Final Four X-Factors: One player for each team remaining in the NCAA tournament capable of winning the title run

The men’s basketball Final Four has shown its share of household names over the years, from Magic Johnson and Patrick Ewing to Carmelo Anthony and Anthony Davis.

Then there are the unexpected stars, the X-Factors, the role-players who suddenly step into the limelight for their – shall we say – shiny moments. Who can forget Donte DiVincenzo, the backup guard who shot his way to Final Four immortality for Villanova’s titular team in 2018, or Luke Hancock, who did the same for Louisville in 2013?

This year’s team quartet isn’t exactly brimming with up-and-coming talent, but all four semi-finalists still have their regular players who are expected to make the big games. Each team must also supply its supporting cast to fell the nets. Here’s a candidate from each of the Final Four rosters to be the X Factor. They won’t necessarily win the Most Outstanding Player award, but they could make an important contribution during the big weekend.

Micah Parrish, G/F, State of San Diego

The Michigan native and former transfer from Oakland University has become a staple of the Aztec rotation. The 7.6 points per game he contributes is a bonus, and he led the team in scoring with 16 points against Furman in the second round. But his real value will be on the defensive when it’s his turn to cover Florida Atlantic’s biggest goal threat. His game will be crucial to slow down the owls.

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Nick Boyd, G, Florida Atlantic

The owls don’t have a primary initiator per se as they intentionally share the ball. But Boyd, a redshirt freshman from Garnerville, New York, has a team-high 92 assists. He’s the Owls’ fourth-best scorer at 8.9 points per game and finishes with a nearly 40% clip from 3-point range, so he might be looking a little more for his own shot against San Diego State’s stingy defense must

Norchad Omier, F, Miami (Fl.)

He’s the fourth-best scorer (13.3 ppg) for the Miami team, which is heavily focused on the backcourt – more guards than Shawshank, to quote a certain hoops expert’s frequent tweets – but Omier is the inner presence, which the Hurricanes will need if they hope to keep up with UConn. He is averaging a team-high 10.1 rebounds per game, despite playing larger post players most of the time.

Miami (Fla.) forward Norchad Omier (15) is defended by Houston guard Terrance Arceneaux (23) during their NCAA tournament game at the T-Mobile Center.

Joey Calcaterra, G, Connecticut

Jordan Hawkins is by far the most prolific of the Huskies’ 3-point bombers. But Calcaterra can usually be counted on to deliver a few bow daggers off the bench, like he did in the Huskies’ demolition of Gonzaga in the West Regional Finals. For the grad transfer from the University of San Diego, who didn’t have much success against the Zags — or UConn’s second-round opponents Saint Mary’s — this March Madness run with the Huskies was particularly enjoyable.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Final Four X-factors: The key players of each team in March Madness clash

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