With the seedings announced and the brackets set, the Indiana Hoosiers have plenty of talented teams surrounding them. While the headlines for Indiana fans will be around the potential Kentucky match-up, there are a lot of players in the region to keep an eye on.
1. Tyler Ulis, Kentucky
Perhaps no point guard in America is playing quite as well as Tyler Ulis is (save for our own Yogi Ferrell). Over his last 14 games, he's averaging 19.6 points and led Kentucky in the SEC Tournament with a 25-point, 5-assist performance in the semi-final against Georgia and followed it with 30 points in the final over Texas A&M.
BBN loves to tell you how under-appreciated and underrated he is and how he's a player of the year candidate but won't get the award because he's 5'9". Fair or not, his averages match up well with Yogi Ferrell's, though his general impact on the team may not equate.
Regardless, Ulis earned SEC Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, SEC Tournament MVP, Sporting News All-American and is worth of the honors. If UK makes it out of the region, Ulis will be a big reason why.
2. Marcus Paige, UNC
Perhaps no region in the tournament will have better point guard play than the East Region. Between Ferrell, Ulis and Macus Paige along with Kris Dunn (who we will talk about later), you have four of the 8-10 best point guards in America.
Paige came into the season with much fanfare and expectations and has generally been disappointing. His point per game average of 12.1 points is down from 14.1 last year. In fact, nearly across the board, his averages are down. However, he still has plenty of tournament experience and will have a big influence on whether UNC not only advance out of the region, but make it out of opening weekend.
3. Trevon Bluiett/Remy Abell, Xavier
Most fans of Indiana will recognize these two names. Trevon Bluiett was teammate of Yogi Ferrell at Park Tudor, helping Ferrell to a state title for his own while also winning state titles as a sophomore and senior on his own.
As a freshman this season, Bluiett leads Xavier, averaging 15.5 points, 6.2 rebounds and 39.9 3-point shooting. Against Michigan earlier this season, Bluiett had 15 points and 9 rebounds. In Big East play, his averages were nearly identical to the rest of his season as he's been one of the stadnout freshman this season.
Joining him on the roster is Remy Abell, an Indiana transfer that many are familiar with. He's struggled in his junior season, but still averages 6.1 points this year 32.4% 3-point shooting, down from his 8.4 points and 41.1% 3-point shooting.
The storylines would write themselves if Indiana and Xavier met, but that would only come in the Elite Eight, which is too far down the road for either to look ahead.
4. Devin Williams, West Virginia
Also in the other half of the East Region is Press Virginia and dynamic forward Devin Williams. Williams and West Virginia have flown under the radar for most of the year as the third or fourth best team in a talented Big 12 this year, but are a match-up nightmare in tournament time.
On top of being a high-intensity pressing team, Williams is a 255-pound, 6'9" forward who dominates the paint, putting up 13.3 points and 9.3 rebounds. Against Kansas in the Big 12 tournament title game, Williams had 31 points and 10 rebounds.
Williams' presence helps the Moutaineers match-up with teams who can break down their guard-oriented press. Williams is the tallest regular rotation player for the Moutaineers and will be hard match-up for anyone who comes up against West Virginia.
5. Kris Dunn, Providence
For all the talent in this region, Kris Dunn could very well be the best player of them all. Dunn, like Paige, came into the season with much fanfare. And Dunn, like Paige, has been somewhat disappointing, but certainly not to the point of Paige.
Dunn is averaging 16.0 points, 6.4 assists, 44.2% field goal and 34% 3-point shooting. The latter three are down from last year and his points are up just 0.2 points. Despite all that, he was named the Big East Player of the Year and still sports a PER of of 22.7, which is identical to that of Ferrell's.
Providence was given a brutal draw considering their second-round match-up, should they make it that far, will be against UNC and Paige. If there's a game that you should watch in this tournament that doesn't include Indiana, the Providence-UNC battle could be the best one.