Skip to content

Eight players you want with the ball in crunch time

Mar 17, 2014, 11:27 AM EDT

source:

AP Photo

At this point in the season, one play in a close game will be the difference between survival and heading home. That makes the decision of who gets the basketball late in games all the more important, with those players needing to have the ability to properly dissect a defense in order to make the game-winning play.

Here are the eight players in the NCAA tournament field you want to have the ball in their hands when the game’s on the line:

PREVIEWSEast Region  |  South Region  |  Midwest Region  |  West Region

1) Doug McDermott (Creighton): Averaging 26.5 points per game, McDermott’s shooting 52.5% from the field, 45.4% from three and 86.6% from the foul line. Regardless of what look a defense gives McDermott, he shoots well enough to knock down the big shot from anywhere on the floor.

2) Jabari Parker (Duke): Averaging 19.3 points per game, Parker’s shooting nearly 48% from the field for the season. He’s a very difficult matchup for teams when committed to driving to the basket, can finish through contact and knock down perimeter shots as well. If Duke needs a big play, look for Parker to have the basketball.

3) Shabazz Napier (UConn): Are there times where Napier takes shots that boggle the mind? Yes. But are there also moments where he can step forward and make the big play? Yes. Measuring Napier’s ability when the game’s on the line isn’t solely about looking at his percentages (42.3% FG, 39.0% 3PT). He’s definitely capable of making game-winning plays.

4) Nik Stauskas (Michigan): There aren’t many perimeter shooters better than Stauskas, who’s shooting 47.6% from the field and 44.9% from beyond the arc. And his improved ability to beat teams off the dribble has made Stauskas a tougher cover in his sophomore season. He’s definitely a player to trust in the final minutes of a tight game.

MORE8 teams that can win it all  |  TV times  |  Bracket contest

5) DeAndre Kane (Iowa State): The foul shooting (65%) leaves something to be desired, but Kane’s shooting 49.1% from the field and 39.8% from beyond the arc on the season. But Kane’s ability to not only get a shot for himself but also for his teammates (Melvin Ejim and Georges Niang chief among them) will prove valuable in close games.

6) Xavier Thames (San Diego State): When Thames struggles so do the Aztecs. But more times than not the Mountain West Player of the Year has been there to lead the way. With his ability to get into the lane Thames (he’s also a 38.7% shooter from deep) is a tough matchup for many opponents, and he’s also shooting 82.7% from the foul line.

7) T.J. Warren (N.C. State): Warren won ACC Player of the Year largely because of his ability to score despite not having a clear secondary scoring option. The sophomore isn’t a great three-point shooter but it’s all about the mid-range game and the ability to get to the rim, as Warren’s shooting 52.5% from the field.

8) Marcus Paige (North Carolina): “Second-half Marcus” has been excellent for the Tar Heels this season, averaging 17.4 points per game on a team that struggled with perimeter scoring before he took over as the team’s primary option. And in ACC play Paige averaged more than ten points per contest in the second half.

Latest Posts
  1. Summer mixtape of 2015 four-star guard Eric Davis (VIDEO)

    Aug 22, 2014, 11:30 PM EDT

    (USA Basketball) (USA Basketball)

    2015 guard Eric Davis had a strong summer and is one of the better guards in the country.

  2. Louisville is getting a new floor (PHOTO)

    Aug 22, 2014, 10:30 PM EDT

    Indiana Pacers v Miami Heat - Game Five Getty Images

    Louisville is updating its floor with the move to the ACC.

  3. Auburn strikes in 2015 with a four-star wing

    Aug 22, 2014, 9:00 PM EDT

    Bruce Pearl AP

    Auburn made a recruiting move on Friday night with the addition of Danjel Purifoy.

  4. Missouri has a tough non-conference slate in Kim Anderson’s first year

    Aug 22, 2014, 7:30 PM EDT

    AP AP

    Missouri has a fair amount of quality teams on its non-conference schedule.

  5. Oregon State guard improving in hospital after collapsing in practice

    Aug 22, 2014, 6:10 PM EDT

    Jesse Skoubo/Corvallis Gazette-Times Jesse Skoubo/Corvallis Gazette-Times

    An Oregon State incoming guard is improving in the hospital after collapsing earlier in the week.

  6. College Basketball Talk’s Recruiting Roundup

    Aug 22, 2014, 5:05 PM EDT

    (Kelly Kline/Under Armour) (Kelly Kline/Under Armour)

    College Basketball Talk’s recruiting column explores the week’s topics.

  7. Former Memphis center officially enrolls at Tennessee

    Aug 22, 2014, 3:20 PM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    Dominic Woodson is now officially a Tennessee Volunteer.

  8. Report: Boston College lands Southern Miss graduate transfer

    Aug 22, 2014, 2:37 PM EDT

    Johnathan Williams III, Aaron Brown AP

    Aaron Brown averaged 9.9 points per game and shot 39 percent from three last season, and he’ll be eligible to play immediately.

  9. NCAA takes next step in appeal of Ed O’Bannon lawsuit ruling

    Aug 22, 2014, 1:28 PM EDT

    NCAA_Logo AP

    Having stated their intention of appealing the ruling in the Ed O’Bannon lawsuit, the NCAA filed a notice of appeal on Thursday.

  10. Texas A&M lands important 2015 front court commitment

    Aug 22, 2014, 12:07 PM EDT

    D1Circuit.com D1Circuit.com

    Five-star center Tyler Davis becomes Texas A&M’s first commitment, and he’s an important addition for Billy Kennedy.

  11. Michigan freshman discusses his return to the basketball court (VIDEO)

    Aug 22, 2014, 11:15 AM EDT

    Austin Hatch checking into the game for the first time (Michigan Athletics) Austin Hatch checking into the game for the first time (Michigan Athletics)

    Austin Hatch, who saw his first action in a Michigan uniform on Saturday, discussed his return to the court on The Today Show.

  12. Makeover of Butler’s Hinkle Fieldhouse nearing completion

    Aug 22, 2014, 10:30 AM EDT

    Brandon Miller Brandon Miller

    Upon completion, Hinkle Fieldhouse will have a brand new look while preserving the building’s storied past.

  13. Big Ten releases conference schedule: Michigan, Wisconsin meet January 24

    Aug 22, 2014, 9:44 AM EDT

    John Beilein AP

    The conference tournament will now span five days, with there being a doubleheader on Wednesday, March 11 (11 seed vs. 14 seed, 12 seed vs. 13 seed).

  14. Four-star combo forward decommits from Ohio State

    Aug 21, 2014, 11:06 PM EDT

    mitchell

    More than two months after his older brother left the football program, Mickey Mitchell has decided to decommit from Ohio State.

  15. Power forward becomes Missouri’s first 2015 commitment

    Aug 21, 2014, 10:14 PM EDT

    Kim Anderson AP

    6-foot-7 forward Kevin Puryear was a point forward for his high school team last season.

  16. Creighton’s logos draw ire of Major League Baseball franchise

    Aug 21, 2014, 8:45 PM EDT

    Creighton University Creighton University

    The Toronto Blue Jays aren’t thrilled with Creighton filing an application to trademark its logo, which was unveiled last September.

  17. Bounceback season lands formerly maligned Big 12 coach an extension

    Aug 21, 2014, 7:21 PM EDT

    Baylor Bears v Texas Longhorns Getty Images

    Rick Barnes entered last season on nearly every pundit’s “hot seat” rankings, only to turn things around and win 24 games.

  18. Little League phenom has dreams of playing for Geno Auriemma

    Aug 21, 2014, 5:55 PM EDT

    Mo'ne Davis Mo'ne Davis

    Mo’ne Davis is currently focused on winning a LLWS title, but down the line she really wants to run the point at UConn.

  19. Former Temple great returns to join Fran Dunphy’s coaching staff

    Aug 21, 2014, 4:37 PM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    Aaron McKie ranks sixth on Temple’s all-time scoring list, and he played 13 seasons in the NBA.

  20. Kevin Ollie wisely adds series with Ohio State, Arizona

    Aug 21, 2014, 3:57 PM EDT

    Kevin Ollie AP

    UConn’s league schedule is only getting weaker. They need to beef up in the non-conference.