You may not know these playmakers now, but they will be household names by this weekend:
1. Cam Long, George Mason: George Mason shocked the world in 2006 and made the most unlikely of NCAA tournament runs, culminating in a Final Four berth. Five years later, the eighth-seeded Patriots could play the Cinderella role all over again. Look for Long, a do-everything senior guard shooting 48 percent, to give Villanova fits on Friday and Ohio State a scare on Sunday.
2. Keith Benson, Oakland: The 6-foot-11 Benson could bust up your bracket versus Texas, which was outscored 41-15 on the interior in its last game. One of the few polished big men in America, the senior center averaged 18 points and 10 rebounds.
3. Demetri McCamey, Illinois: A four-year starter, he’s the go-to man in the clutch even if he hasn’t always played like it. The Illini are a senior-laden, sharp-shooting team just like Northern Iowa was last year when it stunned Kansas in the second round.
4. Tai Wesley, Utah State: Jimmer Fredette isn’t the only electrifying scorer in the state of Utah this year. The 24-year-old leads a 30-win Utah State team that is absurdly seeded as a 12. We can see him erupting against an undersized Kansas State front.
5. Kenneth Faried, Morehead State: The senior forward pours in 17.6 points and 14.5 rebounds for the OVC?champs. The Eagles’ bruising style matches up nicely with Louisville, which
hasn’t played regularly against dominant bigs in the Big East.