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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18. Ryan Nembhard (Gonzaga)

Nembhard was a Top 100 player in the Class of 2021, opting to play point guard at Creighton. He was an extremely important piece for the Bluejays in two seasons, including an Elite Eight run last year, before choosing to transfer to Gonzaga. Nembhard has had an impactful junior season at the same school where brother Andrew played a few years ago and has the Bulldogs feeling a potential run ahead of them.

In his first season in Spokane Nembhard is averaging 12.9 points and 6.7 assists per game, sitting among the national leaders in assists. He’s a high octane backcourt weapon for the Bulldogs who is both capable of 20-point performance and as an elite ball distributor. Nembhard has double-doubles in his last three games, including two tough matchups with Saint Mary’s, and will be one of the most effective point guards in the Tournament field.

17. Emanuel Miller (TCU)

Following two seasons at Texas A&M, including an impressive sophomore season with those Aggies, Miller opted to transfer to TCU and has now spent three seasons as a starting forward for the Horned Frogs. Miller has seen the roster change him around him and now stands as TCU’s most important piece, getting TCU to yet another NCAA Tournament appearance.

Miller averages 15.9 points and 5.9 rebounds, standing out as TCU’s top scoring threat. He was one of the top players in the Big 12 according to offensive metrics and had multiple standout efforts. Miller dropped 29 including that bizarre game-winner against Georgetown and just scored 26 against Oklahoma in the Big 12 Tournament last week. He causes all kinds of damage and will be vital to any kind of run for the Horned Frogs that might come.