Rising Star: Michigan State Guard Gary HarrisThe Big Ten’s Freshman of the Year last season is averaging 17.9 points per game (second in the conference), 4.3 rebounds, 2.8 assists, and two steals for the 22-6 Spartans.
Rising Star: SMU Guard Nic MooreMoore, a 5’9” point guard from Winona Lake, Ind., is playing as well as anyone in the American Athletic Conference right now. He leads his team with 14.1 points and 4.7 assists per game.
Rising Star: Wichita State Guard Fred VanVleetA back-up to Malcolm Armstead on last year’s Final Four team, VanVleet has helped lead Wichita to a 25-0 record and No. 4 ranking.
Rising Star: Creighton Forward Ethan WraggeAccording to Hoop-Math, 157 of his 163 shots this season have been from beyond the arc (96 percent), the highest percentage in the country among players with at least 100 field goal attempts.
Rising Star: Iona Guard A.J. EnglishEnglish is averaging 17.8 points, 4.1 assists, and 3.9 rebounds for the Gaels, who are tied atop the MAAC with an 8-2 conference record after winning both games last weekend.
Rising Star: Iowa Forward Jarrod UthoffUthoff has been critical to Iowa’s resurgence. The Hawkeyes are 15-3 with road losses to Iowa State and Wisconsin and a neutral court loss to Villanova, none by more than four points.
Rising Star: San Diego State Forward Winston ShepardRanked as the 21st-best recruit in the country by Rivals, Shepard came to San Diego State with the wrong mindset.
Rising Star: Louisville Junior Luke HancockMost pundits expected Louisville to be in the national championship game, but no one expected Luke Hancock to play an important role.
Rising Star: Louisville Junior Russ SmithRuss Smith, nicknamed 'Russdiculous' for his frenetic style of play, has been simply wonderful in the tournament.
Rising Star: Arizona Senior Mark LyonsMark Lyons had a solid career at a perennial basketball power and helped lead his team to the Sweet 16—last season. This season, he helped lead another basketball power, this time Arizona, to the Sweet 16.
Rising Star: Creighton Junior Doug McDermottIt’s been one tremendous season for Creighton. From the rumors that Creighton will be one of the new teams invited to the Big East to the terrific season for the Bluejays, culminating in a No. 7-seed in the NCAA tournament.
Rising Star: Duke Senior Mason PlumleeThe Duke Blue Devils are a top-five team and will be a tough out come March because of one of the most overlooked attributes in college basketball: senior leadership. With so many talented players leaving early for NBA stardom, having a strong senior-led team isn’t as common as it used to be.
Rising Star: Kansas Freshman Ben McLemoreBen McLemore may not get the attention that other Player of the Year candidates get, but the Kansas freshman has been drawing plenty of attention from the people that matter most: NBA scouts.
Rising Star: Kentucky Freshman Nerlens NoelThis isn't last year’s Kentucky team and Nerlens Noel is not Anthony Davis. The comparison was natural in the preseason. Like Davis, Noel was one of the top recruits in the country and figured to be the standout of Kentucky’s brand new roster.
Rising Star: Michigan Sophomore Trey BurkeThe Michigan Wolverines are the No. 1 team in the country for the first time in more than two decades, and one of the biggest reasons why is point guard Trey Burke. He flirted with the NBA draft at the end of the 2011-2012 season but decided to return for his sophomore campaign to bring Michigan a championship.