As March Madness slowly approaches, Jake Rinehart shares who to watch rolling into March
College basketball is heating up, as we inch closer to March Madness.
There are certain players that have been lighting it up all season, such as Trae Young of Oklahoma and Marvin Bagley III of Duke, but let’s look at some of the lesser known players who have made a big impact for their team.
Shooting guard Trevon Bluiett (Xavier) has had an excellent season that has gone mostly unnoticed. Bluiett is averaging 19.2 points per game (PPG), 5.6 rebounds per game (RPG), and 2.7 assist per game (APG). Bluiett has led the No. 5 Muskateers to a 22-3 overall record, including 9-1 in the Big East. Bluiett is also a big reason why Xavier is also on a seven-game winning streak. During that span, Bluiett has averaged nearly 21 PPG and 6 RPG. Bluiett is also only a handful of players to score in double figures in every game played this season.
Senior point guard Jevon Carter (West Virginia) has had an amazing year on both ends of the floor. Carter plays for the well-known “Press Virginia” defense, which has been leading the nation in steals, and so has Carter with 3.3 steals per game (SPG). Carter is also averaging 16.6 PPG, 5.0 RPG, and 6.8 APG. Carter not only ranks first in the nation in SPG, but he is also ranked No. 11 in APG. Carter has shown great leadership in crunch-time, leading the No. 14 Mountaineers to an 18-6 record.
Carter is an elite defender and can guard the best of them. When the Oklahoma Sooners hosted the Mountaineers on Monday, Carter had the challenging task of guarding one of the best players in the nation this season: Trae Young. Young is ranked first in the nation with 9.3 APG, but only had one assist all game against Carter. The lone assist came with 1:28 to play in the game, where West Virginia would hold on to a 75-73 victory in Norman, Oklahoma.
Carter’s teammate, Sagaba Konate (West Virginia) is also having a stellar year. The 19-year-old sophomore is averaging 10.7 PPG, 8.1 RPG, and a career best 3.2 blocks per game. Konate has added six double-doubles to his name this season. He has also become one of the premiere shot blockers in the nation. Konate also has seven games where he has tallied over five blocked shots this season as well.
The final player having a huge impact for his team this season is Admiral Schofield (Tennessee). Schofield is averaging 12.5 PPG, 6.3 RPG, and 1.6 APG, all of which are career-highs for the junior. Schofield has made his presence known this season, forcing defenders to have to change their shot selection due to his size. He stands at only six-foot-five but comes in at a strong 238 lbs. Schofield is strong in the paint and is not afraid to take, or give, some contact. Schofield has helped lead the Volunteers to a 18-5 record. The team from Rocky Top is also ranked No. 15, the first time that the Volunteers have been ranked in the Top 25 since 2010.