Busting Brackets

2015 NCAA Tournament West Region: Five Best Players


The West Region of the 2015 NCAA Tournament is stocked with future NBA talent and college stars. Here is a look at the best five players out West. 

The West Region has a familiar feel. Just as in 2014, Wisconsin and Arizona are the top two seeds and appear headed for a rematch in the Staples Center.

Who are the stars that will lead their teams through the West Region? Here is a look at the top five players in the West Region.

Frank Kaminsky (Wisconsin)

Kaminsky must be atop the list for national player of the year (18.2 ppg, 8.0 rpg). He is the best inside-out threat in the country and his skill set for a player his size is a matchup nightmare. Kaminsky is the key cog in Bo Ryan’s Swing Offense and from the block, from beyond the 3-point line, or in transition, Kaminsky is the star that powers the Badgers.

Kaminsky is vital to a Wisconsin offense that leads the nation in adjusted offensive efficiency. Kaminsky is not only the best player in the West Region, but has been the best player in college basketball this season. Before heading to the NBA, Kaminsky wants to add a national title to his credentials.

D’Angelo Russell (Ohio State)

Ohio State has had its ups and downs this season, but the Buckeyes were still dazzling due to the versatile skills of Russell. He was the leading scorer in the nation among freshmen (19.3 ppg). Russell is a wonderful mixture of shooting, court vision and basketball IQ.

Thad Matta and the Buckeyes will go as far as Russell will take them. Take a good look at Russell while you can as he is likely an NBA lottery pick.

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  • Bobby Portis (Arkansas)

    The Razorbacks are back in the tourney and have gotten there using their trademark “Fastest 40” style. Portis, the SEC’s player of the year this season, is one of the best two-way power players in college basketball (17.6 ppg, 8.6 rpg) and a rising prospect. His ability to both score at a high rate in the paint and step away and knock down jump shots is nearly unstoppable on offense.

    Portis also has defensive ability around the rim and on the perimeter. Even at the front of the Razorbacks’ press, Portis is the centerpiece for the up-tempo Razorbacks.

    Tyler Haws (BYU)

    BYU runs and runs and then runs some more. The hyper-kinetic Haws scores in bunches in this attack (21.9 ppg). How much? Haws is 23rd on the NCAA’s all-time scoring list and is BYU’s all-time leading scorer ahead of the likes of Danny Ainge and Jimmer Fredette. He’s an elite shooter with a quick release. Haws scores from deep, from mid-range, and at the rim.

    The Cougars are in the First Four in Dayton where they face Ole Miss. Haws and BYU’s scoring ability can lead the Cougars out of Dayton and even into the second weekend.

     Stanley Johnson (Arizona)

    Johnson is on a balanced Arizona squad, but on talent alone he might be the best prospect in the West Region. Johnson has phenomenal athletic ability which makes him one of the best wings in the country on both ends of the floor. The Wildcats play tough defense and get out and run in transition and Johnson is key to Sean Miller’s attack.

    If the Wildcats are to advance past Wisconsin and into their first Final Four since 2001, Johnson will have to shoot the ball better from outside. His attack game is tough, but will only carry the Wildcats so far.

    Other West Region stars such as Marcus Paige, Rico Gathers and Le’Bryan Nash will have their shot to prove they belong on this list. Them and many more will have to play well to prevent the Arizona-Wisconsin rematch.

    Next: 2015 NCAA Tournament: Which #1 Seed Has The Easiest Road?