With March Madness upon us, there will be plenty of articles floating around the inter webs. Cinderella stories, best players from Mid Major schools to watch, and whether or not Duke will win another National Championship. Now we could copy all those ideas, but why not come up with something better. During the Atlantic Sun Conference Championship game, Lipscomb had 5 white guys on the floor at the same time. Crazy I know. When was the last time you saw that? A grammar catholic school in the burbs? Having witnessed the rare occurrence, it dawned on me that there is some solid talent in the tourney with the same skin color as I. Here is my starting five and some bench players that will have an impact.
PG – Grayson Allen (Duke)
The love him or hate him senior from Duke had to make the list. Allen has been a staple in the college basketball world the last four years. From winning an NCAA title his freshman year, to being a potential lottery pick after his sophomore season, to becoming the most hated player of all time his junior year, to a leader his final season. Allen is averaging 15.5 ppg and is averaging a career best 4.5 assists per game and is shooting 85% from the free throw line. Allen knows he is the leader of this young Duke squad and will be leaned on by Coach K if the blue Devils hope to make another deep NCAA run.
SG – Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk (Kansas)
The Ukranian known as Svi throughout Lawrence, Kansas, is another senior on the roster who really stepped up his game in his final season under coach Bill Self. After averaging just 6 ppg in his first three seasons, Svi is averaging just over 15 a game and is shooting just a hair over 45% from deep. Don’t let his range fool you though. The Ukraine can throw it down on you if you are not paying attention.
SF – Mike Daum (South Dakota St)
If you are not a college basketball junkie, this is a name you should follow right away. The junior from Nebraska has earned plenty of accolades through just three seasons. He earned Summit League Freshman of the Year and 6th man of the years. He has been named conference POY the last two seasons, and was named Conference Tourney MVP all three seasons. If he comes back for his senior year, he has the opportunity to score over 3,000 points in his career. The 6’9″ stretch forward has shot over 41% from beyond the arc in all three seasons, and has increased his rebounding by 2 boards a game, averaging a double double this season (23.8 ppg/10.4 rpg). Trust me, this is a name to watch.
PF – Moritz Wagner (Michigan)
The 6’11” Junior from Germany is a fun watch. He plays with his emotions on his sleeves and is not afraid to show it. “Mo” has adapted to the John Beilein school of basketball and has thrived in his system. Wagner is averaging 14.5 ppg to go along with a 39% from deep. Just another big white guy with range. Not surprising. Wagner entered his name in last years NBA draft but pulled out, and it was probably in his best interest. A projected 2nd round pick in the 2018 NBA draft, the German has some things to work on (passing ability, rebounding, and being consistent).
C – Isaac Haas (Purdue)
Gene Keady would have LOVED coaching Isaac Hayes. Who wouldn’t love a 7’2″ 290lb center on their roster? Big Country earned Third Team All Big Ten accolades after a senior campaign which saw him average almost 15 ppg and 5.6 rebounds. As imagined, Haas is a presence in the middle averaging just a shade under a black and a half per game, and after playing behind Caleb Swanigan last season, Haas will look to take his game to the next level. Haas is a projected late second rounder, to being undrafted in the upcoming draft. His biggest issue may be his lack of athleticism and mobility. He would have a tough time keeping up with DeAndre Jordan.
F – Killian Tillie (Gonzaga) *Sixth man
The Sophomore from France has increased his average scoring by nearly 10 points a game, raising it to 13.4 ppg. Over the course of three games in the WCC Conference Tourney, Tillie scored 24, 26, and 22 points going 28 of 36 from the field. Not too bad. The big man has a huge upside being an energetic big who can score in a variety of ways. Tillie paid his dues, playing sparingly in 2017 on a team that lost in the championship game. Now he is making a name for himself and looking to make even more noise come tourney time.
G – Matt MacDonald (University of Pennsylvania)
Matt most likely will not have much of an impact during the tourney, but he is a western New York native (Canisius High School ’13) so I figured I would show him some love and add him to the list. The former Fairleigh Dickinson ball players transferred to Penn after his sophomore season. At FDU, MacDonald was named to the Northeast Conference All-Rookie Team and averaged 8.6 ppg. During his sophomore season, he averaged 9 ppg and the numbers have gone down ever since. Lets go Quakers!
G – Jon Elmore (Marshall)
The West Virginia native balled out on Saturday in the Conference USA Championship game going 7-13 from deep, way deep, for 27 points. In his last five contests, Elmore is averaging just under 24 points per game. Just a junior, Elmore should surpass 2,500 during his final season. The victory on Saturday gives the Thundering Herd their first conference championship in 31 seasons. The former Virginia Military Institute commit plays for Dan D’Antoni, brother of Houston Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni.
Kyle Guy from Virginia would have made the squad if he was still rocking the man bun. Now he is dealing with an MCL sprain. If the Badgers would have made the NCAA tourney, then both Ethan Happ and Brad Davison would have found a spot on the bench. Happy brings that energy you need and Davison plays through injuries and hits big shots. Luke Maye would probably make anyone else starting squad but he plays for the Tar Heels, so he is only Honorable Mention worthy.