Welcome, everyone. Today is the big day. Did you wear your special outfit? I hope you laminated your giant heads and tuned your vuvuzelas. Ok, take your marks.
Speaking of marks. If you still need to mark up your wild bracket, try ours! Last chance! Enter code: unicorn. The winner gets a new best friend, co-signed by a nice lady named Seth Rosenthal. If you want to quickly brush up on the East, the Midwest or the South, now’s your chance! If you want to lambada on forward, let’s get into the West region.
Killian Tillie, #33
Sophomore PF, (4) Gonzaga
This guy is coming in to the tournament dishing out hot and crusty pan di mie, open face, with a beautiful sliced heritage tomato and pleasantly dressed chopped kale with some shredded pecorino and cracked pepper. A real healthy, hearty delight.
Tillie just simply attacks every wavering step and can leave an entire defense off balance. As soon as you step in to help- the pass zips over your head. As soon as you shuffle your feet to send him weak- he’s attacked your front foot. If you’re able to recover, he can spin free an answer to your last lunging effort. Good luck figuring out how to stop this fella.
Here he is wrecking shop as half of the Nightmare Matchup Pair with, Rui Hachimura:
Robert Williams, #44
Sophomore PF, (7) Texas A&M
Can you imagine if Theo Ratliff was able to consistently can an 18-footer? Well, Robert Williams could have potentially snuck his way into the lottery last year based on that hope. He decided to go back to college and see if he can refine his game. Sadly not much changed for this extremely long limbed Aggie. And what you’re seeing might really be what you’re getting. A rim-protecting, rim-running, screen setting rebounder with quality basketball instincts (no Robert Parrish syndrome). He might hit some mid range jumpers but his horrific 32% on two-point jumpers and 46% at the line are frightening. You like him most for his shot blocking and ability to finish over the top of less athletic players.
DJ Hogg and Tyler Davis might be the propellers at the collegiate level but both of them might not find a way to hang in the NBA. Put Williams in a situation where all you need is to toss it up and let him go get it and he might be just fine, thank you very much.
Michael Porter Jr., #13
Freshman F, (8) Missouri
Not much to go on here unless you want to rehash the high school tape. Porter Jr has quite possibly the most beauteous shot in college hoops. Back surgery kept him from being able to put it on full display. At 6’10” with a melted brie stroke and high release, you might be in the presence of an All Star caliber player water ballon launcher. The lack of reps will probably make it hard to see that unfortunately.
I personally like his younger brother, Jontay, a little more, but Michael’s jump shot is just so heavenly. Missouri will be missing Jordan Barnett for their first game due to a suspension from the FBI probe. It’s entirely possible that Michael gets a ton of minutes at both forward spots. And shy, he ain’t. Let it fly, big man.
Trevon Bluiett, #5
Senior SG, (1) Xavier
Now this guy. He probably won’t launch his way into the lottery, even with a nice tournament. He should be able to wedge himself into the league though. He’s a another terrific shooter with a lightning quick release. This year he’s been connecting on 42% of his triples and more than half of his shots come from deep. So people know what he’s trying to do, and still he can get hot and just bury a team.
He has a slick shot with what seems like only two working parts. Just turns his body into a straight line up and down and flicks it off the very tips of his fingers. His shooting pocket seems like it’s above his head. Just hit him on the hands and give him an inch of space and that thing will fling.
Bluiett doesn’t have too much else to work from in his bag of tricks. He’s always been a solid team rebounder and defender but nothing extraordinary. He hits the requisite benchmarks. He’s got decent height for a wing at 6’5”, but will struggle to keep up with faster players and might not be able to hold bigger players until he adds some of that full grown adult-heft. At 22, that should be he sooner than later, which should enamor him to many teams looking to plug him right in. He’ll need to be set up more often than not and (personal favorite) JP Macura and co will help him along that path. Bluiett doesn’t give you much beyond the jumper and some college senior savvy on short, straight drives. Nevertheless he is a galvanizing force for the Musketeers.
Oh yea. Enes Kanter’s brother plays for Xavier. So feel free to joke about their defense. And while we’re talking jokes, Bill Murray is their number one fan and I’m sure he’ll be rooting for serious delirium. Xavier is a number one seed for a reason.
So there ya have it. First game kicks off at noon-fifteen. Trae Young and (10) Oklahoma Sooners take on the (7) Rhode Island Rams. All hell is currently bursting at the seams!