With March Madness rapidly approaching, everyone is looking for an edge in their pool for the NCAA tournament. More often than not, this edge comes from making a Cinderella pick that makes a deep run in the tournament. Here are three Cinderellas to keep an eye on.
The likely champion of the Atlantic 10 is also a very likely candidate for a Cinderella run in this year’s NCAA tourney. Davidson possesses one of the most high-tempo, potent offenses in the nation and has scored the 5th most points per game in the nation this season.
Much of that scoring has come on the back of Tyler Kalinoski, a senior guard from Kansas City who has shouldered the majority of the scoring at over 16 points per game. Kalinoski shoots over 40% from long range for the Wildcats and has devastated Atlantic 10 defenses all season.
In addition to Kalinoski, sophomore guard Jack Gibbs has become a very talented scorer as well. Teams like the most recent UConn Huskies championship team have utilized the veteran and young guard combo to great success in the tournament. I fully expect Davidson to make a run this season.
As Southern Conference champions, Wofford will look to upset some power conference schools in their second consecutive appearance in the NCAA tournament. Their conference championship against underdog Furman demonstrated the incredible heart of this Wofford team. Despite a close game that saw Furman come close to winning down the stretch, Wofford was able to hold on with great defense and timely free throws.
With wins against bubble teams like Iona and NC State, Wofford has found a way to notch some key victories despite playing in a relatively weak conference. Karl Cochran, the senior guard for the Terriers, represents the heart and soul of this Wofford squad, leading the team in points, rebounds, and assists per game. With Cochran knowing that each game he plays could be his last in Division 1 college basketball, don’t be surprised to see him emerge as a tournament hero for Wofford.
Though Wofford hasn’t been able to knock anyone off in previous tournament chances, this year feels different as they will be seeded higher and have the leadership of a senior point guard behind their efforts. Senior guards tend to do well in the tourney, and Cochran should be no exception.
Colorado State is a team that looked like it would waiver off the bubble for a while but is now firmly in the tournament. The Rams have dominated every team except San Diego State in a weak Mountain West this season and look to be returning to the Big Dance.
Behind the play of senior forward J.J. Avila, the Rams wear down opponents and create scoring opportunities, despite not being the most athletic team. Avila especially creates his own opportunities near the basket, shooting over 55 percent from the field this season while averaging just under 17 points per game. While Colorado State may not be the most physically imposing team in the tournament, they certainly have the savvy of a team that has been there before. They’ll use their experience, not their athleticism, to make plays down the stretch.
If Avila can get going in their first round matchup, the Rams could easily move on. Keep an eye on Colorado State as they look to make a deep run in both the Mountain West Conference Tournament and the NCAA Tournament.