New Orleans Pelicans: 5 first round NCAA tournament games to watch

(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) /

March Madness is upon us and Pelicans fans should be paying close attention to the NCAA tournament.

The Pels are currently eleventh in the western conference, only one spot off a play-in tournament spot but still firmly in the NBA draft lottery. Although New Orleans has arguably disappointed this season, there is no pressure on them to win right off the bat.

Their franchise player, Zion Williamson, is just 20-years-old and already an all-star in his second season. Nine of their current players are 23 or under, led by Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball. That is why I think that the Pelicans need to have a long-term approach to things, rather than just doing everything possible to make the playoffs this season.

If that means another year in the draft lottery, so be it. The 2021 draft is shaping up to be a good one and there are several players that could pique the Pels’ interest.

Tankathon, a draft projection website, currently has the Pelicans picking ninth overall, 35th, 36th, and 42nd. With those rough picks in mind, here are five first-round NCAA tournament that the Pels should keep an eye on:

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New Orleans Pelicans: Arkansas vs. Colgate (March 19)

If the Pelicans end up getting the ninth pick in the draft, one name that should be heavily under consideration is Arkansas wing Moses Moody.

Moody has been one of the most productive freshmen in NCAA basketball this season. He wasn’t highly touted coming out of high school at Montverde Academy, where he played with multiple other outstanding recruits, but he has quickly blossomed into a legit top ten pick for the Razorbacks.

Moody’s appeal is that he is a plug-and-play type with room to grow. Moody can instantly make an impact in the NBA as a 3-and-D wing. He is making 38 percent of his threes and can guard up and down positions. I like to think of him as an upgraded Josh Hart, even down to the tenacious rebounding.

Expect to hear more from me about Moody as the draft gets closer.