Note: The numbers listed next to players names are their current standing in the latest iteration of our Top-100 Prospect Rankings
All Times Listed are EST
12:15 PM CBS Indianapolis, Indiana
#7 Michigan Zak Irvin, Derrick Walton, D.J. Wilson, Duncan Robinson
#10 Oklahoma State #38 Jawun Evans, Jeffrey Carroll
This should prove to be one of the most competitive and entertaining games of the day, with two evenly matched and well-coached teams led by outstanding point guards who have been on fire as of late. Both teams rank in the top five in offensive efficiency according to Ken Pomeroy.
The matchup between OSUs Jawun Evans and UMs Derrick Walton will be highly influential in deciding this contest. Walton is a big time shooter who has learned how to run John Beileins offense more efficiently as his career has moved on. Evans is similarly undersized, but is much more crafty with the ball, and has better strength and quickness to help him create offense for himself or his teammates when things break down in the half-court. Hes better in the open floor and makes a living getting to the free throw line, but is nowhere near as prolific an outside shooter. NBA teams will be watching to see how Evans steps up in the most important game of his career, and whether he can help his team advance a round to set up what be a highly anticipated matchup with Louisville.
12:40 PM truTV Tulsa, Oklahoma
#3 Baylor #27 Johnathan Motley, Ishmail Wainright
#14 New Mexico State
This is a very different New Mexico State team than the one weve become accustomed to seeing in the NCAA Tournament the past few years, as the Aggies are nowhere near as big and are far more perimeter oriented. With that in mind, the difference in this game could come inside, where Baylor big man Johnathan Motley is an absolute handful with his impressive combination of size, strength, length, and budding skill. Motley has slowly climbed up NBA Draft boards this season thanks to his productivity and physical tools, but has given scouts pause at times due to his inconsistent approach to the game. His fundamentals and feel for the game arent great, and he doesnt always demonstrate the highest intensity, which when combined with his poor awareness, can lead to some ugly possessions defensively. It will be interesting to see if Motley can rev up his motor and find a way to dominate the interior (on both ends of the floor) the way youd think he should be able to against what should be an overmatched frontcourt. These early round daytime games, with sparse crowds and plenty of nerves, can be tricky at times for highly seeded teams, and scouts will want to see how Motley navigates that.
1:30 PM TNT Greenville, South Carolina
#8 Arkansas Moses Kingsley
#9 Seton Hall Angel Delgado
2:00 PM TBS Sacramento, California
#3 Oregon #37 Dillon Brooks, #60 Jordan Bell, #71 Chris Boucher, Tyler Dorsey
#14 Iona Jordan Washington
The 11am tip on the West Coast presents an interesting challenge for Oregon, which could help keep this game close if sweet-shooting Iona (40% for 3 on the season) can get hot from the perimeter.
2:45 PM CBS Indianapolis, Indiana
#2 Louisville #23 Donovan Mitchell, Deng Adel, Jalen Johnson, Raymond Spalding, Anas Mahmoud, V.J. King
#15 Jacksonville State
3:10 PM truTV Tulsa, Oklahoma
#6 Southern Methodist #32 Semi Ojeleye, #65 Shake Milton, Ben Moore, Jarrey Foster, Sterling Brown
#11 Providence/USC #42 Chimezie Metu, Elijah Stewart, DeAnthony Melton, Bennie Boatwright, Shaqquan Aaron
The key to their offense is Duke transfer Semi Ojeleye, a physically gifted power forward who can handle the ball in the open floor, make spot-up or off the dribble 3-pointers, create his own shot in the half-court, and get to the free throw line prolifically thanks to his unique combination of quickness, strength and aggressiveness. A matchup with USC face-up 4-man Bennie Boatwright (if they defeat Providence) would give NBA scouts an opportunity to get a better feel for his perimeter defense, which has been somewhat inconsistent in the weak AAC, where he isnt always required to operate at maximum intensity.
Ojeleye may be somewhat of a sleeper in this draft, as almost every team in the league is looking for a combo forward in his mold who can stretch the floor, create his own shot and hold his own defensively. Hes been flying below the radar due to the poor level of competition of the American conference this season, but has an opportunity to have a coming out party in the NCAA Tournament.
4:00 PM TNT Greenville, South Carolina
#1 North Carolina #14 Justin Jackson, #52 Tony Bradley, #91 Joel Berry, #93 Isaiah Hicks, Kennedy Meeks, Theo Pinson
#16 Texas Southern
After a mostly outstanding season shooting the ball, helping him win ACC Player of the Year honors, North Carolinas Justin Jackson has hit a bit of a slump as of late. Hes 7/31 (22.5%) from beyond the arc in his past four games, after hitting 40% of his 3s prior to that. He was particularly cold in the second half of North Carolinas semi-final loss to Duke in the ACC Tournament, but continued to fire away repeatedly despite his struggles. The floor spacing Jackson provides is absolutely essential for North Carolina considering they play two paint oriented big men and another non-shooter in guard Theo Pinson. From their standpoint, it would probably be nice to see him have a big outing against overmatched Texas Southern, to help restore confidence in his stroke for the upcoming rounds. Jackson struggled to make shots from beyond the arc consistently in his first two seasons at UNC, so continuing to show signs of reverting back to that would certainly not be helpful for his draft stock.
4:30 PM TBS Sacramento, California
#6 Creighton #17 Justin Patton, Cole Huff, Maurice Watson, Marcus Foster
#11 Rhode Island Kuran Iverson, E.C. Matthews
6:50 PM TNT Tulsa, Oklahoma
#1 Kansas #3 Josh Jackson, #56 Devonte Graham, #68 Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, #83 Frank Mason, Landen Lucas, Carlton Bragg
#16 North Carolina Central/UC Davis
7:10 PM CBS Indianapolis, Indiana
#7 Dayton Charles Cooke
#10 Wichita State Markis McDuffie, Landry Shamet
One of the premier games of the NCAA Tournament first round will be played in primetime on CBS, a matchup some felt could just as well have happened in the Sweet 16 as on opening weekend. Two well-coached and highly organized teams will meet in a rare opportunity for a national audience to see what makes these programs go.
After a slow start to his college career, suffering a stress fracture two games into his freshman year, and then sputtering out of the gates as a sophomore, Landry Shamet has found his footing to emerge as one of the best guards in the country outside of the power conferences, winning Missouri Valley First Team All-Conference honors. Shamet plays quite a bit of point guard for the Shockers, despite standing 64, and is a phenomenal shooter as well at 45% for 3 on the season. Shamet struggled in games against top competition early in the season, but he now has a chance to make a stronger impression on scouts who will be out to evaluate him.
At the combo forward position, fellow MVC First Team All-Conference sophomore Markis McDuffie will have a tough matchup with Daytons Charles Cooke. Both forwards are NBA prospects who will get looks due to their physical tools, perimeter shooting, and defensive versatility.
7:20 PM TBS Greenville, South Carolina
#2 Duke #4 Jayson Tatum, #22 Luke Kennard, #28 Harry Giles, #44 Grayson Allen, #48 Frank Jackson, #54 Marques Bolden, Amile Jefferson
#15 Troy Jordon Varnado
The First Team All-Conference member will have an opportunity to showcase his talent against arguably the top small forward prospect in the 2017 Draft in Jayson Tatum, which is pretty much a dream scenario from his standpoint.
Standing 66, with solid length and athleticism, Varnado has good physical tools for the wing, even if he spends most of his time (like Tatum) currently operating at the power forward position. Hes a productive scorer and rebounder, but has shot just 33% from beyond the arc on a limited number of 3-point attempts for his college career, an area of his game that will have to improve considering his size. Still only 19, the sophomore has time to continue to refine his game, and should benefit from the experience and exposure of playing in a game of this caliber.
7:27 PM truTV Sacramento, California
#6 Cincinnati #87 Jacob Evans, Gary Clark, Troy Caupain
#11 Kansas State/Wake Forest #46 Wesley Iwundu, Xavier Sneed / #16 John Collins, Bryant Crawford
NBA scouts will likely be rooting for Wake Forest and John Collins to emerge out of the First Four in Dayton, so they can watch the potential top-20 pick compete against a tough and aggressive Cincinnati team. Collins is one of the most prolific scoring and rebounding big men in college basketball, but there are some question marks about his defense, basketball IQ and ability to space the floor from the perimeter. Cincinnatis redshirt junior Kyle Washington is a strong and experienced big man who is having a good year in his own right and will likely relish the opportunity to match up with a projected NBA draft pick, something he hasnt had many opportunities to do this season (outside of SMU).
9:20 PM TNT Tulsa, Oklahoma
#8 Miami #30 Bruce Brown, Davon Reed, Jaquan Newton
#9 Michigan State #12 Miles Bridges, Josh Langford, Nick Ward
One of the better games of the day from a competitive, as well as a scouting standpoint, this matchup in Tulsa will likely be well attended by NBA scouts due to the depth and quality of prospects found in this pod in general.
Scouts will want to see what kind of urgency and approach Miles Bridges brings to potentially his final game at the college level, and how hes able to handle an experienced frontcourt led by the likes of seniors Davon Reed and Kamari Murphy. This is one of the youngest and shortest teams Tom Izzo has been forced to trot out in many years, and theyll need Bridges to deliver on both ends of the floor if they are to have any chance of advancing to (likely) play Kansas.
Keep an eye on Miamis freshman shooting guard Bruce Brown, who is coming off a very strong ACC campaign. He is a tough, aggressive, and defensive minded combo guard who is still working on rounding out his skill-level and decision making.
9:40 PM CBS Indianapolis, Indiana
#2 Kentucky #5 DeAaron Fox, #8 Malik Monk, #31 Bam Adebayo, #85 Isaiah Briscoe, Derek Willis, Wenyen Gabriel, Isaac Humphries, Sacha Killeya-Jones
#15 Northern Kentucky
9:50 PM TBS Greenville, South Carolina
#7 South Carolina #55 P.J. Dozier, Sindarius Thornwell
#10 Marquette JaJuan Johnson, Haanif Cheatham, Luke Fischer
Dozier has impressive physical tools and looks the part of a top flight prospect on first glance, but still has plenty of work to do on his skill-level, feel for the game and shooting. A big NCAA Tournament showing, playing in his home state of South Carolina, would be a nice way to salvage this season and give him some momentum heading into the NBA Draft process, should he elect to take that route.
9:57 PM truTV Sacramento, California
#3 UCLA #2 Lonzo Ball, #20 Ike Anigbogu, #29 T.J. Leaf, Aaron Holiday, Thomas Welsh
#14 Kent State
Going 6-3, 6-5, and 6-8 along the frontline, Kent State doesnt have much size to counter UCLAs imposing slew of big men, with four rotation players standing 610 or taller. Besides Lonzo Ball, the player NBA scouts will be focusing most heavily on is Ike Anigbogu, who is rumored to be heavily considering entering the 2017 NBA Draft, despite playing only 13 minutes per game. Anigbogu is the youngest player in our Top-100 ranking, having just turned 18 in October, and is almost two years younger than some of the freshmen in our Top-100. Hes a physical specimen who changes the game with his rim-protection, offensive rebounding, energy and explosiveness, even if his offensive game and overall skill-level is quite raw.