NBA Draft: 5 teams to watch in NCAA Tournament for draft prospects

Scottie Barnes, Florida State Seminoles. Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images
Scottie Barnes, Florida State Seminoles. Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images /
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Corey Kispert, Gonzaga Bulldogs
NBA draft Photo by William Mancebo/Getty Images /

The 2021 NBA Draft is months away, and NBA teams still have plenty of time to review tape, interview players and oversee workouts. For most players, however, the NCAA Tournament represents their last chance to make an impression playing in a competitive game.

College basketball’s biggest stage is the perfect pressure cooker to see how players step up or fade when the games matter most. Some prospects have parlayed huge tournament performances into jumps on draft day; others have wilted under the bright lights, busting the brackets of their supporters and providing a hint of future disappointment.

Often erroneously so, the “eye test” of March Madness is weighed in as a part of evaluating these prospects, from elite to fringe. Can they prove themselves “16 game players” in the six-game environment of the bracket?

Whether or not the tournament should be such an impactful part of draft evaluation, it’s absolutely a fun event to watch, even for NBA fans who don’t follow college basketball. It’s one of the best sporting events in sports, and it also serves as a showcase for many of the NBA’s future stars.

To that end, who are a few teams NBA fans should watch to get a look at some future draft picks? Which 2021 NBA Draft prospects are plying their trade in the NCAA Tournament? These prospects are harder to find this year; Duke, Kentucky and Louisville all missed the tournament, and teams such as Michigan State, UCLA and Kansas are not stocked with NBA talent.

Looking deeper, here are five teams to watch as the NCAA Tournament gets underway, culminating in the loaded roster from the Pacific Northwest favored to win it all.