3 NCAA Tournament prospects to watch if the Raptors can keep their first-round pick

Reed Sheppard, Kentucky Wildcats
Reed Sheppard, Kentucky Wildcats / Andy Lyons/GettyImages
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The NCAA Tournament is one of the greatest sporting events of the year, and millions of basketball fans will tune in to get their brackets busted and track this year's Cinderella team. For NBA teams, however, "March Madness" is more than merely fun to watch; it's the last game film they will get on the 2024 NBA Draft's top prospects.

Often the very best draft prospects are competing in the tournament. Two seasons ago Paolo Banchero and Chet Holmgren both led their teams to the Sweet 16, then three months later went 1-2 in the 2022 NBA Draft. Last year the Raptors' first-round pick Gradey Dick and the Kansas Jayhawks earned a No. 1 seed before being upset in the Second Round.

This year things will be a little different, as many of the top players in hte draft cycle are not playing in college; it's possible each of the Top 5 picks comes from either an international team or the G League Ignite. Yet with the draft wide open, it's equally possible the draft swings to the top college players in the nation.

Where will the Raptors be drafting?

The Toronto Raptors will have the Indiana Pacers' first-round draft pick, likely to fall a few spots outside of the lottery, but the larger question is whether they will keep their own. They currently sit seventh in lottery odds with a few weeks to go, jostling with the Memphis Grizzlies for the sixth spot. If the Raptors' pick lands int he Top 6, they keep it; if it lands seventh or later, they send it to the San Antonio Spurs.

That means the Raptors need to be closely watching the top prospects in the NCAA Tournament, as if they keep their pick they will by rule be picking in the Top 6. Who are the best players suiting up for March Madness this week? Let's look at three players the Raptors could consider drafting in June, looking at their fit on the Raptors and how far their college team is likely to go in the tournament.