The Sweet 16 is upon us as March Madness inches closer to the Final Four and the National Championship game. The stars of the college basketball world have already shown off in the first two rounds, so let's take a look at the guys who have put up the best performances heading into the Sweet 16.
These rankings certainly reflect how the players have performed all season, but are more slanted toward who has done the most so far during the tournament. This list is also simply about college. So while you'll see some players that are high on draft boards, you'll also see the guys who NBA teams aren't as interested in.
This is, of course, a subjective list. Who do you think deserves recognition? Leave a comment and tell me how wrong I am for leaving out your favorite player.
Believe me, there's many more than 10 stars in the college basketball world, and more guys than just these 10 players have had strong tournaments, but here's the guys who have impressed the most so far in March Madness.
10. Nigel Williams-Goss, Gonzaga
The Zags' star recovered from a less than ideal 4-of-13 shooting performance in the first round against South Dakota State to lead Gonzaga past Northwestern wth 20 points in the second round. His first-round showing is the only thing holding him back on this list — he's the type of player who can lead a team deep into the tournament.
9. De'Aaron Fox, Kentucky
How good has the Kentucky freshman looked? Fox is a do-it-all point guard who has shown the ability to score and even play a little defense. The freshman is likely a high draft pick in the upcoming NBA Draft, and it's easy to see why. Fox has 33 points in the tournament and has shown his explosiveness on multiple occasions.
8. Trevon Bluiett, Xavier
Bluiett has been one of the most explosive players in the tournament so far, guiding Xavier to an upset in each of their games. He had 21 points against Maryland and 29 more against Florida State, totaling 50 points and grabbing 10 total boards. He's also 12-of-16 from the free throw line and has shot 8-of-15 from three-point range.
7. Justin Jackson, North Carolina
The ACC Player of the Year has lived up to the billing so far in the NCAA Tournament. Jackson is an athletic forward who has shown he can score in multiple ways. He has 36 points, 15 rebounds and eight assists so far in the tournament, and is shooting well from three-point range, hitting 8-of-14 attempts from deep (57.1 percent).
6. Bronson Koenig, Wisconsin
While Wisconsin's three best players — Koenig, Nigel Hayes and Ethan Happ — have all played well in the tournament, Koenig is simply on fire. He's scored 45 points in the tournament so far, including a 28-point showing in the Virginia Tech game in which he hit 8 three-pointers. He was in foul trouble late in the Badgers upset of Villanova, but returned to the court to score eight of the Badgers final 15 points during a 15-5 run to close the game.
5. Sindarius Thornwell, South Carolina
Possibly the biggest surprise on this list, Thornwell is having himself an incredible NCAA Tournament run. He was instrumental in the Gamecocks' victories over Marquette and Duke, and leads all players in the NCAA Tournament with 53 points (29 against Marquette and 24 against Duke). He's 6-of-12 from three-point range, 15-21 from the free throw line and 16-of-34 from the field. He's had one of the best tournament performances so far.
4. Lonzo Ball, UCLA
Possibly the best all-around player in the NCAA Tournament, Lonzo Ball has scored 33 points and added 12 assists and 11 rebounds. His on-court play making abilities shine through every time he has the ball in his hands, and he's helped UCLA overcome some struggles to make it into the Sweet 16.
3. Caleb Swanigan, Purdue
The big man in the middle for the Boilermakers has been a load to handle in the NCAA Tournament. He has scored 36 points and pulled down 26 rebounds, and he has a double-double in each of Purdue's wins over Iowa State (20 and 12) and Vermont (16 and 14).
2. Josh Jackson, Kansas
Jackson is one of the best players left in the Sweet 16 field, and he's shown it. He has 40 points and 10 rebounds so far in the tournament for a Kansas team that looks unstoppable. Jackson has also shown off his defensive capabilities with three blocks and three steals. But to truly understand his performances, you simply have to watch.
1. Frank Mason III, Kansas
Another Kansas star, having two Jayhawks this on top of this list highlights just how dominant Kansas has been in the tourney. Mason has 42 points, 13 assists and seven rebounds in the tournament. He's 14-of-30 from the field and has orchestrated two impressive Kansas victories. He's clearly one of the best players remaining in the Sweet 16.