Commentary

Five tournament players to watch

Updated: March 23, 2010, 11:42 AM ET
By Dick Vitale | ESPN.com

When I look at the Sweet 16, there are plenty of stars getting ink. I think about players like Evan Turner, John Wall and Wes Johnson: three guys who have earned All-Solid Gold status all season long.

Instead of talking about the guys who get a lot of publicity, let's look at five relatively unknown players who can make a difference in the tournament.

At Cornell, Ryan Wittman has received ink thanks, in part, to his Dad -- former Indiana Hoosier, NBA player and coach Randy Wittman. Let's salute Louis Dale, Wittman's backcourt mate. Dale shows quickness and a good scoring touch in the tourney, with 47 points in two games.

Jon Diebler has been hot shooting the trifecta in the Big Dance, drilling 11 in wins over UCSB and Georgia Tech. If he can keep shooting well, the Buckeyes have a legit shot at advancing to Indianapolis.Three of the top four seeds in their region have been knocked out already.

Andy Rautins doesn't get the ink that Wesley Johnson does. The son of former Orange star and NBA player Leo Rautins is a lethal three-point shooter. He is shooting 50 percent from beyond the arc in the Big Dance.

Omar Sanham has received publicity, but his sidekick, guard Mickey McConnell, deserves more credit. He has made some really big shots, including the tie-breaker against Villanova.

The development of big man Brian Zoubek has given an added dimension to Duke. We all know about the three S men -- Jon Scheyer, Kyle Singler and Nolan Smith. Yet Zoubek had a double-double (14 points, 12 rebounds) vs. California and his interior presence is a real positive for coach Mike Krzyzewski.

There you have it, five guys to keep an eye on in the Sweet 16, players who have earned more ink, baby!

Dick Vitale

College Basketball analyst
Dick Vitale, college basketball's top analyst and ambassador, joined ESPN during the 1979-80 season. His thorough knowledge of the game is brought forth in an enthusiastic, passionate style. Vitale also contributes columns to ESPN.com.