With the calendar turning to March, millions are eagerly awaiting one of the most popular sporting events of the year: NCAA March Madness. The top 68 teams will vie for supremacy and while there may not be a standout favorite, many contending teams can convincingly throw their hat in the ring.
Basketball fans all across the country will have the opportunity to get up close and personal during this year's March Madness. Games will take place all across the country beginning mid-March, including matches at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland, OH on March 20 & 22 (Tickets), STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, CA on March 26 & 28 (Tickets), and Toyota Center in Houston, TX on March 27 & 29 (Tickets).
In anticipation of all the action on the court, we're taking a look at 5 players across the NCAA you should definitely keep your eyes on as they're sure to steal the spotlight during March Madness 2020.
5. Markus Howard (point guard) — Marquette
Marquette has bounced in and out of the top 25 teams in the nation this year, and much of its success can be attributed to Markus Howard. The point guard leads the country in scoring, averaging 27.6 PPG – no small feat in the Big East. A 40.5 percent three-point shooter, Howard has the ability to get hot and carry a team, making Marquette a tough out in March.
4. Luka Garza (center) — Iowa
Iowa’s Luka Garza is the big man who offers skill and toughness. The center has collected 14 consecutive double-doubles, and he has scored 20 points or more in a school-record 14 straight games. Not only can he grab rebounds, Garza can knock down three-pointers from the perimeter, making the 6-foot-11 phenom a tough cover. He currently ranks fifth in the nation in scoring.
3. Udoka Azubuike (center) — Kansas
Udoka Azubuike enjoyed his coming out party against Baylor in a recent win that catapulted the Blue Jays to No. 1 in the nation. Azubuike’s ability to patrol the paint and convert at the rim makes him a tough cover for the country’s best teams. His inside presence opens up the floor for shooters like Devon Dotson and Ochai Agbaji, as well. While Bill Self’s team boasts a plethora of talent, Azubuike could be the difference between the Jayhawks rising to the occasion or falling flat again in March.
2. Myles Powell (guard) — Seton Hall
A junior shooting guard, Seton Hall’s Powell is one of the nation’s most explosive scorers. A potential NBA draft pick in 2019, Powell opted to return to Seton Hall to improve his game and chase a national title with the Pirates. Seton Hall has spent much of its season ranked around the top 10 teams in the country, and Powell is a driving force here. His ability to get hot in March could spur Seton Hall to a deep tournament run.
1.Obi Toppin (power forward) — Dayton
Every year, basketball fans filling out their brackets look for that one out-of-the-box pick to win it all. This year, the Dayton Flyers could be that pick. Firmly cemented as one of the top five teams in the country, Dayton is eyeing a No. 1 seed come Selection Sunday. Obi Toppin has been a driving force in the Flyers’ success, averaging 19.8 PPG and nearly 8 RPG. A versatile big, he’s a matchup nightmare for every team in the tournament. He can dominate in the low post and extend his range to the three-point line, where he’s converting roughly 36 percent of his shots.