Sports

Five Players To Watch In March Madness

COLUMBUS, OH - MARCH 22: Buddy Hield #24 and Ryan Spangler #00 of the Oklahoma Sooners celebrate their 72 to 66 win over the Dayton Flyers during the third round of the 2015 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Nationwide Arena on March 22, 2015 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

David Hookstead Smoke Room Editor-in-Chief

March Madness starts Thursday, and there are some key players that everybody needs to watch.

These are the players that can be big difference-makers during the tournament.

Denzel Valentine – Forward – Michigan State

(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Valentine is a smooth-as-silk forward that possesses all the talents you look for in a star guard, forward or center. He is an elite scorer, passer and rebounder. Michigan State is incredibly hard to beat when Valentine is on the top of his game.

Buddy Hield – Guard – Oklahoma

(Photo by J Pat Carter/Getty Images)

(Photo by J Pat Carter/Getty Images)

Hield has as good of a case as anybody to be considered the best player in the country. He is an elite athlete who is capable of scoring from anywhere on the court. He’ll be a top pick in the NBA draft, after he’s done terrorizing college defenders.

Grayson Allen – Guard – Duke

(Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

(Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Allen is another player in the long line of white Duke guards who are vilified by the college basketball world. However, Allen is one of the best players in the country. He made a name for himself in the national championship game in 2015, and he’s never stopped living up to expectations since.

Nigel Hayes – Forward – Wisconsin

(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Hayes took over the Wisconsin offense after Frank Kaminsky went to the NBA, and he continues to be one of the hardest players to guard in college basketball. He has the skill set of a shooting guard with an arsenal of post moves and a 6’8″ frame. His body is built for the next level, which makes him so dangerous in college. He’s also known for being one of the funniest guys in college sports off of the court.

Diamond Stone – Center – Maryland

(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Maryland has a roster full of future NBA players, but none is more important to its tournament fate than Diamond Stone. Stone his a full-size NBA body for a center and possesses soft shooting skills and a nose for rebounding. His attitude has been called into question often, and he served a suspension after violently slamming the head of an opponent. Maryland won’t go far if Stone doesn’t live up to expectations.

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