The first weekend of the NCAA Tournament is all about the Cinderella. It's a chance for schools from smaller conferences to get the national spotlight and show off what they can do against the power programs from the best leagues. It is also an opportunity for players from those smaller schools to make a name for themselves while the college basketball world is watching.
Here is a look at some of those elite level players from outside of the big six conferences who have a chance to make a big splash in the Big Dance.
Mike Daum, sophomore, forward, South Dakota State
Daum, who won The Summit League Player of the Year, is quite possibly the best scorer in the tournament. He had some monster outings as the Jackrabbits won their last six games to earn an automatic bid. He averaged 32.5 points and 9.7 rebounds, including a 51-point, 15-rebound performance in a 97-89 win over Fort Wayne. Those numbers weren't a fluke either as he finished second in the nation with an average of 25.3 points per game on 51.6 percent shooting from the floor, including 41.6 percent from distance and 87.1 percent from the foul line.
Jordan Washington, senior, forward, Iona
Washington will get another year to shine in the Big Dance after putting up 26 points and 12 rebounds in a 94-81 loss to Iowa State in the first round last year. The 6-foot-8 power forward in an inside force who was a unanimous All-MAAC First-Team selection after finishing fourth in the league in scoring with 17.9 points a night on 55.1 percent shooting from the floor. He also does exceptional work on the glass averaging 7.4 points a game. What makes those stats even more impressive is the fact that he plays just 21.6 minutes a game.
C.J. Bryce, sophomore, guard, UNC Wilmington
After a solid freshman campaign that saw him earn CAA All-Rookie Team recognition a season ago, Bryce stepped up and became the main offensive weapon for the 29-win Seahawks. He scored 20 points or more on 10 occasions on his way to averaging 17.6 points on 49.1 percent shooting. He also added 5.5 rebounds and 3.0 to garner First-Team All-CAA.
T.J. Cromer, senior, guard, East Tennessee State
Cromer just knows how to score the basketball. The two-time All-Southern Conference First-Team selection has scored 1,185 points in just two seasons with the Buccaneers, including a 41-point explosion against Samford in the conference tournament where he connected on 9 of 12 from 3-point range and 10 of 11 from the foul line.
JaCorey Williams, senior, forward, Middle Tennessee
After three years as a role player for the Arkansas Razorbacks, Williams moved on to the Blue Raiders and became a star. He earned All-Conference USA First-Team after averaging 17.3 points on 54.1 percent shooting from the floor to go along with a team-best 7.3 rebounds.
Keon Johnson, senior, guard, Winthrop
The diminutive Johnson is one of the most exciting scoring guards in the country. He uses his tremendous quickness to get to the basket and draw fouls, but he is also a knockdown 3-point shooter. The Big South Conference Player of the Year has scored more than 2,000 points during his college career, including 22.5 points a night as a senior. He has been at his best against the toughest competition as he scored 24 points against Dayton and 38 more in an overtime win over Illinois.
Quinton Hooker, senior, guard, North Dakota
Hooker has been a force on the offensive end to close the season as he helped to carry the Fighting Hawks to their first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance. The two-time All-Big Sky First-Team honoree finished with six 20 points games in North Dakota's last 11 games, including a 28-point performance in a 93-89 come from behind victory in the conference championship game.
Jimmy Hall, senior, forward, Kent State
Hall is one of the most productive big men in college basketball, and he has been for the last three years. The three-time All-MAC First-Team performer is a monster on the glass and a terrific finisher in the paint. He registered 22 double-doubles on his way to averaging 18.9 points and 10.5 rebounds for the 22-win Golden Flashes.
Marcus Marshall, senior, guard, Nevada
After scoring in bunches for three seasons at Missouri State, Marshall took his talents to Nevada and helped the Wolf Pack to the MWC regular-season and tournament championship. He scored in double figures in all but two games as he averaged 19.8 points a night on 38.6 percent shooting from beyond the arc to earn First-Team All-Mountain West.
Brandon Goodwin, junior, guard, Florida Gulf Coast
Goodwin was the perfect fit to run the show for the Eagles during his first year on the floor at Florida Gulf Coast. He earned All-Atlantic Sun First-Team recognition and was the conference's newcomer of the year after averaging 18.2 points a night on 51.6 percent shooting from the floor. He also handed out a team-best 4.0 assists as the Eagles won the regular-season and tournament titles on their way to 26 wins.