March Madness: MVP Candidates in the Sweet 16

 

We're now two full rounds into March Madness, and there are only 16 teams left standing that can still win college basketball's biggest prize. Here at Cappers Info, we'll take a look at a handful of players that still have a great chance at winning the MVP of the NCAA Tournament…

Ali Farokhmanesh, Northern Iowa Panthers: Where else to start than the giant killer of this entire tournament? Had Farokhmanesh only nailed the three pointer that sunk #9 UNLV on the first day of the dance, he'd already be considered a hero in Cedar Falls, IA. However, after dropping the final nail in Kansas' coffin on Saturday, his eighth three point field goal on the weekend, Farokhmanesh is simply a god. He's not the most likely of candidates to take down the crown, but with the Panthers facing a relatively manageable road to the Final Four, don't count the UNI man child out of the equation.

Jacob Pullen, Kansas State Wildcats: Now we're talking! Pullen put up 34 points on BYU over the weekend in the second round of this tournament and totally outshined the brightest star in college basketball over the past week and change in G Jimmer Fredette. Pullen is the undisputed leader of a team that many think that win the entire tournament, and at 18.8 points per game, he has the numbers and the team around him to win the award.

Wesley Johnson, Syracuse Orange: After scoring 49 points and bringing in 20 boards in two games, there's no counting out Syracuse's top point man in the MVP chase in the NCAA Tournament. Barring a fairly sizeable upset, the Cuse will make it at least one more round, which will set them up as favorites for a nice run to Indianapolis. Johnson matches up well against a relatively undersized Butler team on Thursday, and unless F Arinze Onuaku comes back in the lineup and steals Johnson's thunder, he'll be the best candidate on the second favorite left on the board to win MVP.

Omar Samhan, St. Mary's Gaels: No man has put up better numbers in this tournament than has Samhan. The leading scorer and rebounder for the Gaels has already scored 61 points and brought in 19 boards in two games, and if the tourney stopped today, Samhan would most likely be the MVP. He told the student body in Cali that his Gaels are going to win the NCAA Tournament, and though the odds are long, if they do, Samhan will almost certainly walk away with some extra hardware.

John Wall, Kentucky Wildcats: It's not so much what the future #1 pick in the NBA Draft has done in this tournament yet that is so impressive, it's what HC John Calipari probably has in store for him. Wall is, without a shadow of a doubt, the poster boy for this tournament. CBS would cry if the Wildcats were bounced from the dance prematurely. Big Blue is the favorite to win the whole enchilada now that Kansas has been knocked out of the tournament, and if the Wildcats can pull off the feat, it's going to be Wall that probably steps up and has the best numbers. As it is, he is averaging 15.5 points and nine assists per contest.

Evan Turner, Ohio State Buckeyes: The AP Player of the Year didn't have a great game against UC Santa Barbara in Round 1, but with more performances like he had against Georgia Tech (24 points, nine assists, nine rebounds), he'll be turning heads. If the Buckeyes reach the Final Four in Indianapolis, look for Turner to garner a lot of serious consideration for the award, as they almost certainly won't be able to get to that point without him going absolutely nuts at some point.

Lou Palumbo is the founder and part owner of the Cappersinfo.com Sports Handicapping Community. He's been writing and posting free picks and sports handicapping strategies on the Cappersinfo forums and website for 15 years now. He enjoys handicapping just as much as he did from the very first day he built the original Cappersinfo website.

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