Busting Brackets

2024 NCAA Tournament: Ranking the top 20 Players from the West Region

Feb 26, 2024; Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels forward Armando Bacot (5)
Feb 26, 2024; Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels forward Armando Bacot (5) / Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
3 of 11

18. RayJ Dennis (Baylor)

It’s been quite the basketball career for Dennis, who was solid for two years at Boise State before two even better years at Toledo, winning MAC Player of the Year in 2023. He joined Baylor as one of the nation’s biggest transfers and has fit in nicely in a rebuilt backcourt, becoming a major reason that the Bears are right here as a national contender once again.

The numbers weren’t quite the same as in the MAC, but Dennis did manage 13.3 points and 6.8 assists in his lone season lacing up for the Bears. This was his second straight year leading his league in assists, and that’s a much more impressive feat in the Big 12. Dennis isn’t the strongest scoring threat but is a major threat in this offense, with a 19-point, 10-assist game against Kansas just a few weeks ago. By these stats you can tell that Dennis makes this Bears team go on the offensive end.

17. Augustas Marciulionis (Saint Mary’s)

A pesky guard from Lithuania, Marciulionis has developed into quite a star at Saint Mary’s in recent years. He originally arrived in Moraga three seasons ago but has only been a full-time starter for the first time as a junior. His rise has been a major reason why the Gaels won both regular season and tournament titles in the WCC this year, leading to him winning WCC Player of the Year.

Certainly improving his game in year three of his college career, Marciulionis averaged 12.4 points and 5.2 assists for the Gaels. He dropped 28 points on Pepperdine a few weeks ago and scored 13 apiece in both WCC Tournament wins for Saint Mary’s last week. Marciulionis also rates as one of the WCC’s best defensive players, is among the leaders in steals, and plays a major role on the court that sometimes goes beyond the raw stats.