Busting Brackets

2024 NCAA Tournament: Ranking the Top 20 Players from the South Region

Feb 24, 2024; Waco, Texas, USA; Houston Cougars guard L.J. Cryer (4) and guard Jamal Shead (1) react
Feb 24, 2024; Waco, Texas, USA; Houston Cougars guard L.J. Cryer (4) and guard Jamal Shead (1) react / Raymond Carlin III-USA TODAY Sports
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10. Keisei Tominaga (Nebraska)

If you’ve watched a lot of Big Ten basketball then you know about Tominaga’s rise in recent years, but the rest of the country is about to find out. Born and raised in Japan, he came to America at Ranger College before finding a home at Nebraska under Fred Hoiberg back in 2021. Now in his third and final season with the Cornhuskers, Tominaga has developed into a game-changing sharpshooter and phenomenal story for a Nebraska team in the Big Dance for the first time in a decade.

Tominaga averages 14.9 points per game, shooting 59% from the floor, 37% from long range, and 87% from the free throw line. He keyed the Cornhuskers upset over Purdue back in January before dropping 31 on Illinois and 30 on Michigan in other impressive performances. When Tominaga is feeling it, there might not be a better sharpshooter in this region, and he was certainly playing inspired basketball in the final weeks of the season. Nebraska’s first ever Tournament wins might come with a Tominaga hot shooting performance.

9. KJ Simpson (Colorado)

This 6’2 guard from California was considered a Top 100 prospect when he opted to join the Buffaloes three seasons ago. Now Simpson is playing the best ball of his career and has Colorado in the NCAA Tournament for his first trip. It’s been an impressive junior year as Simpson has sometimes carried this squad in a strange Pac-12 season.

Simpson averaged 19.6 points and 4.9 assists with impressive shooting numbers, making 45% of his 3-pointers and 87% from the charity stripe. He was All-Pac-12 thanks to dynamic offensive metrics ranking among the nation’s most efficient offensive player. He can score in bunches, like when he dropped 34 on Washington State or 30 on USC, and has also flirted several times with triple-doubles. Simpson is the type of player who can almost singlehandedly lead Colorado to success in the Big Dance, and he certainly won’t have to do it alone.