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21 Players Set To Take Over March Madness

Every year, March Madness brings together the most extreme and casual sports fan for a few weeks of basketball magic and mayhem. Here's some of the best college players you'll witness make buckets to swing the fate of your brackets. We've divided them into 4 categories, or brackets, if you catch our drift.

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1) Aaron Gordon, Arizona

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The freshman dunk machine has been compared to Blake Griffin, and for good reason. They look similar, and they dunk similar. With his partner in crime Brandon Ashley out for the season, he'll need to make the leap in the tournament if Arizona wants to go deep and make a splash.

2) Jabari Parker, Duke

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Odds are you've heard of the soon to be 1st overall pick in the NBA draft. At 18 years old, 6'8 and 225 pounds, he may look like a boy but he plays like a man. Duke is always good and it's scary to think what they can do in the tournament when Jabari decides to take a game over.

3 and 4) Aaron and Andrew Harrison, Kentucky

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Part of the Kentucky recruiting class considered "the best of all time", they're freshman twin brothers that can't seem to get it together. Considered 2 of the top 10 players in the country before getting to UK, they're playing more like the Wayans and less like fellow freshman Julius Randle, who has done nothing but live up to the hype he came in with. Seriously, you won't even find a highlight reel of them from this season.

If you ask Coach Calipari, he'll blame their youth. If the Wildcats want to make a dent in the tournament, these kids will have to grow up fast.

5) Tyler Ennis, Syracuse

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He's your starting freshman point guard for the Syracuse Orangemen, and he's got more ice in his veins than you have ice in your screwdriver.

Incredibly efficient and effective in the closing moments of games with tons of talent surrounding him, we'll see how many more miracles he has up his sleeve as Cuse cruises into the big dance with high hopes. They should get far, as long as their coach can keep his voice down.

Nobody Believes In Us!

Bill Simmons aka "The Sports Guy" started his sports writing career with a mailbag heavy Boston sports blog, until ESPN noticed him and his unique sports/pop culture style in 2001. Now, he's the editor-in-chief of, featured weekly on NBA Countdown, and is probably very happy with how his life turned out.

A founder of the "nobody believes in us" theory, these are the players with a chip on their shoulder and a little extra something to prove to all the haters. Just like Bill!

6) Tekele Cotton, Wichita State

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30-0, the first team to ever do it in the regular season, Wichita State is falling victim to the mid-major "easy schedule" syndrome. However, people seem to forget this team made it to last years Final 4, only to lose to eventual champs Louisville by, coincidently, 4 points.

With Tekele Cotton, Cleanthony Early, Ron Baker and Fred VanVleet all averaging double digit points, the Shockers are poised for an undefeated season and my pick to win the whole damn tournament.

7) Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State

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Let's take a trip back in time, before Marcus Smart made a mistake in the heat of the moment and made everyone forget how good he is at basketball. This is a guy that was a projected top 3 pick in last years NBA draft, but decided to stay in college.

In retrospect, it wasn't the smartest decision. But if Marcus can cowboy up in time for the tournament, we may watch the PG redeem himself and his draft stock on the ultimate stage.

8) James Michael McAdoo, North Carolina

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JMM arrived at Chapel Hill two years ago as a heavily hyped freshman set to be a top NBA draft pick. Well, he's still playing ball for UNC and it seems his draft stock and perceived potential is dropping more consistently than his shots. With Marcus Paige taking some of the pressure off him, McAdoo is getting into a groove late in the season for an inconsistent Tarheels team.

They started the year rocky but are riding a 10 game win streak and a slew of high profile wins. If he can put it all together, look for the Tarheels to cause some major madness on a deep run.

9) Malcolm Brogdon, Virginia

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Would you ever guess that the Virginia Cavaliers are leading the ACC over Duke and UNC? Well, this year that's the case. Currently 24-5, with only 1 loss in conference play, sophomore guard Malcolm Brogdon will be out to prove this regular season performance isn't a fluke come tournament time.

10) Nik Stauskas, Michigan

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You may remember him from last years tournament as the freshman point guard who stood in the left corner all night against Florida in the Elite Eight, went 6-6 on three pointers and then hit on Kate Upton via Twitter after the victory.

This year, he's on a mission to prove that without Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr.(currently in the NBA), the Wolverines can still make it to the Final Four.

Also, he can dunk now.

11) Sam "Slam" Thompson, Ohio State

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While he may be known for his massive dunks and alley-oops, it's the big defensive plays that are harder to come by. This is a BIG DEFENSIVE PLAY. He might as well give the Mutombo finger wag after that block. With their depth, experience and coaching, OSU is always a threat in the big dance. Slam Thompson may not be the best player on the team but he's the one you'll remember watching during an 8 hour basketball binge.

12) Perry Ellis, Kansas

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He may not score as many points as Andrew Wigggins, or grab as many rebounds as Joel Embiid, but the 6'8 sophomore is happy to play third fiddle to the two freshman sensations. Soft spoken with loads of talent, don't be surprised when he steals the spotlight from his younger teammates while the Jayhawks make their way to the Elite 8.

13) Gary Harris, Michigan State

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The sophomore guard for the Spartans and future NBA stud, he's behind the wheel of one of the deepest and most talented Michigan State teams in years.

They're finally getting healthy at the right time, and with seniors Adreian Payne and Keith Appling on the court, Gary's just gotta get em the ball. Tom Izzo's team hasn't escaped the Sweet Sixteen with this group of players but this should be the year it happens.

14) Frank Kaminsky, Wisconsin

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The Badgers may not play the most exciting brand of basketball, which is why they're rarely picked for a deep tournament run, but 7'0 tall white guys who can drain 3's and play defense are always worth rooting for.

Frank Kaminsky does just that for a team that knows how to win ugly and fly under the radar.

Last Hurrah Seniors

The oldest and most experienced players on tournament bound teams, they've got everything to lose because it's their last chance! For some, March Madness will be the last time they play a meaningful game of basketball in their life.

They've experienced the agony of defeat more than once, but it's only made them stronger and more mature.

15) Russ Smith, Louisville

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Russdiculous, Russdunkulous, "The Based King" or just Russ, whatever you want to call him, get used to saying it. The NYC native is a national player of the year finalist and having his best season yet. If Louisville plans on repeating as NCAA champs, they'll need his high flying moves, clutch 3's, and chaotic on-the-ball defense.

16) Doug McDermott, Creighton

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Steph Curry, Adam Morrison, Jimmer Fredette. All of these players carried their teams during the season and had phenomenal runs during March Madness, scoring bucket after bucket even when their opponent knew they would be shooting.

Doug's dad is the coach at Creighton, and in his senior year they want to have one last magical ride together. He's score 2,917 points in his NCAA career, good for 10th all time (more than Larry Bird). Don't be surprised if he pads his stats and hits a few OH SHIT 3's as he tries to squeeze on that glass slipper and make some magic.

17) Patric Young, Florida

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To make it to the final weekend of March Madness, it helps to have experienced players anchoring your team. It's likely Florida will enter the tournament as a #1 seed, so the pressure will be on the senior center to keep hustling to make plays like this and catch lots of pretty alley-oops from his point guard and fellow senior Scottie Wilbekin.

The Gators are the only team in the country to make it to the Elite 8 three years in a row, but this year they have bigger plans. Expect to see them in the Final Four.

18) Melvin Ejim, Iowa State

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48 points and 18 rebounds. It's a stat line that puts him in the same company as Blake Griffin, Michael Beasley, and Kevin Durant, and it's the most points ever scored in a Big 12 game.

If you think the senior forward for the Cyclones isn't ready to make a statement in the big dance, he recently retweeted this quote from House of Cards.

"There is nothing more disgraceful than running from a battle".

19) Roy Marble, Iowa

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Marble, the senior point guard of the Iowa Hawkeyes, leads the team in scoring and swagger. At 6'6, the promising swingman may have his team flying under the radar in a competitive Big Ten.

Fun fact: him and Roy Marble Sr. are the only father/son duo in Big Ten history to eclipse 1,000 career points at the same school.

20) Jordair Jett, Saint Louis

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If we told you the Saint Louis Billikens were a top 10 team with a 19 game win steak under their belt, would you believe us? If we told you that a Billiken is a 100 year old charm doll, would you believe us?

Part of this teams surprise success is the senior leadership and all around play of Jordair Jett, who has a badass name and a habit of making clutch plays to win games.

21) Shabazz Napier, Connecticut

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Shabazz has an NCAA Tournament title under his belt from his days as the freshman backup point guard to Kemba Walker. On that 2011 title run, Kemba made miraculous plays on a nightly basis to take the UConn Huskies on an undefeated stretch through the Big East and March Madness tournaments.

Napier will look to bookend his college career with a similar run, and more wild buzzer beaters.

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