The most underrated players in college basketball
With just a few weeks until March Madness, college basketball fans everywhere are taking deep dives into stat sheets in hopes of identifying this year’s Cinderella. Undeniably, those adventurous souls will come across players that may have been lost in the shuffle but are undoubtedly worth some attention heading into the postseason.
We’ve compiled a list of five players you may not know about, but definitely should. Some of them are on lesser-known or surging teams, while others may be playing second fiddle to bigger stars.
Let’s take a look at the most underrated players in college basketball.
5. Matthew Hurt (Duke)
We start things off with the best player from…Duke? Yes, it’s been that kind of season. The Blue Devils dropped off the map earlier in the year, but have re-rallied to be on the bubble in late-February. Hurt, a sophomore forward with a well-rounded game, leads the Blue Devils in scoring and rebounding and has shot 46.5% from three-point range, good for sixth in the ACC.
4. Zach Nutall (Sam Houston State)
Want a fun group of teams to follow at the end of the regular season? Go look at the Southland Conference, where the top four teams are 11-1, 10-1, 11-2, and 11-2 against league foes. Sam Houston State is tied for third, and Nutall leads the league in scoring with 19 points per game. He’s done well against bigger-conference teams, too, having recorded 36 points against SMU and 23 points against Texas.
3. Tyson Etienne (Wichita State)
It’s been an eventful year for the Shockers, who got a new head coach following the dismissal of program architect Gregg Marshall. One of the reasons Wichita State has surged to a 13-4 mark this season has been Etienne’s emergence as one of the AAC’s top scorers. He shoots a lot, and he’s not the most efficient (hitting at less than 39% from the floor), but he averages more than 17 points per game and has scored 20 or more on eight occasions this season.
6'2 Sophomore Tyson Etienne put up a career-high 29 points to lead the Shockers over Ole Miss last night. It's no surprise that he has become the go-to guy in year 2. His energy + poise jumps off the screen. Carries himself like a true pro.— League Him (@League_Him) January 3, 2021
🏁 @TheTyEtienne1 pic.twitter.com/FdHK0E3Asa
2. Chandler Vaudrin (Winthrop)
The Winthrop Eagles have soared to a 20-1 record this season, and while their strength of schedule is a legitimate question mark, Vaudrin’s emergence as an all-around threat isn’t up for debate. The senior leads his team in points (12.3), rebounds (6.8), assists (6.7), and steals (1.4) per contest, and he put up a pair of triple-doubles earlier this season. Vaudrin can affect a game in a lot of ways, and that may make him a headache if Winthrop advances to the Big Dance.
1. Cameron Krutwig (Loyola Chicago)
Remember a few years ago, when the Ramblers and beloved nun Sister Jean busted everyone’s bracket on their way to the Final Four? Well, Sister Jean’s still going strong at 101 years old, and Krutwig, who was a freshman on that team, is now a senior leader. He’s averaging 15 points and 6.6 rebounds per game, and Loyola Chicago is 19-4 and ranked 21st in the country. Don’t let Krutwig, Sister Jean, and Loyola Chicago sneak up on you again!
Loyola won for the 12th time in 13 games Wednesday, topping Valparaiso 54-52 at the Gentile Center. Cameron Krutwig had 13 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists for the Ramblers, who are in first place in the Missouri Valley.— Chicago Tribune Sports (@ChicagoSports) February 18, 2021
Photos by @chris_sweda: https://t.co/koKEG0zDq7 pic.twitter.com/98VUB47Okv