The "second" round of the NCAA Tournament is over, and things are starting to heat up in college hoops. The stage is getting brighter, which means that the audiences are getting larger. That sets us up a perfect venue for watching tomorrow's NBA players.
For the Round of 64, we gave NBA fans a schedule of NBA prospects to keep an eye one. We're doing the same thing for the Round of 32. Below is a suggested viewing guide for the first day of the third round.
EARLY AFTERNOON SHIFT: 4. Louisville vs. 5. Saint Louis (2:45 p.m. ET, CBS)
Louisville was tied with Manhattan in the Round of 64 with two minutes left in the game, but squeaked by thanks to some huge, late shots from senior guard Luke Hancock. Thankfully, Hancock came through, because Louisville sophomore forward Montrezl Harrell (ranked No. 20 on DraftExpress) could use a few more tournament games to up his draft stock. He's a little undersized (6'7 in shoes), but he has a huge wingspan (7'3), can jump out of the gym and lives above the rim. Harrell flies up and down the floor in transition looking for oops and loves chasing blocks on the weak side. Against Manhattan, he swatted four and grabbed 13 rebounds. He's a little like Kenneth Faried, but Faried was asked to produce way more for Murray State than Harrell is for Louisville. The problem with Harrell is that he isn't very skilled and in the NBA, he would be a small power forward. In the right system, on a fast paced, up-and-down team, he could flourish.
Louisville's senior point guard, Russ Smith, is another potential NBA player. Smith's problem in his first three years was that he displayed erratic and inconsistent shot selection and he failed as a lead playmaker for his teammates. In his senior year, he's tempered some of that shot selection this season and he's become a much better assist man (6.4 assists per 40). He's a pesky college defender, but he's tiny (6-foot, 165 pounds), almost 23 years old and there's still doubt that he could run an NBA team. As a reserve spark plug, he could thrive, but it'll take some convincing for a team to take a chance on him.
Other top prospects in this time slot: Lamar Patterson (No. 84, 12:15 p.m. ET, CBS), Talib Zanna (12:15 p.m. ET, CBS), Chris Walker (No. 40, 12:15 p.m. ET, CBS), Patric Young (No. 48, 12:15 p.m. ET, CBS), Michael Frazier (12:15 p.m. ET, CBS)
MID-DAY SHIFT: 2. Michigan vs. 7. Texas (5:15 p.m. ET, CBS)
Michigan got off to a slow start in the second half, but cruised past Wofford. Sophomore guard Nik Stauskas (no. 17) scored an efficient 15 points on nine shots, but he was never really forced into a position to take over in the Round of 64. Sophomore wing man Glenn Robinson III struggled from the field (6-of-14). The duo is Michigan's two best NBA prospects and they will face a much tougher challenge against Texas.
The Longhorns are anchored on defense by 6'10, 262-pound center named Cameron Ridley. The big man hit a game-winning put back against Arizona State in the second round. Ridley finished with 17 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks against the Sun Devils. He's a fantastic prospect in his own right, but needs to work on his conditioning before he will log any consistent floor time in the NBA.
Other top prospects in this time slot: Dwayne Polee (6:10 p.m. ET, TNT)
NIGHT SHIFT: 2. Wisconsin vs. 7. Oregon (7:45 p.m. ET, CBS)
Wisconsin small forward Sam Dekker could use a strong tournament run to improve his draft stock. After a promising freshman season, he flatlined in his sophomore year. His three-point percentage dipped from 39.1 to 32.5 and he showed very little overall improvement with eight more minutes of playing time. At one point, he was a potential lottery pick; he is a versatile wing man with prototypical size (6'7) who can create for others, score on his own and works very well off the ball. But he hasn't really improved in a way that one would like to see. This is a pretty good chance to break out on a national stage.
LATE NIGHT SHIFT: 2. Villanova vs. 7. Connecticut (9:40 p.m. ET, TBS)
The late night game is, admittedly, not the best game here for NBA prospects. Connecticut's senior point guard, Shabazz Napier (no. 85), has the best chance of making a roster. He's lightning quick, a great scorer with the ball in his hands and he's improved as a rebounder and playmaker in his senior season. The Huskies squeaked past Saint Joseph's in overtime in the Round of 64, and Napier led them. He finished with 24 points, eight rebounds, six assists and three steals. He's small (6'1, 185 lbs), turnover prone (3.2 per 40 minutes) and still displays some dicey shot selection. But he's experienced and can score from anywhere on the floor. He's a prime candidate to make a summer team.