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Highlighting top NBA Draft prospects for Princeton vs. Creighton

We go over the top players to watch for Princeton vs. Creighton in the Sweet 16 in the 2023 NCAA tournament.

Creighton v Baylor
DENVER, COLORADO - MARCH 19: Adam Flagler #10 of the Baylor Bears drives against Ryan Kalkbrenner #11 of the Creighton Bluejays during the second half in the second round of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Ball Arena on March 19, 2023 in Denver, Colorado.
Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

With an influx of reasons to love the NCAA Basketball Tournament, this just may be the best playoff format in American athletics. Of the many elements to love about the Big Dance, among the most thrilling is the fact that we get to witness NBA hopefuls put it all on the line for their respective colleges before embarking on their professional careers. When it comes to Friday’s (Mar. 24) South Region Sweet 16 matchup between 15-seeded Princeton (23-8) and 6-seeded Creighton (23-12), there are undoubtedly several players with realistic NBA aspirations. Let’s have a look:

At DraftKings Sportsbook, Creighton’s a 9.5-point favorite against Princeton in the Sweet 16. The combined total is set at 140.5.

NBA Draft prospects to watch

No. 15 Princeton Tigers

F Tosan Evbuomwan - Senior

Obviously, the Princeton Tigers have been one of the best things about March Madness 2023, but it is not too often that we see an Ivy-leaguer continue playing at the NBA-level (the last was Princeton’s Devin Cannady in 2019, who only managed to play in 13 NBA games, total). Still, forward Tosan Evbuomwan has both the size and skills that could transition into a successful professional career. On the year, the English-product is averaging 14.8 PPG to go along with 6.3 RPG with 4.7 APG. He played well in the historic upsets over Arizona and Mizzou, respectively, but has yet to truly “light it up” at the Big Dance. For Evbuomwan, a major performance in the Sweet 16 against Creighton could go a long way toward what country he will play professionally in.

F Caden Pierce - Freshman

As previously discussed, making it to the NBA from an Ivy League institution as a player can be rather unlikely. Still, every few years, someone from America’s most prestigious circuit of universities manages to make the leap. For Princeton freshman Caden Pierce, he may have all the tools to be the first Ivy in the NBA since 2019. Although it may be a couple of years down the line, Pierce has the size (6’6, 205 pounds) and explosion to play wing at the highest level. In only his first year of DI college ball, he already leads the Tigers in rebounding (7.4 RPG); In Princeton’s Second Round upset of Mizzou, Pierce’s 16 rebounds (seven of which came on the offensive side) were a driving key to victory.

NBA Draft prospects to watch

No. 6 Creighton Bluejays

C Ryan Kalkbrenner - Junior

An experienced big man from St. Louis, Missouri, Ryan Kalkbrenner has been a 2022-23 college basketball landscape titan. Towering at an even seven-feet, 235 pounds, any NBA roster could absolutely use the attributes that Kalkbrenner provides. He has also shown consistency and durability, starting every game for Creighton over the past two seasons. This year, Kalkbrenner is leading all Bluejays in scoring with 15.7 PPG behind a highly-efficient 70.6 field goal percentage. Of course, the 7-footer is also well-equipped on the defensive side, collecting 2.2 blocks per game as a Junior (and 2.6 BPG as a Sophomore). With respectable court vision from the post, Kalkbrenner should get a shot in the NBA sooner than later.

G Baylor Scheierman - Junior

With guard skills and above-average height for an NBA backcourt player, Baylor Scheierman has fit right into Creighton’s system since transferring from South Dakota State after last season (where he was named 2021-22 Summit League POY). This year with the Bluejays, Scheierman has been Creighton’s best rebounder (8.2rpg), which is saying something since he plays alongside the 7-foot Kalkbrenner. But with a three-point shot that absolutely needs to be accounted for, Scheierman could serve as a prototypical 3-and-D player in the NBA. When it comes to Princeton-Creighton on Friday night, keep an eye on Scheierman and Pierce battling it out both on the perimeter and in the paint.