And then there were four. A Final Four, to be exact. Four teams remain playing meaningful games in college basketball, and not surprisingly this year's Final Four isn't short on players who will be pulling in NBA cheques in the very near future. In fact, there are about 17 players who will be suiting up on Saturday who could be earning NBA millions as soon as next season or 2013/14. And, not surprising once again, Kentucky leads the way.
(number in brackets indicates number of players on team expected to be drafted in 2012 or 2013)
Anthony Davis - projected #1 overall pick in 2012
Hands down the best prospect in the basketball world and a no-brainer to go first overall (in fact, if he was in last year's draft class or the year before that he would be the first overall pick, instead of Kyrie Irving and John Wall, too).
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist - projected top five pick in 2012
No player has done more this season to improve his draft stock than Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who has dominated at both ends of the court for Kentucky. Don't be surprised if when the dust settles he goes second overall in the draft behind teammate Davis.
Terrence Jones - projected top 15 pick in 2012
A frustratingly inconsistent player, Terrence Jones nonetheless looks to be a borderline lottery pick this June due to his skills, size, length and versatility.
Doron Lamb - projected top 25 pick in 2012
Often the overlooked man on the Wildcats' stacked roster, Doron Lamb projects to be a solid NBA player, due to his good size, great outside shooting as well as his proven ability to play some effective minutes at the point guard position.
Marquis Teague - projected first round pick in 2012 or 2013
While he's not on the level of past John Calipari coached NBA guard prospects, Marquis Teague is still expected to be a first round selection whenever he enters the draft. Conventional wisdom is that he needs another year in college to improve his consistency running a team (but he'll have to fight for minutes with projected 2013 lottery pick Ryan Harrow, who is redshirting this season with the Wildcats after transferring from North Carolina State).
Darius Miller - potential second round pick in 2012
As crazy as it sounds, Kentucky actually does have a player in his senior year on their roster. Darius Miller projects to be a role player in the NBA, but that is something he has experience in playing on stacked Wildcat teams throughout his collegiate career.
Wayne Blackshear - projected lottery pick in 2013
Gorgui Dieng - projected second round pick in 2013
Peyton Siva - projected second round pick in 2013
Thomas Robinson - projected top five pick in 2012
Scouts have always been intrigued by Thomas Robinson's size, length and athleticism, but this year he actually got meaningful minutes on the court for Kansas and exceeded expectations. He looks like he'll be a real good pro.
Tyshawn Taylor - projected second round pick in 2012
He's got all the physical tools to make a solid NBA player, as well as the ability to score, make plays for others, and be a lockdown defender, but he's also prone to boneheaded, risky plays. Can he tone it down on the NBA level?
Jeff Withey - projected first round pick in 2012 or 2013
Elijah Johnson - projected second round pick in 2013
Ohio State (4)
Jared Sullinger - projected top 10 pick in 2012
Can Jared Sullinger get his shot off over a huge defender like Kansas' Jeff Withey? That will go a long way in determining how Ohio State does on Saturday night, and how NBA scouts view Sullinger as an NBA prospect.
Deshaun Thomas - possible second round pick in 2012
While he isn't really a "big time" NBA prospect due to not really having a position on the floor in the pros (too small for a power forward, not enough small forward skills), Deshaun Thomas is vital to the Buckeyes as a second scoring threat behind Jared Sullinger.
William Buford - projected second round pick in 2012
William Buford has good size, defensive skills and shooting touch but isn't an elite athlete (by NBA standards) and projects to be a role player, at best, at the next level.
Aaron Craft - projected first round pick in 2013