5 Players Wolves fans should watch in the NCAA Tournament

Illinois v Maryland
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The NCAA Tournament officially begins later today. While the "First Four" began play on Tuesday, those eight squads were essentially battling for the chance to keep their postseason hopes alive.

As for the NBA, most squads are still positioning themselves for a playoff run. Only a couple of teams have their sights set on the offseason. The Minnesota Timberwolves are one of the many. The Wolves rank third in the West with a 47-22 record after losing a hard-fought battle against the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday night.

Winning an NBA Championship is the highest priority. But, the NBA works year-round, and the offseason is certainly a priority for the Wolves brass. With a difficult financial situation on the horizon, Minnesota must draft well to ensure future success.

Currently, the Wolves own the 27th overall selection in the first round and the 36th pick in the second round. Since the draft slots are relatively close, we'll focus on five players who will likely last until the end of the first round barring an extraordinary tournament performance.

For the most part, these collegiate ballers are on the older side, capable of making an immediate impact. However, two are freshmen with sky-high potential will be mentioned below. And we'll get things kicked off with a former top-10 recruit.

5. Jared McCain, Duke

A highly-touted high school prospect, Jared McCain has lived up to his billing. In 32 appearances, all starts, for the Duke Blue Devils, McCain has averaged 13.4 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per game.

Atypical of most freshmen, McCain is shooting the lights out. He's drilling 45.6 percent of his field goals, 39.9 percent of his triples, and 86.8 percent of his free throws. With a lack of 3-point threats on the Wolves roster, McCain would certainly be prioritized as a knockdown shooter.

He has a quick trigger and an extremely consistent base. No matter if he's shooting off the dribble or off the catch—his mechanics look the same. As the case with most deadeye snipers, McCain's shot wastes no motion. He tends to bring the ball up, rather than taking a slight dip when he prepares to shoot.

Despite his point guard size (6-foot-3), McCain has recorded less than stellar assist numbers. However, he's shown impressive passing instincts. The Duke guard is comfortable turning the corner and using pick-and-rolls to score and dish to his roll man.

It's likely his low assist total is because of who he shares the court with. Besides McCain, Duke plays Jeremy Roch and Tyrese Proctor, two guards who average more than three assists per game.

McCain can get to the rim, but he's not consistent in doing so. The 20-year-old isn't the most athletic prospect. He'll likely test average in most drills at the NBA Combine. He's a stout, 200 pounds, but lacks the verticality to finish over defenders.