The NCAA tournament is finally here. While your busy filling out your brackets, wondering which top teams get upset, will a one seed lose to 16th seed for the first time, or if Kentucky will stay perfect, we are analyzing every possible way that someone or something can change a team. With that being established, let’s take a look at everyone one seeds’ x-factor.

Kentucky Wildcats: Dakari Johnson 

UK Athletics
UK Athletics

You could pick any player on Kentucky that can be the Wildcats’ x-factor, but I think there’s something about Dakari Johnson that makes him the biggest one. Johnson is listed at the teams only true center on the roster, and he had the experience of already going through the entire tournament, but not winning it. Players like Tyler Lyles, Tyler Ullis and Karl Anthony-Towns who are all freshman can pick up tips from Johnson on what it takes to win in the tournament. Johnson is one of many who can be an x-factor for Kentucky, and that’s the most dangerous part about them.

Villanova Wildcats: Kris Jenkins 

USA Today Sports
USA Today Sports

Villanova also has a handful of options you can pick to be their x-factor, but I think Kris Jenkins’ play really shows the role of a x-factor. His contributions off the bench are huge for the Wildcats, because when he scores in double figures off the bench, Villanova is undefeated sitting at 6-0. They’re o-2 when he doesn’t score in double figures. He is the player that can affect the why Villanova handles teams and plays against them.

Duke Blue Devils: Tyus Jones 


Big game Tyus is what I like to call Tyus Jones. It seems like every time there’s a big game for Duke, Tyus Jones is always the guy who shows up the most.

  • Versus Wisconsin: 22 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists 67% field goal percentage
  • Versus Virginia: 17 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists 50% field goal percentage
  • Versus Notre Dame (February 7th): 12 points, 5 rebounds, 7 assists 45% field goal percentage
  • Versus North Carolina (February 18th): 22 points, 7 rebounds, 8 assists 43% field goal percentage
  • Versus North Carolina (March 7th): 24 points, 6 rebounds, 7 assists 50% field goal percentage

If big game Tyus is on the Blue Devils are on.

Wisconsin Badgers: Duje Dukan/Nigel Hayes

USA Today Sports
USA Today Sports

Duje Dukan may have only averaged 4.8 points and 2.7 rebounds in the regular season for the Badgers, but the 6’10 forward is being used more effectively by head coach Bo Ryan as of late. In Wisconsin’s Big Ten Championship win over Michigan State, Dukan’s 11 points in 15 minutes provided great offense off the bench, something Wisconsin will need to compete with a team like Kentucky for the national title.

USA Today Sports
USA Today Sports

Nigel Hayes is also a x-factor for Wisconsin, because when he’s on, the entire team is on. He had 25 points, 6 rebounds, and 6 assists for Wisconsin versus Michigan State, outscoring Frank Kaminsky and Sam Dekker combined. If Nigel Hayes can keep having big games for the Badgers, look out.

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