March Madness is one of the best times of the year for basketball fans, as the NCAA Men’s Championship gets into full swing over the course of this month.
Which of the players taking part are likely to catch your eyes with their skills? Who are the ones leading the odds as possible MVPs of the Bovada March Madness odds?
Check out who we want to keep an eye for next month’s competition.
Kofi Cockburn – Illinois Fighting Illini
Currently rated as the favorite to win the tournament’s award for the MVP, Cockburn is a Jamaica-born player who moved to New York in his early teens. The 7-foot center quickly shone at basketball and when the time came to choose a college team he had more than two dozen offers to choose from. A four-star recruit, Cockburn won the Big Ten Freshman of the Year award for a spectacular first season as his team’s second-top scorer.
Having initially announced that he was going to take part in the 2020 NBA Draft, the player eventually changed his mind and rejoined his college team before doing the same thing in the 2021 Draft. A great March Madness performance will certainly enhance his chance of getting a good team in the next draft.
Oscar Tshiebwe – The Kentucky Wildcats
With Kentucky one of the favorites to win this tournament, there is a good chance that one of their players is the individual star in March. Oscar Tshiebwe joined the team at the start of 2021 and has carved out a formidable reputation for offensive rebounding. The 6’9” center was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo and only started playing basketball in his teens before moving to the US shortly afterwards.
He played for a spell with the West Virginia Mountaineers as a five-star recruit before heading to Kentucky to continue his career. A record-breaking 28 rebounds in a single game at the end of 2021 showed how dominant Tshiebwe is in this aspect of the sport. As the number one player in the country for offensive and defensive rebounds, you’re almost certain to notice him during this March.
Ochai Agbaji – The University of Kansas
Ochai Agbaji is one of the key players that could drive Kansas to success in the NCAA tournament. Born in Milwaukee, he seemed to set for a promising career in soccer before focusing on basketball at Oak Park High School. During his senior year there he averaged 27.6 points and 8.6 rebounds.
As a three-star recruit for Kansas, Agbaji scored 24 points on his first start and got a double-double in the next game. His senior season in 2021 started with a strong 29-point performance and he followed that up with a career-high of 37 points against Texas Tech, helping to make him one of the favorites to steal the show in March.
Johnny Davis – The Wisconsin Badgers
The Wisconsin Badgers currently sit outside the big favorites for March Madness, which include teams such as Gonzaga and Auburn. Yet, their chances of doing well are helped by having an excellent player like Johnny Davis in their roster. Davis is a shooting guard who played for La Crosse Central High School before joining Wisconsin.
He was also a promising football quarterback but opted to concentrate on basketball. A career high of 37 points in an impressive 74-69 victory over Purdue in January suggests that he could be moving up to the next level just in time for the NCAA event. He has also represented the US at the 2021 FIBA Under-19 World Cup, where the Americans collected the gold medal.
Paolo Banchero – The Duke Blue Devils
Another of the teams expected to do well, Duke has a strong roster with Paolo Banchero as one of the possible stars of this championship. Banchero was a five-star recruit for the Blue Devils and is rated as one of the top players of his generation. He is expected to be a lottery pick in the 2022 NBA Draft.
At 6 foot 10, this power forward scored 22 points in a winning debut against Kentucky. A string of impressive performances after this saw him score 28 points in a single game and also earn the Freshman of the Week award at the Atlantic Coast Conference. Known as a versatile defender with strong athletic ability, his stats during March Madness could be crucial to his team’s progress.
When to Watch the March Madness Games
March 13 is when the NCAA tournament begins, with the Selection Sunday stage of March Madness. This starts an intense period of games where the teams need to go through the Sweet Sixteen, Elite Eight, and Final Four stages. The NCAA Championship game is the last game in the series, and it’s played on April 5 at Caesars Superdome in New Orleans. By that date, we will know who the final two teams are and will have a much clearer idea of which players will be remembered as the stars of the event.