Bay Area College Basketball: Who’s coming for the NCAA tournament?

If you’re hoping to see Zion Williamson and Duke when the NCAA tournament comes to San Jose next month, forget it.

The NCAA’s selection committee is not expected to send the second-ranked Blue Devils across the country to play at the SAP Center on March 22 and 24 in a subregional. Since 2004, Duke has not played farther west than Pittsburgh in the tournament’s first weekend. That’s Pittsburgh with an “h,” and not the industrial suburb in the East Bay.

Still, enticing possibilities remain among the eight teams that will play in San Jose.

Here are seven to consider:

Gonzaga: The third-ranked Bulldogs might be sent to Salt Lake City, but they’d be a headliner anywhere. Born in Japan, Rui Hachimura will be an NBA lottery pick this spring, but the local attraction would be former San Jose State forward Brandon Clarke. Even on a team jammed with talent, the 6-foot-8 junior averages 16.8 points, 8.0 rebounds and has broken the school record with 77 blocked shots. “He was phenomenal, coach Mark Few said after Clark had 20 points, 16 rebounds and 5 blocks last week against USF.

Murray State: Sophomore guard Ja Morant takes “phenomenal” to another level, but the Racers (19-4) will need to win the Ohio Valley Conference tournament to earn a bid. The projected top-three NBA lottery pick averages 23.9 points and leads the country with 10.1 assists per game. And at 6-3, 175 pounds, Morant is the most spectacular dunker this side of Durham, N.C. If you haven’t seen him fly over the head of a 6-foot-8 defender from Tennessee-Martin for a dunk, that’s why YouTube was invented.

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Source:: The Mercury News – Sports


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