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NCAA Championship: 5 teams and players to watch
Cameron Wilson
Cameron Wilson
With the 2014 NCAA Men's Golf Championship teeing off today, let's look at five teams and players to follow. The 54-hole stroke-play portion of the event runs Friday through Sunday with match play for the top eight team finishers to follow. The individual medalist for the event will be crowned after Sunday's final- round of stroke play.

TOP TEAMS TO WATCH

Alabama: The defending champions are undoubtedly the top team in the country and enter the national championship fresh off a 22-shot victory in their regional tournament. Led by Walker Cup stars Cory Whitsett and Bobby Wyatt, the Tide are the nation's top- ranked team and should be considered the favorites at Prairie Dunes.

Georgia Tech: Top to bottom, there might not be a team with better depth than the Ramblin Wreck. In last week's regional, which Georgia Teach dominated, four of the team's five players finished inside the Top 10 while their fifth, placed 15th and held the first- round lead. Look for Georgia Tech to be a major contender for its first ever national title.

Stanford: According to the Golf Channel's Steve Burkowski, there's no better 1-2 punch in college golf than Stanford's Patrick Rodgers and Cameron Wilson. Rodgers is the world's top-ranked amateur while Wilson was a Hogan Award finalist. While the Cardinal are a bit short on team depth, they more than make up for it in star power at the top of the roster.

Oklahoma State: Experience in golf is everything. And the Cowboys have plenty of experience -- at winning and in dealing with the windy conditions sure to hit the players at Prairie Dunes. U.S. Public Links champ, Western Amateur winner and Walker Cup team member Jordan Niebrugge joined Talor Gooch in willing the Cowboys to victory at last weekend's regional. The Sooners will surely look towards their top two performers and experience in the conditions as big factors heading into the NCAA Championship. Georgia: A week ago, I may not have been including the Bulldogs but after their outstanding regional play, it just makes sense. Lee McCoy led the Bulldogs to a 13-shot victory in San Antonio last weekend and he's playing well enough to keep the train rolling. Georgia also offers a deep lineup includig Hunter Stewart and Joey Garber.

TOP PLAYERS TO WATCH:

Patrick Rodgers: This is a no-brainer. Rodgers is the No. 1 player in the WAGR and has already won six times this season. His last win, at the regional, tied him with Tiger Woods for the most all time while at Stanford.

Ollie Schniederjans: The best player on a deep Georgia Tech lineup, Schniederjans has come into his own this year in NCAA play. He helped the Jackets win the East Regional and should be considered a favorite in Kansas.

Brian Campbell: There's something to be said about being medalist. There's even more to say about a medalist player who willed his team to victory, too. Brian Campbell did just that last week at the Rich Harvest Farms sectional, shooting 69-70-72 to win top honors and power Illinois to a comeback team victory.

Cameron Wilson: If he was on any other college team in America, we'd be talking about him much more. Wilson is a Palmer Cup selection and has two wins this season. His pedigree, talent and the fact that he may slip under the radar for some fans makes Wilson a legitimate contender at Prairie Dunes.

Brandon Hagy: There isn't much of a buzz surrounding Cal this year -- especially considering their impressive 2012-2013 campaign. But don't forget about Brandon Hagy. He's playing better now than teammate Michael Weaver and has the length to generate opportunities at Prairie Dunes. Consider the recently-named Byron Nelson Award winner a contender in Kansas.
ABOUT THE NCAA Championship

National championship of NCAA Division I men's golf teams. 54 holes of stroke play determine the individual champion, with the low 8 teams advancing to match play to determine the team champion.

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