Busting Brackets

2024 NCAA Tournament: Ranking the Top 20 players from the East Region

Nov 15, 2022; Hartford, Connecticut, USA; Connecticut Huskies center Donovan Clingan (32) and guard
Nov 15, 2022; Hartford, Connecticut, USA; Connecticut Huskies center Donovan Clingan (32) and guard / David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
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6. Donovan Clingan (Connecticut)

Still just a sophomore, it’s fair to say that Clingan has already had himself one insanely successful career. A former Top 50 recruit and Connecticut native, he was an important bench piece for the Huskies as they won the national championship last season. He took on a much larger role this season and put up some great numbers despite missing time injured back in December and January.

Clingan averages 12.5 points and 7.2 rebounds as a sophomore and has had a major impact in this Huskies’ frontcourt. Certain metrics have him among the nation’s most efficient players on both sides of the ball, making 64% of his field goals while blocking 2.3 shots per game. Few teams have this kind of reliable 7’2 center that’s only continuing to shine, with his most recent effort a 22-point, 16-rebound performance over Marquette to win the Big East Tournament.

5. Boo Buie (Northwestern)

Buie is not just some random guard from Albany but the greatest basketball player in the long history of Northwestern basketball. It’s not exactly a prosperous history for the Wildcats, but Buie became the program’s all-time leading scorer and lead them to just their third ever trip to the NCAA Tournament, and their second in a row.

Buie’s fifth and final collegiate season has seen him average 19.2 points and 5.1 assists for the best figures of his career. He’s shooting a mind-boggling 44% from outside the arc to pace the Big Ten and has certainly been among the conference’s most impactful guards for several years. Buie dropped 31 points and 9 assists in a win over Purdue and has shown up on the biggest stages for Northwestern; he’s ready for another chance in the Big Dance.