The NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament gets underway this week and among the players is a quartet who played their high school basketball in the Shore area.

Headlining that group is sophomore forward Desmond Hubert, a 2011 graduate of New Egypt High School who has played in all 34 games for the University of North Carolina. The 6’9 Hubert has averaged 1.2 points and 1.7 rebounds for the Tar Heels, who open the tournament against Villanova in a South Regional game Friday night in Kansas City. Carolina is the #8 seed, one spot ahead of Villanova and the winner has a probably second-round date with top-seed Kansas.

The Wildcats roster includes junior guard Nick McMahon, who played on a pair of Shore Conference championship teams at Christian Brothers Academy. McMahon was a practice player who joined the Nova roster last season as a sophomore and in the two years has played in just four games. The Colts Neck native is Finance major at Villanova who plans on becoming an investment banker.

Jimmy McDonnell led Jackson Memorial to the WOBM Christmas Classic in 2009 and is a redshirt sophomore at Temple University. The 6’10 center-forward has appeared in 7 games for the Owls this season but has yet to score. An outstanding student, McDonnell and Temple are the #9 seed in the East and will meet 8th seeded North Carolina State Friday afternoon in Dayton, Ohio with the winner to likely face #1 seed Indiana.

Of the Shore players the one who has made the biggest impact this season is Bucknell senior Joe Willman, a former standout at Monmouth Regional who is concluding an outstanding career with the Bison. A 6’7 forward and tri-captain, Willman has averaged just over 10 points and 6 rebounds per game for Bucknell, the champions of the Patriot League. They are the #11 seed in the East and face 6th seed Butler as the tournament opens Thursday (12:40) in Lexington, Kentucky.