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March Madness Regional Breakdown: Teams and Players to Watch

Indiana forward Trayce Jackson-Davis controls the ball against Iowa on February 28.

(Doug McSchooler / Associated Press)

No. 1 Houston: The Cougars await the return of Marcus Sasser, who leads them in scoring and is having an All-American season. He’s limping with a groin strain.

No. 2 Tiles: The Longhorns, who went more than two decades without a Big 12 tournament title, have won two of the last three and handled Kansas with surprising ease in this year’s final.

No. 3 Xavier: Sean Miller, in his second stint as coach at Xavier, has led the school back into the tournament. His team reached the Elite Eight in 2008.

No. 4 Indiana: After missing the tournament five years in a row (it didn’t take place in 2020), the Hoosiers are back for the second straight season under second-year coach Mike Woodson.

cinderella search

Tucker DeVries, a 6-foot-7 guard and son of Drake’s coach Darian DeVries, has averaged 19 points for the Bulldogs this season and has had some big games of late. He is key to the success of that deranged team.

best players

Trayce Jackson-Davis, forward, Indiana: Jackson-Davis was among the best players in college basketball this season, averaging 20.5 points and 11 rebounds per game.

Jalen Pickett, guard, Penn State: First-team All-Big Ten is shooting 56.6% and averaging 20 points in the last 10 games for the Nittany Lions.

Marcus Sasser, guard, Houston: Sasser, still recovering from a groin injury that sidelined him from the conference tournament final, is averaging 17.5 points, 3.3 assists, 2.9 rebounds and 1.8 steals this season.

hoop shots

  • Kennesaw State went 1-28 in 2019-20, making it the fastest program in history to go from a one-win season to the NCAA tournament.
  • Rodney Terry has made a splash as the Texas Longhorns’ interim coach, taking over after Chris Beard was fired in January.
  • As a team, Houston is mired in sadness. Coach Kelvin Sampson’s twin sister, Karen, died Friday morning, a few hours before the top-ranked Cougars opened the AAC tournament.

— Farmer Sam