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NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament - Midwest Regional

Source: Jamie Sabau / Getty

I’ve sat here trying to figure out a few different blog topics the past couple of days, but nothing has really stood out. Sure, I thought about topics such as “Top 10 players in the Final Four” or “Who is the best remaining coach” (I kinda like that one) left in the tournament. And while I like all of those as discussion points, I felt we needed to take a look at some of the guys we’re not talking about this week but could absolutely make (or not make) the decisive play. I came up with 6 names of “roll” players who could swing the favor of their team…

The post Who Could be the “Unsung Hero” of the Final 4? appeared first on 93.5 / 107.5 The Fan.

Who Could be the “Unsung Hero” of the Final 4?  was originally published on

1. Cam Heide, Purdue

Cam Heide, Purdue Source:Getty

I think Matt Painter trusts Heide to come in games, play defense, flash his athleticism, and possibly give them an option at the 3-point line. I wouldn’t be stunned at all if Heide plays 12+ minutes on Friday.

Postseason averages: 5.8 points, 1.8 rebounds, 15 mins per game

2. Mason Gillis, Purdue

Mason Gillis, Purdue Source:Getty

Mason Gillis should be at the top of anyone’s “unsung hero” list, whether it be for the Final Four or regular season. Gillis has (now infamously) checked his ego at the door and accepted coming off the bench. But still, Gillis has started many second halves and has remained a steady, constant, and important player for this Purdue team. He’s proven even if not scoring (such as the Tennessee game) he can play defense, grab 8 rebounds, and dish out 3 assists. 

Postseason averages: 3 points, 3.8 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 21 mins per game

3. Mohamed Diarra, NC State

Mohamed Diarra, NC State Source:Getty

While the world has been paying attention to DJ Burns (and rightfully so) his front court running mate Mohamed Diarra has really upped his game in recent weeks. In fact, Diarra has notched 5 double doubles during the ACC/NCAA Tournaments combined. At 6’10 there’s no doubt NC State hopes Diarra can hold his own and provide rebounding and toughness against Zach Edey. His role might be more important in Saturday’s game than DJ Burns.

Postseason averages: 10.5 points, 11.8 rebounds, 32 minutes per game 

4. Jayden Taylor, NC State

Jayden Taylor, NC State Source:Getty

Indy native Jayden Taylor is an interesting story and I felt compelled to toss him on my list after his radio appearance on The Wake Up Call last week. But truth be told, Taylor’s numbers were significantly better during the regular season than the NCAA Tournament where he’s averaging less minutes, points, rebounds, and assists per game. So why include him? As you saw in the Oakland game, he can still knock down the 3 and should have ample opportunity to do so if Burns/Diarra are able to operate down low.

Postseason averages: 4.3 points, 1.8 rebounds, 18 mins per game

5. Samson Johnson, UConn

Samson Johnson, UConn Source:Getty

It’s hard to pinpoint who would be the “unsung” hero on a team that is just destroying teams in the tournament…winning the 4 games by a total of 111 points. Johnson (Donovan Clingan’s backup) has given the Huskies some quality minutes and is athletic enough to guard the pick and roll.

Postseason averages: 4.5 points, 1.8 rebounds, 15 mins per game

6. Jarin Stevenson, Alabama

Jarin Stevenson, Alabama Source:Getty

Nate Oates is basically down to a seven-man rotation with freshmen Jarin Stevenson being the first guy off the bench. Stevenson was great in the Elite 8 against Clemson when he dropped 19 points and hit 5 three pointers. I’d imagine Stevenson would get a shot at trying to control UConn’s “bigs” on Saturday.

Postseason averages: 7 points, 3 rebounds, 17 minutes per game