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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14. Trey Alexander (Creighton)

An impressive former Top 100 recruit from Oklahoma City, Alexander has turned into quite the guard for the Bluejays in recent years. He arrived on campus in 2021 and worked into a major role last season, helping take Creighton to the Elite Eight. While his long-range shooting has taken a step back, he’s put even more impressive numbers in a more important role as a junior and has Creighton right where they want to be.

Alexander is averaging 17.6 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 4.8 assists for the Bluejays and has been a complete package in the backcourt. His overall scoring numbers are up, though he’s just 32% from outside the arc, earning All-Big East honors for the first time. Alexander has surpassed 20 points several times, like in nice wins over Iowa and Xavier and dropped 31 on St. John’s in late February. He does a lot of little things for an eccentric Creighton lineup and shoulders the load as the Bluejays hope for another deep Tourney run.

13. Graham Ike (Gonzaga)

The story with Ike is an unfortunate one, as he developed into a massive star at Wyoming as an underclassman before having to miss the entirety of last season with medical issues. Now a redshirt junior, Ike opted to transfer and landed at Gonzaga, assuming a major role for a Bulldogs program certainly in need of new blood in the frontcourt.

This prosperous first season in Spokane has seen him average 16.5 points and 7.2 rebounds for the Bulldogs, numbers that are just a hair under his performance at Wyoming from two years ago. He’s taken on an important role on both sides of the ball for the Bulldogs, leading the WCC in made field goals. Ike recently had a string of seven consecutive 20-point outings and can certainly make a major different for the Bulldogs if he’s efficient close to the basket like that again this week.