It’s been a rare few weeks in the NCAA Tournament, even by March Madness’ often wild standards.
Three of the remaining teams – Florida Atlantic, San Diego State, and Miami – have never been to a Final Four. It’s the first time that’s happened since 1970.
Going back a round, it’s the first time ever a No. 1 seed hasn’t reached the Elite Eight.
FAU had never won an NCAA Tournament game prior to this year.
All this makes sifting through these teams for potential NBA prospects a fairly daunting task.
In fact, according to David Cobb of CBS Sports, there are a grand total of zero McDonald’s All-Americans in this year’s Final Four. It’s the first time that’s happened since 1979 when the NCAA first began seeding the tournament.
That doesn’t mean all four teams – adding Connecticut into the mix – are completely devoid of NBA talent. Even in the crazy world of college basketball in one of the craziest tournaments in recent memory, these teams wouldn’t be where they are without skilled players.
Having said that, which of the players in this (admittedly small) group could be fits for the Portland Trail Blazers at the next level?
4. Adama Sanogo, Connecticut Huskies
Sanogo has greatly increased his draft profile during UConn’s tournament run. The 6-foot-9, 240-pound center has dominated inside, often looking like the best big man on the floor regardless of matchup.
Sanogo averaged 17 points and 7.5 rebounds on 60 percent shooting during the regular season. The junior seemingly has a knack for the moment, though, as those numbers have jumped to 20 points and 10 rebounds on 65.5 percent shooting in the postseason.
Even against Gonzaga, one of the best and most efficient teams in the country, Sanogo posted a 10-point, 10-rebound double-double. He helped get the Zags’ Drew Timme – a three-time All-American and a finalist for this year’s Naismith Player of the Year Award – in foul trouble, which essentially removed Timme from the game as the Huskies beat Gonzaga by 28 points.
Sanogo has been the most dominant big man in the tournament. The Blazers could use someone like that.