Busting Brackets

2024 NCAA Tournament: Ranking the top 20 players from the Midwest Region

Purdue Boilermakers guard Braden Smith (3) high-fives Purdue Boilermakers center Zach Edey (15)
Purdue Boilermakers guard Braden Smith (3) high-fives Purdue Boilermakers center Zach Edey (15) / Alex Martin/Journal and Courier / USA
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4. Baylor Scheierman (Creighton)

Scheierman was named Summit League Player of the Year following his junior season at South Dakota State, but the sharpshooting forward is now causing damage at the Big East. He’s opted to spend his final two seasons of eligibility with the Bluejays, helping take this program to the Elite Eight last season. Scheierman is hoping to finish his collegiate career with similar success.

While he’s not quite shooting long-rate at the same rate as with the Jackrabbits, Scheierman is averaging 18.4 points, 9.0 rebounds, and 4.0 assists per game. Those are certainly monster numbers for a Big East forward, with Scheierman establishing himself as the league’s best defensive rebounder. Among his finest performances with a 26-point, 16-rebound effort in a recent win over Marquette, with his 3-point shooting better in recent weeks. Can Scheierman ignite another run for Creighton in what’s also his final dance?

3. Kevin McCullar Jr. (Kansas)

McCullar originally arrived at Texas Tech as a freshman in 2019, right after the Red Raiders reached the national title game. He never had that kind of success in Lubbock but put up some pretty good numbers before leaving after his junior season. McCullar would land at Kansas two seasons ago and has seen his game transform in a major way in his fifth and final collegiate campaign.

Surpassing his output from previous seasons, McCullar is averaging 18.3 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 4.1 assists per game out of the Kansas backcourt. He did miss the Big 12 Tournament and a few games earlier in the year, but McCullar is an incredible force when he’s on the court, as evident during a pair of triple-doubles (including against Kentucky) early in the season. A healthy Kansas team is scary and McCullar would be a major reason for any potential run from the Jayhawks.