NCAA Tournament, Weekend One: 10 Best Individual Player Matchups

NCAA Tournament, Weekend One: 10 Best Individual Player Matchups
Mar 12, 2007, 03:31 am
Which games are NBA scouts booking as must-sees on their itinerary for this upcoming weekend? What matchups or potential matchups are making them salivate? To answer that, we take a look at the 10 best head to head clashes we’re looking forward to from an individual NBA draft perspective.

1) Corey Brewer vs. Trey Johnson, #1 Florida vs. #16 Jackson State (Friday)

All season long we’ve been wondering how the 2nd best scorer in the NCAA would look if matched up against a big, long, athletic, nasty perimeter defender like Corey Brewer. Now, we finally get a chance to see that matchup materialize. And while it won’t give us all the answers we’re looking for—this is a David vs. Goliath, one player against the world type setting after all—it will still hopefully be entertaining to watch.

2) #1 Florida vs.#8 Arizona (Sunday?)

Yes, this is supposed to be a look at individual player matchups, but we might not get a bigger group of NBA prospects on the floor at one time unless North Carolina and Kansas are involved. And it certainly won’t be this early. Florida has four definite pros to offer, while Arizona might even have more depending on who you ask. Obviously both teams still need to get through the first round of the tournament for this to materialize. And with Arizona in particular, that can’t be considered a sure thing.

3) Greivis Vasquez vs. Stephen Curry, #4 Maryland vs. #13 Davidson (Thursday)

Two of the top freshman in the country (in terms of production at least) go head to head in round one of the tournament. Vasquez, a 6-5 combo guard, was named our ACC Freshman of the year, while Curry, son of NBA player Dell Curry and a fellow combo, was the second leading freshman scorer in the country after Kevin Durant. Both players played huge roles in getting their teams to where they are right now, and will be expected to continue to do so this weekend.

4) Russell Carter vs. Torrell Martin, #6 Notre Dame vs. #11 Winthrop (Friday)

In terms of style of play, you aren’t going to find two star players going head to head who are much more similar. Carter is an explosive 6-4 senior shooting guard who can put the ball in the net from behind the arc with the best of them, and also plays solid defense. Torrell Martin is…basically the same exact thing. Both are prone to hot and cold streaks that can either bury their own team or the opposition depending on which way they are leaning towards that night.

5) Alando Tucker vs. Thaddeus Young, #2 Wisconsin vs. #10 Georgia Tech (Sunday?)

To get here, Georgia Tech will have to “upset” 7th ranked UNLV in Chicago on Friday, while Wisconsin will need to get through #15 seed Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. If that happens, we’ll get a true marquee matchup at the small forward position featuring two top prospects. Tucker is the senior and reigning Big 10 player of the year honor, an athletic tweener who plays lock-down defense and refuses to allow anyone to put a body on him. Young is the extremely athletic and highly touted freshman who has had an up and down freshman year but has been playing extremely well as of late. He’s also a tweener in his own right. If Young has any inclinations of entering the draft this year, getting to this game and playing well would be a huge boost for him. Tucker will want to show that he’s being underrated in regards to his draft stock, and this is as good a place as any to continue to do so.

6) Aaron Gray vs. Josh McRoberts, #3 Pitt vs. #6 Duke (Saturday?)

Again, a hypothetical matchup, assuming that no upsets occur and Pitt defeats Wright State while Duke takes down VCU. If draft fans are lucky enough to see that happen, we will see an extremely intriguing matchup at the center position between Aaron Gray and Josh McRoberts. Both big men have seen their stock take big hits over the past few weeks, and as we all know, there is no better place to repair that than in the NCAA tournament. Gray is the plodding back to the basket traditional center who will be forced to step out on the perimeter to match up with McRoberts, while on the other end McRoberts will have to play much tougher than he has all year keeping Gray from throwing a party in the post. This could be a fascinating clash of styles.

7) Tywon Lawson vs. Dominic James, #1 North Carolina vs. #8 Marquette (Saturday?)

To get here, UNC will need to get past Eastern Kentucky and Marquette needs to beat #9 seed Michigan State. If that scenario occurs, we’ll have a chance to see some of the top underclassmen point guards in the country go head to head. Lawson and James are two of the most athletic players in the country, both undersized, streaky shooters with a knack for making brilliant plays at times and boneheaded ones in others. And for good measure, both are heavily considering entering this year’s draft and could certainly use a statement performance to rest their head on.

8) Jared Dudley vs. Jeff Green, #7 Boston College vs. #2 Georgetown (Saturday?)

Boston College and Georgetown need to advance past round one (Texas Tech and Belmont respectively) to create what could be the best coaching chess match of the tournament. Dudley and Green—the ACC and Big East players of the year-- both play that tweener combo forward role that works so effectively at the collegiate level, with neither being a prototype for what the NBA usually looks for in a small forward. They are both fantastic in many different areas, though, be it passing, playing smart defense, hitting open shots or doing the little things their teams need. The player who has the better individual performance here could see a nice bump in his draft stock.

9) Chris Lofton vs. J.R. Reynolds, #5 Tennessee vs. #4 Virginia (Sunday?)

Two 6-2 shooting guards with plenty to prove to NBA scouts will go head to head on Sunday if they are able to get past their first round matchups on Friday (Long Beach State and Albany). Both came into the season without much NBA draft hype, but have had excellent seasons. Either one can absolutely light it up from beyond the arc on any given night, and will likely guard one another if this matchup materializes.

10) Nick Fazekas vs. Joey Dorsey, #7 Nevada vs. #2 Memphis (Sunday?)

Two big men from strong mid-major conferences with very contrasting styles of play, who just happen to be amongst the top rebounders in the country. Fazekas is tall, skinny and skilled, while Dorsey is undersized, strong and an absolute workhorse. Nevada needs to get past Creighton first, while Memphis has North Texas in their way.

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