March Madness Impact Players to Watch

Last Updated: March 3rd, 2009 by Travis Edwards (Bankroll Sports Contributor)

The regular season has almost concluded on this exciting year of college hoops and the attention will quickly turn to the conference tournaments games leading into selection Sunday. After selection Sunday, the brackets will be locked in place for the NCAA Tournament and you can already get some of the earliest betting odds for this year’s National Champion at and bodog sportsbooks. The previous wins and losses mean nothing when the playoff style NCAA Tournament begins and it will come down to who can step up on the biggest stage. We take a look at the players that could affect the NCAA Tournament in 2009 the most and if they will have what it takes to have their team compete for a Championship.

Blake Griffin (Oklahoma Sooners)

I believe the entire nation is aware how important Blake Griffin is to the Oklahoma Sooners after the events over the past few weeks. Griffin suffered a concussion and missed most of the game in the Sooners lost to Texas. Griffin would also miss the next game that also resulted into a losing effort to Kansas. However once Griffin returned to the lineup, Oklahoma returned to their regular dominant stature. The talented sophomore could be a lock to win National Player of the Year with 22 points and a 14 rebound average on the season. Not only could he win National Player of the Year, but would likely be a lottery pick if he chooses to leave for the NBA following this season. Griffin will try and lead the Sooners in a big way in March and he can single handedly take control of games. However, Oklahoma as a team I believe does not have what it takes to keep up with the top schools from the Big East and the ACC in March. However, if Griffin could lead Oklahoma to a Championship it would add that much more to his growing resume.

Tyler Hansbrough (North Carolina Tar Heels)

Tyler Hansbrough won the 2008 Player of the Year last season and now is the all-time leading scorer in North Carolina history. That accomplishment alone speaks volumes considering the legendary names that North Carolina has produced through their legendary history. Hansbrough got off to a semi slow start to the season, but has been nothing short of outstanding through the tough conference play this season. Hansbrough has posted 21 points and 8 rebounds on average this season. One thing that is great for Hansbrough is he does not have to be great. North Carolina owns probably the most talented lineup in America. Even if Hansbrough was to have an off night which happens as bout as much as a lunar eclipse, North Carolina still has plenty of talent to pick up the slack. The Tarheels are 5/2 favorites to win it all through the NCAA Tournament this season. Hansbrough will just be a big factor in leading the Tarheels towards a Championship run.

DeJuan Blair (Pittsburgh Panthers)

DeJuan Blair is likely the 2nd most impressive sophomore in the nation behind Blake Griffin. Pittsburgh has been stellar all season and they racked up a big win over top ranked Connecticut just two weeks ago. Blair had a solid freshman campaign and has improved in all aspects of his game. Not only has Blair become a very dangerous scoring threat, but he has become a monster on the boards pulling down an NCAA 3rd best 12.7 rebounds per game. In the Panthers big win over Connecticut, Blair had one of the biggest nights of his season with 22 points and 23 rebounds. Pittsburgh will need Blair to have those types of performances in their big games during the Tournament. If that happen, the Panthers will be very tough to beat.

Jeff Teague (Wake Forest Demon Decons)

Jeff Teague is possibly the best young guard in the country. Teague scoring threat was a big contributing factor to Wake Forest’s 16-0 start that put them on top of the polls. Even thought Wake Forest has struggled a big during ACC play, Teague has remained strong averaging 20 points on the season. The sophomore put together his biggest night of the season in one of the Demon Deacons biggest games when he posted 34 points to lift Wake Forest over North Carolina earlier this season. Unfortunately, Teague can only carry the Demon Deacons so far. Wake Forest has really been on thin ice during the latter part of the season and the inconsistent play has left a lot of question marks looming. Wake Forest is receiving 17/1 odds this season making them a team to consider making a gamble on. Teague performance in the NCAA Tournament will go along way in attempting to get Wake Forest back towards top notch play.

Stephen Curry (Davidson Wildcats)

Davidson was the Cinderella story of the 2008 NCAA Tournament. The Wildcats came out of nowhere to earn an Elite 8 appearance. Stephen Curry was a big cause to their late season run. Curry has led the nation nearly all season on top of the scoring charts. The junior guard has posted a ridiculous 28 point average this season that included two 44 point performances. The 44 point nights were not against weak opposition either as Curry put together those performances against Oklahoma and NC State. Davidson has fell victim to some unexpected losses this season and many doubt any big runs this year in March. However, Curry can keep the Wildcats in any game on any given night. Still Curry needs a bit more help from his teammates to really contend with the top teams in the country.

Which of these players would you most want on your team for this year's NCAA tournament?
(You can tell us who you chose and why in the comments section below)

  • Blake Griffin (40%, 8 Votes)
  • Stephen Curry (30%, 6 Votes)
  • Tyler Hansbrough (20%, 4 Votes)
  • DeJuan Blair (10%, 2 Votes)
  • Jeff Teague (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 20

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Posted in NCAA Basketball - Last Updated on Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009 @ 9:20 pm (EST)
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