As we forecasted in our Thursday preview, Arkansas Little-Rock senior Josh Hagins had his national breakout performance in a timely upset win over 5-seed Purdue. The lanky, shifty point guard started off slowly, but showed incredible poise down the stretch, making big play after big play in the most important moments of the game, and in the process elevated his name into the conversation as a March Madness darling and potential sleeper for the next level.
Can Hagins continue his upward trajectory and take his team to the Sweet 16? He'll have to be a little more aggressive from the start against a far more potent offense, and will have a much better matchup from a scouting perspective going up against one of the top point guards in the country in Monte Morris. The contrasting evaluation between the two should help him continue to demonstrate why he deserves to be considered a NBA prospect. Like Morris, Hagins isn't the tallest or most athletic point guard you'll find, but has a nice blend of playmaking and shooting ability, particularly off the dribble. Hagins has shown a sense for the moment throughout Little Rock's storybook season, and they'll need more of that from him to cement themselves as this year's Tournament Cinderella.