a great run down the stretch where they left their best basketball for last, they’re in the big dance after claiming the conference championship on a hot streak. Daniel Wise didn’t claim a conference championship, but he did end his season with a strong 3-sack performance, and then took that momentum into Shrine Week where he really stood out amongst the rest. Both are riding hot streaks into March.
Maryland (6): Chauncey Gardner-Johnson
Mayland finished in the top five in both offensive and defensive overall categories in the Big Ten conference. That shows to their versatility. Much like Maryland, in that regard, Chauncey Gardner-Johnson can play almost any spot at defensive back with good tape at free safety, strong safety and even nickel cornerback. But the Terps also have a negative side to their coin, as turnovers have hurt them on multiple occasions. CGJ might not have a turnover problem, but he does sometimes have a tackling problem. Both can be costly for each, but the good often outweighs the bad.
Belmont is the small school team that absolutely no Power 5 team wants to play, and the same narrative can be held by Renfrow, who no defensive back in the country wants to guard. For Temple, they have a three-headed guard attack, much like Miami did at defensive back with the likes of Michael Jackson, Jaquan Johnson and Sheldrick Redwine. But where there was hype for both trios to start the year, it has since cooled near the end of it.
LSU (3): D.K. Metcalf
Yale (14): Nasir Adderley
The LSU-Metcalf correlation has a few layers. One being the fact that both are about as talented as any when they’re firing on all cylinders. The other is the fact that Ole Miss wasn’t eligible for the post season this year because of cheating and LSU’s head coach will also not be coaching during their postseason because of cheating. Whoops.
As for Yale and Adderley, after losing to Duke early in the season, Blue Devil coach Mike Krzyzewski said Yale’s guard Miye Oni “will be a first round pick.” That same praise for a small school player could be given to Adderley. Not by Kryzyewski, though, he probably doesn’t know who Adderley is.
Louisville (7): Jerry Tillery
Minnesota (10): Deebo Samuel
Louisville is one of the most inconsistent teams in the tournament. When they’re at their best, they have the talent to hang with anyone, as was evident by their wins over UNC, Virginia Tech and Michigan State. But they also have a massive collapse to Duke (LOL), plus losses to Boston College and Pittsburgh on their resume. Tillery is that kind of guy with all the talent in the world, but the impact of that talent can disappear, at times.
Minnesota boasts a dynamic duo with Jordan Murphy and Amir Coffey, who can both get hot on offense and carry the team on any night. I likened that to the receiving duo of Deebo Samuel and Bryan Edwards at South Carolina, with Deebo being more like Coffey, who averaged 29 point over the Golden Gophers last three games.
Michigan State (2): Christian Wilkins
Bradley (15): Tyree Jackson
I compare Christian Wilkins to the impact and rise of Spartans point guard Cassius Winston. When MSU needed him most, Winston elevated his game to a status most didn’t see coming. He also led Michigan State to become one of the steadiest teams in the country with top passing efficiency and assist stats. Wilkins has done the same for Clemson. He took his game to a whole new level in 2018, and his willingness to be a great teammate helped elevate the Tigers to a title last season.
The only way Bradley (not you, Brad Kelly, the other Bradley. Not, not you Bradley Cooper. No, not you Bradley Beal. Ok, I’m done with y’all), stands a chance in this tournament is with the long ball, as they made 39 percent of their 3-pointers to win the Patriot League title. The same can be said for Jackson. If he’s going to beat you in any way early on in the NFL, it’s going to be with his powerful arm down the field. Stop that and you’ll stop Jackson; the same for Bradley and their 3-pointers.
Gonzaga (1): Byron Murphy
It always feels like Gonzaga never gets the love it deserves, doesn’t it? I mean, even this year, after garnering a No. 1 seed, people can’t wait to pick against them in the Sweet Sixteen or Elite Eight. I feel as though due to the location in which he plays, Huskies cornerback Byron Murphy gets that same treatment. Both Gonzaga and Murphy are top-tier and can represent the West well.
Within their system, FDU can really control teams. They have double digit scorers everywhere, but no one dynamic in one area. To me, that’s what Stidham was at Auburn. Inside structure he could play some ball, but outside of the ideal and he fell apart, much like FDU does. Prairie View is third in the country in forcing turnovers (18.24 per game), so though they don’t score a lot, but they make sure you score less. At cornerback for Vanderblt, Williams had four interceptions and 17 passes defended in 2018. He definitely fits PVA&M’s defensive mold.
Syracuse (8): Garrett Bradbury
Baylor (9): Will Grier
Syracuse lives and dies by their zone scheme, especially without Tyus Battle, who missed the entire ACC tournament with a back injury. Garrett Bradbury is the best zone blocking offensive lineman in this draft. I think Bradbury is a better prospect than I think Syracuse has a chance to win, but the zone characteristic was too perfect.
Baylor’s big difference maker in the tournament is shaping up to be a transfer by the name of Makai Mason. Will Grier, as a transfer player himself, carried that same kind of weight to his game at WVU this past season. Baylor is super and hot and cold (shout out Katy Perry) as far as their offense goes, and that lines up will with what Grier was to the Mountaineers, too.
Marquette (5): Kyler Murray
Murray State (12): Ed Oliver
This is without a doubt my favorite matchup of this bracket in the opening round.
Murray is obviously Marcus Howard. Howard, who stands only about 5-foot-11, is certainly short for a basketball player, so that narrative fits. But Howard is also capable of drop 40 points on anyone at any point. Howard is so good at moving the ball and scoring that he elevates those around him. That size and skill profile matches Murray perfectly.
As for their opponent, Ja Morant is one of the best basketball players in this tournament, and as a guy who blossomed this season into a consensus Top 5 player, he matches up with Oliver’s billing well. Morant does most of his work alone, but it works. That’s the case with Oliver. Both have been getting theirs at will for as long as they’ve played at their schools – and both will see that translate to the next level.
Florida State (4): Greedy Williams
Vermont (13): Zack Allen
Florida State is full of athletes. They have the size and speed to be a defensive nightmare for almost any team in the tournament. But they ultimately live and die by their offense, as their losses have come from an inability to put the ball in the basket. The size and skill profile for FSU lines up well with Greedy Williams, who has it all from a traits standpoint. But does he go on the offensive (tackling, run support, extra effort) well enough to dominate the way he should?
Vermont relies heavily on their defense to get things done, and that makes Allen’s name a natural fit on that side of the ball. What makes this a match is that both Allen and Vermont senior Ernie Davis use experience and consistency to get things done.
Buffalo (6): Marquise Brown
First of all, Buffalo’s head coach Nate Oats being one of the most coveted young coaches in the country run perfect with Lincoln Riley at Oklahoma. Both guys will be sought after by higher levels. The Buffalo Bulls also play the ninth fastest pace in the country and can score in bunches. They will put up threes and run the floor fast, and that makes them an easy link to one of the fastest players in college football last year, Sooners wide receiver Marquise Brown.
Joseph is one of the youngest players in the draft class, which lines up with ASU freshman Luguentz Dort, who leads this team. But just like the Sun Devils give up way too many shots on defense, Joseph gives up too much in coverage. As for St. John’s, they shouldn’t even be in the tournament tbqh. They started the season off 12-0, but have since really fallen off, and don’t even have a Top 100 defense. Greg Little, after appearing in the Top 5 in some way-too-early mock drafts, still showing up in the first round based on what happened months ago.
Texas Tech (3): Clelin Ferrell
Northern Kentucky (14): Dalton Risner
Texas Texas and Clemson share a similar long list of accolades from the 2018 season. Tech boasted the best defense in the country, as did the Clemson Tigers. Jarrett Culver for the Red Raider turned himself into a lottery pick for his performance this season, and I think Ferrell did the same but for the Top 20 in the NFL Draft. Ferrell and Clemson are a good comp for what the Red Raiders represent – a championship caliber team.
NKU’s Drew McDonald is a “do-everything” player for the Norse squad, and his versatility allows his team to stay balanced against any opponent. Such is also the case with Kansas State offensive lineman Dalton Risner, who has been about as versatile of an offensive lineman as they come in college football over the past few years.
Nevada (7): Drue Tranquill
Florida (10): Deionte Thompson
Nevada is the second-most experienced team in the tournament, age wise, and what they do well with their experience also lines up to Tranquill’s long football journey. A combination of injury history and yet experienced talent speaks to who Tranquill is a prospect going into the NFL. That also represents the good and bad with Nevada.
All the talent needed to compete at the highest level, but blunders in coaching, timing and execution have made Florida a lower seed than most would’ve thought going into the year. The same can be said about Thompson. Both have had big moments in big games, and yet head scratching steps backwards in between them. Florida is best when they’re forcing turnovers, and the same can be said about Thompson, whose best games in 2017 and at the beginning of 2018 came when he was making an impact on the ball.
Michigan (2): N’Keal Harry
Montana (15): D’Cota Dixon
Michigan is a team of big wing players who can stretch the floor and score from all angles. To me, that’s N’Keal Harry, who is a strong, fast and talented wide out who can win vertically and horizontally from the outside and in the slot. Harry’s threat to score at anytime is reminiscent of Michigan when they’re rolling.
Montana’s team is described as one that is smaller in size but rich with veteran, experienced players – they try to out-smart and out-organize their opponents rather than out-athlete them. If that doesn’t describe the 5-foot-9, fifth-year senior safety D’Cota Dixon I don’t know what does.
Virginia (1): Quinnen Williams
Gardner-Webb (16): Khalen Saunders
Simply put, Virginia’s defense is consistently suffocating, and there is no other player in the country who played defense at a level worth of Virginia’s in college football week-in and week-out like Quinnen Williams. As the Cavaliers are one of the best teams in the nation, so is Williams for the NFL Draft.
Gardner-Webb is in the NCAA tournament for the first time, and Saunders is trying to become the first Western Illinois player drafted in the Top 60 since 1962. Both will be trying to bring glory to their respective small school, but both are also at their points for a reason – they’ve had success.
Ole Miss (8): Trayveon Williams
Oklahoma (9): Jaylen Smith
Anytime experts use the phrase “he’ll need to be Shabazz Napier-esque” for a team to advance, you know you have a lot on your plate. That’s the case with Ole Miss and their scoring leader Breein Tyree. The emphasis Tyree can have on the Rebels’ outcome reminds me of the dynamic Trayveon Williams from A&M, who, when he was at his best, propelled the Aggies to wins over teams like Kentucky and LSU.
Oklahoma is trying to get over life after Trae Young much like Louisville tried to make the best of life after Lamar Jackson. It hasn’t worked out very well for Oklahoma, as they were the second-worst offense in the Big 12. It hasn’t worked out for Louisville, either, as they went from scoring 37 points per game in 2017 to just 14 points per game in 2018. Jaylen Smith represents the best of the Louisville situation.
Wisconsin (5): Montez Sweat
Oregon (12): Blake Cashman
Ethan Happ could have very well left for the NBA last year, but he decided to stay for his senior season. His situation reminded me of that of Montez Sweat, who could have left for the NFL Draft after a 10.5 sack season in 2017, but came back for another year and bested that in 2018. Can Happ do the same in the end for Wisconsin?
The biggest similarity here is that I cannot help myself comparing Minnesota linebacker Blake Cashman to Oregon point guy Payton Pritchard. Both are guys that don’t pass the eye test, if you will, right off the bat, but both are two of the best at what they do when they lace ‘em up – and they impact the game more than you thought they would in warm ups.
Kansas State (4): JJ Arcega-Whiteside
UC Irvine (13): Chase Winovich
Kansas state is talented, but their main player, Dean Wade, is hurt yet again going into the tournament, just like he was last year. Such a situation reminds me of wide receiver Arcega-Whiteside’s 2018 season with Stanford. JJAW had some stellar tape, when healthy, as did KSU by sharing the Big 12 title, but you can only go as far as your best players are healthy most of the time. The Wildcats made up for it last year, can they do it again?
A great defense and a slow, controlled pace of play is what led to UC Irvine eclipsing the 30-win mark this season. Does a strong defense and a slow pace of play sound familiar? It should, because that’s Michigan football to a tee. Winovich represents a relentless defensive effort that goes into winning each team’s ball games.
Villanova (6): Jawaan Taylor
Saint Mary’s (11): T.J. Hockenson
The Gators lost many starting players to the NFL draft in 2017, as did Villanova to the NBA draft. But both programs recovered nicely in 2018, as Villanova was able to still win the Big Eat title, and Florida was able to finish out their season strong with three wins to end the year, including a dominant bowl victory. Both became teams no one really wanted to see down the stretch.
Some people use Saint Mary’s as a weapon against the argument for Gonzaga being a No. 1 seed. In the same way, some use tight end Hockenson as an attack on his fellow Iowa tight end Noah Fant for why the ball wasn’t thrown to him as much, and why he shouldn’t be TE1. In reality, these are just two good teams – and two good prospects. Hockenson’s clutch play can be linked to that of St. Mary’s Jordan Ford.
Purdue (3): David Montgomery
Old Dominion (14): Travis Homer
Boilermakers head coach Matt Painter is a trendy national coach of the year pick for grabbing a piece of the Big Ten regular season title this year. Montgomery is a trendy RB1 pick in a draft that doesn’t boast a clear-cut favorite. Carson Edwards is the lifeblood for Purdue, but when he struggles, so does the rest of the team. When Montgomery is eclipsing more than 4.0 yards per carry, Iowa State usually wins. When he doesn’t, well, you know. The parallels are there.
There just isn’t a ton to like about this Old Dominion squad. B.J. Stith and Ahmad Caver are the duo that can make things happen with 33.7 point per game between the two of them, as was the case for running backs Travis Homer and D.J. Dallas in Miami. But like the Canes, there was not much defensive efficiency around the Monarchs for the points of those two to matter much
Cincinnati (7): Hakeem Butler
Iowa (10): Emanuel Hall
Cincinnati is big, and they love to rebound and overpower their opponents by winning the basketball in the air. Their star for that is AAC Player of the Year Jarron Cumberland. Just take one look at Cumberland and you’ll know why he’s Hakeem Butler. Both are dynamic on offense and can dominate in the air.
6-foot-9 Tyler Cook and 6-foot-11 Luka Garza propelled the Hawkeyes to a Top 20 offense from an efficiency standpoint. That kind of towering duo and offensive output reminded me of Emanuel Hall (6-foot-2), Albert Okwuegbunam (6-foot-5) and Kendall Blanton (6-foot-6) at Missouri. Hall the best of the bunch with size and speed.
Tennessee (2): Joshua Jacobs
Colgate (15): Darius Slayton
Tennessee can hit you from inside and out; they can defend you in the front court and the back; they have shooters and scorers and passers and finishers all over the court and deep on their bench. The Vols have all the weapons you want, and that, to me, is Josh Jacobs. Whether it’s with or without the ball in his hands, Jacobs is a top-notch runner, pass catcher and blocker. Tennessee is everything you’d want in a team, on paper, and Jacobs is everything you’d want in a back.
Colgate’s only chance in this tournament is if they can hit the deep ball. Rapolas Ivanauskas, who has a 3-point percentage of over 43 percent, is the guy to make that happen. As for Auburn’s football team last season, their big play threat was Darius Slayton. Colgate and Slayton have a similar bread and butter, but also boom or bust.
UNC (1): Dwayne Haskins
Iona (16): Easton Stick
North Carolina pushes the pace and scores more points than most teams in college basketball. They’re great at passing, and can get the ball from one end of the court to the basket in a split second. Coby White is the man who leads that charge for the Tar Heels, and it’s his job to always push the pace. That narrative is just like what Haskins was with an electrifying offense built around a ton of play makers at OSU.
Iona comes into the tournament winning their unprecedented fourth straight conference title. The only other player in this class who can boast any kind of accolades that consistent is Easton Stick, who has won back-to-back national championship at the DII level for SDSU. Both Stick and Iona are champions of the competition levels, but it is lower levels.
Utah State (8): Darrell Henderson
Washington (9): Amani Hooker
Utah State’s top scorer was the second-leading scoring in the entire Mountain West conference, and like him Darrell Henderson was the second-leading scorer at the running back position in the country with 22 touchdowns. Both Utah State and Memphis leaned heavily on their top scorers to make things happen, and both enjoyed a high amount of wins in their conferences because of it.
Washington is one of the top defensive teams in all of college basketball. During the regular season, the Huskies forced turnovers on 25 percent of their opponents’ possessions, which is just crazy. In that same way, Iowa was second in the country with 20 interceptions as a team. Just like Washington has Matisse Thybulle to lead their defensive efforts, so did the Hawkeyes with safety Amani Hooker on the back end, who had six interceptions on the season.
Auburn (5): Parris Campbell
New Mex. St (12): Cody Ford
When Auburn’s offense is on, as you can tell by their SEC tournament championship, they are so hard to stop. The 5-foot-11 Jared Harper for the Tigers might just be the fastest player in America, and that characteristic of his, as well as the offensive philosophy around him, can be linked to that of Parris Campbell at Ohio State. Campbell’s 4.3 speed made Ohio State’s offense so hard to stop. Harper and Auburn will be, too, in the tournament if teams can’t keep up.
Led by an all-junior experienced lineup, the Aggies have one of the more balanced and experienced teams in the big dance. With no starter on the Sooners offensive line being less than a true junior this past season, the same can be said for how well Oklahoma was able to block for Kyler Murray and allow them to be the best offense in college football. Cody Ford, like Terrell Brown for New Mexico State, is the top guy amongst a balanced group.
Kansas (4): Rashan Gary
Northeastern (13): Andy Isabella
Kansas is a team that has been ravaged with injuries to some of their top players, and yet their talent that remains is one of the most dangerous in the country due to the nature of the program. Gary has suffered some minor-ish injuries throughout his career, but he is still one of the most talented players in the class. You don’t know what you’re going to get with Gary (via injury and perhaps a position change in the NFL) just like you don’t know what you’re going to get with Kansas. But both have enough talent in them that you don’t want to bet against them.
Senior scorer for the Northeastern Huskies, Vasa Pusica, is the man to watch. He’s a guy who can put up a ton of points quick, as was evident by the seven 3-pointers he hit in the CAA title game. A small school hero who can score in bunches on the NFL draft side is UMass wide receiver Andy Isabella. Isabella is a threat from anywhere on the field with great speed and quickness, just like Pusica is with his jumper.
Iowa St. (6): Jachai Polite
Ohio State (11): Benny Snell
Iowa State is one of the most perplexing teams in this bracket. They’re a team that has a lot of offensive talent, as is evident with wins over some big-time teams like Texas Tech, Kansas and Kansas State. But their consistency is wildly off. Though I wouldn’t say that’s an exact match for how Polite plays on the field, as he was pretty dang dominant in pass rush each week, his strange Combine interviews were the perplexing part that makes me think he’s a fit as a team comp here. You don’t know what you’re getting with the Cyclones, and some NFL teams think that’s also the case with the talented Polite.
Ohio State had to rely on its stout defense to make things happen when Kaleb Wesson was out for his three-game suspension (it didn’t go well, OSU went 0-for-3), and I have to say that reminds me a lot of how helpless Kentucky football was on offense when Benny Snell wasn’t running the way he needed to in 2018. Snell was such a catalyst for the Wildcats’ success this past season. UK football and the Buckeyes basketball team were certainly defensive base, but the Buckeyes need Wesson just like the Wildcats needed Snell to give them a combination that leads to their best bet at success.
Houston (3): Josh Allen
Georgia St. (14): Myles Gaskin
Houston does everything well. They defend, they shoot the three ball, the work possessions, they get multiple players involved. Houston can fill the stat sheet up on both ends of the floor. As a linebacker/pass rusher hybrid, Allen’s 21.5 tackles for loss, 17 sacks, interception, four passes defended and five forced fumbles show he can fill up a stat sheet in so many ways at an elite level, just like Houston.
Georgia State runs everything through their senior D’Marcus Simonds, who is one of the best players in program history. Like Simonds, Gaskins was a historic player of his own as the only Pac-12 back to ever rush for more than 1,000 yards in four straight seasons. Washington ran (literally) through Haskins and Georgia State must run (figuratively) through Simonds.
Wofford (7): Kelvin Harmon
Seton Hall (10): Brian Burns
Led by their top scorer, big time shooter Fletcher Magee, Wofford comes into the tournament with a Top 15 offense in college basketball. Wofford isn’t the most athletic team in this tournament, but they still win by hitting big shots from deep at a consistent level. That sounds like Kelvin Harmon to me. The Combine sort of confirmed that Harmon isn’t going to be the best athlete, and yet determination and sheer will still made him one of the best deep threats in college football with how he won in the air and vertically. Both have similar profiles of success.
Much like Florida State’s football team had one of the worst defenses in college football, Seton Hall has one of the worst defenses in the entire tournament this year. But Seton Hall is led by Myles Powell, whose 22.9 points per game often make up for the rest of a less-than-stellar squad. That sure sounds like what Brian Burns had to deal with at FSU this year. Burns was able to still have his success with 15.5 tackles for loss and 10 sacks, as can Powell in the tournament for Seton Hall.
Kentucky (2): A.J. Brown
Abilene Christian (15): Tytus Howard
Kentucky likely has more weapons in their front court than any other team in America, and despite their overall struggles to get wins, the same can be said with Ole Miss’ offense in football, which boasted A.J. Brown, D.K. Metcalf, DaMarkus Lodge and Dawson Knox. As the top producer in the offense, Brown is the link to Wildcats’ PJ Washington. Both young men lead their stacked squads.
Abilene Christian is making their first trip to the NCAA tournament, and with that comes a lot of inexperience and not much time to learn on the fly. Tytus Howard is in somewhat of a similar spot. He’ll be ramping up his competition level from Alabama State straight to the pros. Howard is a kid who has some tool you like, but doesn’t show consistent refinement. It’d be a long shot to expect him to produce right away, given the circumstances, as would it be for ACU to be a Cinderella team this year.