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Top Six March Madness Players to Watch in 2021

| March 15, 2021 7:47 am PDT

Everybody expects Luka Garza to shine in the NCAA Tournament. Most have seen Ayo Dosunmu putting up huge numbers all season long; that is not going to change.

It goes without saying that these two studs from the Big Ten are among the players to watch in March Madness.

This blog is about getting you familiarized with some of the other college basketball stars that haven’t received as much national attention. These individuals have been balling out all season long, and now it’s their chance to showcase their talents for the entire world to see.

Max Abmas

  • Team: Oral Roberts
  • Position: Guard
  • Season PPG: 24.2

It very may well be a one-and-done scenario for Oral Roberts, but at least that gives us one opportunity to catch Max Abmas in action. Get your popcorn ready.

The nation’s leader scoring has registered six 30-point games, he’s scored over 40 twice, and he’s not just a one-trick pony who drops buckets inefficiently. He’s actually quite the opposite.

The 6’1” sophomore ranked 3rd in the Summit League in steals, 4th in assists, and he was knocking on the door of ending the regular season in the “50-40-90” club.

Max Abmas – By the Numbers in 2020-21
FG % 3PT % FT %
48.4% 43.3% 89.9%

Austin Reaves

  • Team: Oklahoma
  • Position: Guard
  • Season PPG: 17.7

The Wichita State transfer has blossomed in Norman over the last two years. After averaging a shade under 15 ppg as a junior, Reaves has been the catalyst for the Sooners as a senior and the main reason they were able to stamp their ticket to the dance.

Not only is Austin leading Oklahoma in scoring; he’s leading the squad in rebounds (5.7) and assists (4.7), too.

Lon Kruger’s only hope of making a dent in the bracket and advancing to the Sweet 16 or beyond is to rely on Reaves’ leadership. The Arkansas native is a streaky shooter who can go cold at times, but it’s worth noting that Austin started heating up over the last six games of the season. Case in point – since February 22nd, Reaves is shooting over 48% from downtown (13/27).

Hunter Dickinson

  • Team: Michigan
  • Position: Center
  • Season PPG: 14.3

A true freshman who’s pushing 7’2”, Hunter Dickinson anchored the Wolverines frontcourt and led Michigan to its first Big Ten regular-season title since 2014. Leading Juwan Howard’s club in scoring, rebounding, and blocked shots, Dickinson has even flashed a soft shooting touch thanks to sporting a 75% clip at the charity stripe.

What’s especially impressive about Hunter’s numbers is he’s 5th on the team in minutes/game and has only eclipsed 30 minutes in a game on three occasions. Look for Dickinson to be featured a bit more as the NCAA Tournament wears on.

That translates to expecting big things during the rest of March from the Big Ten Freshman of the Year.

Marcus Zegarowski

  • Team: Creighton
  • Position: Guard
  • Season PPG: 15.5 ppg

After touting Marcus Zegarowski as a preseason Wooden Award candidate, I’m using this post as another outlet to extol the Bluejays point guard. Armed with the rare skillset necessary to completely take over a game, the 6”2” junior just completed his third straight season shooting over 40% from beyond the arc.

Whether fans outside of Omaha agree or now, Creighton is a team with legitimate Final Four aspirations in 2021. Having said that, dominant performances from Zegarowski are how that dream becomes a reality. Marcus is averaging just 11.8 field goal attempts per game; I’d like to see that number increase to around 15 come tourney time.

Cameron Thomas

  • Team: LSU
  • Position: Guard
  • Season PPG: 23.1

There are lots of exciting guys from the SEC who are players to watch in March Madness. Alabama’s Herb Jones and John Petty Jr. immediately come to mind. Arkansas’ Moses Moody has been sensational, and Colin Castleton has helped Florida earn a spot in the bracket.

Nevertheless, the most explosive player in the Southeastern Conference this season has been Cameron Thomas. LSU’s true frosh is a high-volume scorer who netted 20+ points in the Tigers final nine games of the regular season. He opened the SEC Conference Tournament with a 29-spot against Mizzou and continues to torment defenders in all sorts of ways.

Some guys are pure shooters, some guys are slashers. Then there are guys like Cameron Thomas who are what I call, “flat-out scorers.”

The Oak Hill product has been nothing short of stupendous during his first season in Baton Rouge. Nothing suggests that’ll be any different in the 2021 NCAA Tournament.

Quentin Grimes

  • Team: Houston
  • Position: Guard
  • Season PPG: 17.9

Talk about a player emerging as a star in year three, Quentin Grimes’ trajectory has been fast and furious since taking his talents from Kansas to Houston.

Quentin Grimes – The Ascension is Real
Season Minutes Points Rebounds Steals
2018-19 (KU) 27.4 8.4 2.5 0.6
2019-20 (HOU) 27.9 12.1 3.7 0.8
2020-21 (HOU) 32.4 17.9 6.2 1.2

Leading the Cougars to a top-10 ranking, the projected 1st-round pick in the 2021 NBA Draft was honored as the Co-Player of the Year in the American Athletic Conference. Houston is a popular pick that lots of analysts are tabbing to make a deep run in the tournament, and the only way that happens is if Grimes goes off.

I wouldn’t bet against that transpiring.

Other March Madness Players to Watch in 2021

I highlighted six players to watch in March Madness, but the six-pack of stars showcased on this page is just the tip of the iceberg.

Oklahoma State’s Cade Cunningham is must-see television, so is USC’s Evan Mobley hence they’re projected to go “1-2” in the next NBA Draft. I could have written an entire piece on just “Gonzaga’s players to watch,” but you’ll be hearing plenty from Corey Kispert and Drew Timme down the road. Jalen Suggs is going to make plenty of noise over the next couple of weeks.

I wanted to uncover some names who aren’t being praised every time Jay Bilas is on television. Others falling into this category are SDSU’s Matt Mitchell, Purdue’s Trevion Williams, and Oregon’s Eugene Omoruyi, just to name a few.

Stay tuned for a lot more March Madness coverage as the week progresses, and make sure to use the top March Madness betting sites if you’re wagering on the tournament.

If you want some help with that, picks for individual games can be found here.

Michael Wynn

As a former Division I collegiate golfer, Michael Wynn loves writing about golf. He's also an expert in most of America's most popular sports, writing extensively for GamblingSites.com on football, basketball, and baseball.

Michael's a Las Vegas native and has been with the company since 2017.

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