Marshall ranks fourth nationally in blocks (3.7 per game) and field-goal percentage (65.4). The 7-foot center, who averages 13.0 points and 7.1 rebounds, is a major reason the Zips produced a 19-game winning streak near the end of the season, the nation's longest in 2012-13.
CJ McCollum became a household name during last year's NCAA tournament when he scored 30 points in 15th-seeded Lehigh's upset of No. 2 Duke in the second round of the South Region. Who might be the next player to burst onto the national scene this March? Here are a few candidates. — Ken Davis
Doug McDermott, Creighton
McDermott is a big name in college hoops circles, but hardly a household name since he's playing at a mid-major. He's much more than a scorer, but in a tournament atmosphere, he could average more than his season average of 23 points per game — if the Bluejays get their act together. He’s the second-leading scorer in the country, and he makes his shots (56 percent on field goals, 49 on 3-pointers and 86 from the line). The Bluejays could jump on his back for a win or two.
Nate Wolters, South Dakota State
Two reasons to root for South Dakota State. First is that totally original nickname (Jackrabbits), and second is one of the most exciting scorers in the nation. The 6-4 guard Wolters has had a tremendous senior season, scoring 53 points in a game and averaging 22.7 points, 5.6 rebounds and 5.8 assists. He deserves a shot at a national audience and he'll get it, with an opening matchup against Michigan.
Kelly Olynyk, Gonzaga
Is it possible that the best player on the No. 1-ranked team is flying under the radar? It is when Gonzaga's the top team. People have been second-guessing Olynyk’s decisions for years. But guess what? Things have worked out pretty well for this unique player and his very talented team. After redshirting last season, Olynyk has increased his skill set. He can score with his back to the basket or facing it. He averages 17.5 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.2 blocked shots per game.
Jeff Withey, Kansas
This has been said before, but Withey was the reason the Jayhawks advanced to the Final Four last season. Quite simply, he changes games because no other team has a player who does what Withey does. The 7-foot senior center likely will be the top shot blocker (3.8 per game) in the tourney. He blocked 129 shots and committed just 68 fouls this season.
Mike Muscala, Bucknell
Muscala is a pro prospect at 6-11 and 239 pounds. He averages 19.0 points, 11.2 rebounds and 2.4 blocks. Muscala is as consistent as they come, with 22 double-doubles. His 29-point, 19-rebound game against Columbia ranks among the top performances of the season.
Ian Clark, Belmont
Clark is the type of player who could make things interesting. The 6-3 senior is one of those pure shooters who can make the game a thing of beauty. He averages 18.1 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.5 assists. But the impressive numbers are 54.1 percent shooting, 46.6 percent on 3-pointers and 84 percent on free throws.
Jake Cohen, Davidson
Louisville remembers Cohen from last year’s NCAA field. He’s a 6-foot-10 power forward who had 24 points and 10 rebounds against the Cardinals in the tournament. This is his senior season, so he will be motivated for bigger things. In 19 minutes against Duke this season, he scored 19 points and pulled down eight rebounds.