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Every national championship teams has that one player that they can go to with the game on the line and he will come through in the clutch. Carmelo Anthony was that guy for Syracuse when he was a freshman; Connecticut had Ben Gordon four seasons ago; and UNC rode Sean May in the title game three years back. Florida was an anomaly with a balanced distribution the past two seasons, but someone who can score down the stretch is an important ingredient in March. Here are the top 10 go-to-guys in the country:
Remember, this is NOT a ranking of the top players in the country. It is merely a ranking of their dependability in crunch time.
1. D.J. Augustin, Texas: Unbelievably quick, and is shot-making ability down the stretch is unparalleled.
2. Brook Lopez, Stanford: For a big man, he is very tough to stop down the stretch and can knock down free-throws.
3. Eric Gordon, Indiana: Unlimited range and the ability to beat his defender off the dribble make him tough.
4. O.J. Mayo, USC: He never seems rushed down the stretch, and can score in a variety of ways inside and out.
5. Derrick Rose, Memphis: One of the best point guards in the country, his strength and quickness are outstanding.
6. Shan Foster, Vanderbilt: Have you seen him the past couple of weeks? Foster has been hitting all kinds of shots; he requires full defensive attention.
7. A.J. Price, Connecticut: The Huskies' offense sometimes stagnates in the halfcourt, but Price makes up for that.
8. Jamont Gordon, Mississippi State: His combo of size and strength make him nearly impossible to stop going to the basket.
9. Chris Lofton, Tennessee: If you need a three to tie the game, there is no one I'd rather have than Lofton down the stretch.
10. Jerryd Bayless, Arizona: Can score going to the basket, off a pull-up jumper, or from three-point range.
Tyler Hansbrough, North Carolina
Blake Griffin, Oklahoma
Michael Beasley, Kansas State
Drew Neitzel, Michigan State
Dominic James, Marquette
Joe Alexander, West Virginia
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