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Trae Young vs. Collin Sexton is the point guard showdown the NBA has been waiting for

The 2018 NBA draft’s top two point guards will go head-to-head on Saturday.

NCAA Basketball: South Carolina at Alabama Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama will host Oklahoma in an SEC-Big 12 matchup on ESPN Saturday afternoon at 2:15 p.m. ET. Aside from March Madness implications, this game features the likely top two point guard picks in the 2018 NBA draft: Trae Young and Collin Sexton. Get used to these names if you aren’t already, as both have potential to be lottery picks in June.

Young is the three-point shooter NBA teams dream of finding in their backcourt. He’s willing to shoot from wherever, whenever, and he does so to a ridiculously accurate percentage. He’s already drawn comparisons to Steph Curry at the next level and has established himself as the early front-runner for college basketball’s player of the year awards. He also leads the nation in points AND assists per game, which is just silly.

Sexton has lived on draft radars since before the season started, and he has the physical makeup of what we know modern scoring guards look like. He’s a smidge shorter than what’s desired at 6’2, but his 6’6.5 wingspan makes up for it. What he really capitalizes on, though, is his speed and ability to go from slow, high dribbles into a quick dribble-move to get to the basket. At his best, he can get to the basket at will.

Saturday afternoon is a big day for both of these prospects to separate from one another. For Young, it’s a battle against an NBA-sized guard. For Sexton, it’s his chance to establish himself as the top guard choice.

So what should you be on the lookout for when scouting the NBA’s next top guards?

Sexton’s change of speeds

Sexton is among the best in the country at getting to the rim and thus, the free-throw line. He doesn’t rely solely on lightning speed. He’s creative on the move and resourceful with his dribbles.

The Tide’s point guard is shifty and can go from dribbling upright to blowing by his defender in an instant.

Sexton’s first few steps are so explosive that he always seem to keep defenders at his hip. That’s why he’s among the country’s leaders in free-throw attempts (7.7 per game and 14.9 per 100 possessions).

Young’s range is really [expletive] ridiculous

If you’ve watched a single possession from Young, you know he’s an unreal shooter. Defenses try their best to chase him off the line with their quickest defenders, but for the most part, it’s to no avail.

That’s because he can just do this:

Or this:

Young is taking 10.5 three-point attempts per game -- more than half his shots — and shooting at a 40 percent rate. That’s otherworldly except in the world where Curry dominated at Davidson.

Young’s release is quick, fluid, and limitless. He’s consistently pulling up from deeper and deeper behind the line, and it hasn’t seemed to matter much. He’s scoring the most points in the country at 30.3 per game and doing so with a 61.7 true-shooting percentage.

The Sooners have the No. 15 offense in DI basketball, per KenPom, and so much of that has to do with Young’s 40.6 percent usage rate. He’s carrying one of the best teams in the country, and that’s what makes him so exciting to watch.

Sexton’s ability to create his own shot

He isn’t the long-range gunner that Young is, but Sexton fires at 36.7 percent from three on 3.5 attempts per game. He isn’t often shooting set shots either. With the ball in his hands, he’s often forced to create his own space.

His shot is pure, his feet are spread apart, and his form is as pleasant to look at as it is efficient. He’s an 80.2 percent free-throw shooter as well, meaning he’s likely to maintain his high shooting efficiencies at the next level.

Young’s court vision

Young is a scorer, but that’s not his only contribution on the floor. He has elite vision running with the ball. Though his first instinct is to fire from long range, his teammates can’t be unhappy when he has the ball because he does a stellar job locating them.

Young leads the nation at 9.6 assists per game and can really own being the decoy. Extra attention being paid to the most prolific scorer in college hoops opens doors for Young’s teammates. There’s a reason he has the top assist rate in the nation.

Young can locate spot-up shooters off the drive and weave passes through traffic in the halfcourt. His offensive game shows few bounds against this level of competition.

So what’s the catch with Sexton?

As great as is he as a scorer, there is the question of what else he can do at the next level. He averages 3.4 assists and 3.5 rebounds, which is fine, but far from elite. Where he could stand out in the NBA is as a defender with such a long wingspan. He’s averaging a steal per game, but he’s yet to separate himself from his peers on that end.

So what’s the catch with Young?

There’s no denying Young’s range and passing skills, but the question will be if he can overcome his underwhelming size and athleticism to be the same type of threat in the NBA. Young is listed at 6’2, and his wingspan is the same. He’s compared to Curry often, but even Curry had size on Young, and it’s easy to forget that the Warriors’ great is the exception.

Young is also turning the ball over at the highest rate in the nation with 5.3 per game, which has a lot to do with how often the ball is in his hands. But his life will only get tougher against NBA defenses.