There’s always one: one player from a tiny school who takes over a first-round game and leads his team to a surprise upset that forever lives in YouTube infamy. Yes, Bryce Drew, we’re looking directly at you.
Sure, as a college hoops fan, you like seeing a player from a small school help topple a giant. But there’s a downside to such early-round heroics: it usually leads to a seriously busted bracket. (To wit, we’d love to meet the handful of people who had that ’98 Valpo team beating Ole Miss and Florida State. You’re all crazy.)
To help avoid your bracket ending up in tatters, we’ve teamed up with The UPS Store®, those masters of small business solutions, to bring you the five players from small schools most likely to destroy your bracket.
1. Brett Comer (PG, Florida Gulf Coast Eagles)
The sophomore point guard is only the fourth leading scorer on the Eagles, but he is the leading assist man for Florida Gulf Coast and truly the player who makes this team go. He had a turnover-free, 8-assist game in FGCU’s win over Miami this year, so he has a knack for showing up in big games.
2. Nate Wolters (SG, South Dakota State Jackrabbits)
The Jackrabbits are back in the tourney for the second year in a row, thanks to the sharp shooting of the senior guard. Wolters scored 53 in a game earlier this season, so he is absolutely capable of wreaking havoc in South Dakota’s opening rounder.
3. Jamal Olasewere (SF, LIU Brooklyn Blackbirds)
Olasewere gets the distinction of being the most complete player on this list. He averages 18.9 points and 8.5 rebounds per contest, and he’s had a double-double in four of his last five games. If the Blackbirds are going to do some bracket busting, it will be because of the guy with the hard-to-pronounce last name.
4. Kevin Van Wijk (PF, Valparaiso Crusaders)
The Hoofddorp, Netherlands native has been a force for Valpo in the post all season, but his recent Horizon League tournament play is why he made the list. He had a double-double against Wright St. in the conference finals, and he had a 15-point, 14-rebound game just two weeks ago against Youngstown State. If the Crusaders are going to make some noise, they’ll do so because of Van Wijk’s presence down low.
5. Zeke Marshall (C, Akron University Zips)
The senior big man averaged 13.0 points and 6.9 rebounds per game this season, but he’s a game changer because of his shot blocking ability. Zeke averaged 3.6 blocks per game and had a 9 block game earlier this year against Toledo. If Akron’s seven-foot shot swatter gets going, he could make your bracket cry.
And just like college basketball, when it comes to running a small business, having the right lineup makes all the difference. That’s why The UPS Store® created the Small Business Tool Kit. The Small Business Tool Kit provides the promotional firepower to promote your start-up business or give your established business a marketing boost. Consider them the Bryce Drew to your small business’ Valparaiso.
Head on over to your local The UPS Store® for details about how to keep your small business winning and be sure to check back every week here on HoopsHype for tournament updates sponsored by The UPS Store®.