ESPN analyst and College Basketball expert Jimmy Dykes is the man to talk to in March. As a man who played ball at the University of Arkansas and went on to become an assistant coach at his alma mater, Sacramento State, Appalachian State, Kentucky, University of Arkansas-Little Rock, and Oklahoma State; he knows the game inside and out. He then served two seasons as a college scout for the Seattle Supersonics, so there is no one better to evaluate talent and give us some impact players we should all look forward to watching during March Madness. We kicked with Jimmy and he gave us his thoughts on the wide-open Wooden Award race.
Who are some players to look for during March Madness this year?
Who is going to be the guy? Who wants to be the guy? And who untimely produces and ends up being the guy?
There are some terrific individual talents, that’s why that Wooden Award race is still wide open as we head into the conference tournaments. Burke and Porta, Oladipo and McDermott, Kelly Olynyk, a lot of guys are still fighting for that spot. There is a handful of guys that are going to have a major impact on the NCAA Tournament. No one guy jumps out, that is why that Wooden Award is such a tight race right now. There are six or seven guys who have a legitimate chance to win it. That's what's going to make this NCAA Tournament such an interesting watch. Who's going to be the guy? Who wants to be the guy? And who untimely produces and ends up being the guy.
Is there a favorite at this time?
I don’t think we have a favorite. I think this is a year we go into the Tournament without a favorite. Whoever plays their way through this thing and wins it is really going to have to earn it. I think from the opening weekend there are about five or six teams that are built to win it more consistently than anyone else. Indiana would certainly be one of them. Louisville would be in that conversation. I think Gonzaga is for real. Georgetown is built to get there. I still like Duke with Ryan Kelly healthy. I like Duke’s chances but none of them I would say is a favorite, none of them have much separation from the field at all.
If you had to go with your gut, whom would you take this year in the big dance?
In no particular order I would say Indiana, Louisville, Duke, and Michigan State. I trust those four teams probably more than anyone else. Michigan State is a well-rounded team, Keith Appling has to be really good he’s a point guard; everybody’s point guard has to be terrific if they want to advance. No team is going to go deep if your lead guard can’t handle the moment.
Check out what he had to say about his top eight favorites to watch during the 2013 NCAA Tournament.