It's stated all the time this season. Guard play makes all the difference in the NCAA tournament, and to be honest it's hard to argue with that statement. So who are some of the top guard groups in this year's field? Here are 12 below along with a few superlatives. Not all of the usual suspects make the list, but try not to automatically dismiss the less heralded names either.
Player of the Year Anthony Davis, only a freshman, highlights CollegeHoops.net's 2012 All-America Team. Davis, the nation's leading shot-blocker, led Kentucky to a 30-1 regular season record. Davis is joined on the First Team by Thomas Robinson of Kansas, Draymond Green of Michigan State, Doug McDermott of Creighton, and Isaiah Canaan of Murray State.
Canaan is joined on the First Team by fellow guards Scott Machado of Iona and Damian Lillard of Weber St. A pair of senior forwards round out the squad in Dominique Morrison of Oral Roberts and Ryan Pearson of George Mason.
Three tickets to the NCAA tournament will be punched on Saturday, beginning with the Big South title game matching seven-seed VMI and regular season champion UNC Asheville. Eddie Biedenbach's Bulldogs have avoided the turmoil on the opposite side of the bracket, which saw both Coastal Carolina and Campbell fall in the quarterfinals. Duggar Baucom's Keydets were the ones who knocked off CCU, as they shot an impressive 14-for-28 from three in their 85-68 win over the Chanticleers.
1. BYU survived a pesky San Diego squad to advance to the WCC semifinals.
A win over San Diego wasn't going to do a whole lot for BYU from a resume standpoint. Sure the Cougars would pick up a 25th win on the season, but a loss would have had a much larger impact on their NCAA tournament hopes than a win. That's what made the return of Noah Hartsock so important, given how much the Cougars struggled with the pesky Toreros.
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