Duke's Marvin Bagley III

Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

Marquee Players And Coaches Highlight Local NCAA Games

Bagley, Young, Sexton, Krzyzewski, Wright Will Be At PPG Paints Arena

Eric Hagman
March 11, 2018 - 8:26 pm

Pittsburgh (93.7 The Fan) - The NCAA selection committee didn't punish Pittsburgh for the city's worst college basketball season in recent memory.  Headlining the eight teams that will begin tournament play Thursday at PPG Paints Arena are Villanova, the No. 1 seed in the East, and Duke, the No. 2 seed in the Midwest and, arguably, the bluest of the blue blood programs. 

The players should have local fans even more excited.  It's hard to imagine another venue matching the star power that will be in Pittsburgh.  Start with Duke's Marvin Bagley III.  The 6'11" freshman was named ACC Player of the Year, All-ACC first team and Rookie of the Year.  Teammate Wendell Carter, Jr was named to the second team and Grayson Allen to the third team.

Bagley is a candidate for National Player of the Year and so is Oklahoma guard Trae Young.  The freshman sensation led the NCAA in scoring average and assists.  Alabama guard Collin Sexton is another dynamic player.  The freshman averaged 19.0 ppg for the season and 25.5 over his last four games.   Villanova's Mikal Bridges scored at least 18 points in each of his last nine games.  Jalen Brunson was Villanova's leading scorer for the season and dropped 31 on Providence in the Big East Tournament championship game.

And let's not forget about the coaches. The Blue Devils' Mike Krzyzewski has won five NCAA championships, most recently in 2015.  The Wildcats' Jay Wright won in 2016.  Leading Virginia Tech is the always-entertaining Buzz Williams, whose team defeated Duke and also handed Virginia, the top overall seed, its only ACC loss.  It may be another coach--Rhode Island's Dan Hurley--who attracts the most interest from the local media and fans as he is believed to be under consideration for the Pitt coaching vacancy.