We’re all about the #Underdog here at POINT 3. The team that shocks everyone, pulls off a huge upset, plays better as a team than what you might expect them to.
But there are also #Underdog players. The player who doesn’t score 20 points but finishes with three floor burns and a couple extra tipped loose balls that lead to critical scores for their team. Or the player who sets five screens a possession just to get a shooter on his team open. So after looking through these star-studded NCAA Final Four teams, here are the x-factor or underdog-type players who while they won't get drafted in the NBA Draft lottery will likely have a big impact on the games.
Gasser is a three-time Big Ten All-Defensive team member. He’s the only player in Wisconsin history to record a triple-double. You hear about Kaminsky, Dekker, and Hayes but the glue that keeps everything together is Gasser. He guards the other team’s best perimeter player and he’s the one spotting up on offense when one of the Badger studs gets doubled. Gasser will make some big plays this weekend - you just have to watch him closely.
All you ever hear about is Kentucky’s height. They’d be a top-five team size-wise in the NBA. Their frontline has three or four potential NBA Draft lottery picks. But the guy with the ball in crunch time is 5’7”, 155-pound freshman point guard Tyler Ulis. With a championship and a perfect season on the line, the Harrison twins will be on the wings, Karl-Anthony Towns and Willie Cauley-Stein will be patrolling the paint, and the ball will be in Ulis’ hands to make a play.
Senior leader. He’s the guy who stays after practice to help freshman Tyus Jones learn the game more. Or works extra with Jahlil Okafor on feeding him in the post. A great guy and competitor who not only gives it his all on the court, but in anyway his team needs him to. If Duke gets caught in a tough moment this weekend, they’ll lean on Cook to get them out of it.
Bang, bang, and bang some more. Costello is the blue-collar worker, the guy who sets screens until he can’t anymore, and the player who draws every stud big man assignment. With Jahlil Okafor rolling into Costello’s paint this weekend, he’ll have his biggest assignment of the season, trying to slow down the potential #1 overall pick. But you won’t see Costello complaining, just fighting.
And if Okafor doesn’t look out, Costello can put the hammer down once and a while too!