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11 Minnesotans to watch in the NCAA Tournament

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The NCAA Tournament begins Tuesday night and despite very few marquee names from Minnesota, our state is represented by 10 former Minnesota high school stars and one familiar coach.

Ex-Gophers head coach Tubby Smith was the Big 12 Coach of the Year and the Sporting News National Coach of the Year leading Texas Tech to an 8-seed in the tourney.

Former Lakeville North shooting guard J.P. Macura leads the list of players from Minnesota. Here's the rest.

Xavier - 1

  • J.P. Macura: sophomore guard from Lakeville North was the Big East Sixth Man of the Year while scoring 9.6 points per game. He's best known in Minnesota for hitting a wild buzzer beater in the state tournament.

Fresno State - 1

  • Cullen Russo: former Bloomington Kennedy standout is a 6-foot-9 starting forward averaging 8 points and 6.2 rebounds while shooting 42 percent from the field. He plays about 26 minutes per game.

Wisconsin - 2

  • Jordan Smith: senior guard from Orono rarely plays.
  • Alex Illikainen: freshman forward from Grand Rapids doesn't see a lot of action and averages 2.3 points off the bench.

South Dakota State - 2

  • Logan Doyle: sophomore forward from Alexandria has played in only six games this season.
  • Ian Thiesen: sophomore forward from Osseo is averaging 6.2 points and 3.5 rebounds while playing 15-20 minutes a game. Theisen hit the game-winning shot at the buzzer to give Osseo a state championship over Lakeville North during his senior year of high school.

Tulsa - 1

  • Marquel Curtis: senior guard from Robbinsdale Armstrong is averaging 6.7 points, 4.2 rebounds and 2.2 assists while averaging 25 minutes per game off the bench.

Cincinnati - 1

  • Kyle Washington: former Champlin Park forward sat out after transferring from North Carolina State. He averaged 6.8 points and shot 46.7 percent from the field last season.

Northern Iowa - 1

  • Justin Dahl: 2015 grad from Holy Family Catholic but hasn't played yet this season.

Oklahoma - 1

  • Akolda Manyang: former Duluth East sat out after transferring from Indian Hills Community College in Iowa.

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