Most Impressive Team: UConn
Even though I don’t see them getting to the Final Four, UConn dominated opponents in the first round. They spanked 16 seed Chattanooga by 56 and then beat a very good 8 seed, Texas A&M, by 26 points. Guard A.J Price is playing some of the best ball out there, averaging 23.5 ppg and 5.5 assists in the two tourney games. Hasheem Thabeet may be the most intimidating player in the dance next to Blake Griffin. With the way this team is playing, I almost want to put them in my Final Four (but, I won’t.)
Most Disappointing Team: Wake Forest
You could argue that Pitt should be in this spot, but they have at least won a game. Wake is the only team that was ranked number 1 this season to lose in the tourney so far. Not only did they lose, they lost badly to Cleveland State 84-69. Naismith candidate Jeff Teague only mustered 10 points in the lost which was a larger part of why the team lost so badly.
Best Game: no. 12 Wisconsin beating no. 5 Florida State
This overtime thriller in the first round was spectacular. Florida State stud Toney Douglas brought his A game and scored 26 points. However, it wasn’t enough to slow Wisconsin coming back from double digits at halftime. The game came down to the final possession when Wisconsin guard Trevon Hughes drove to the basket and threw up a prayer that went in and drew the foul. Florida States full court heave wasn’t enough as Wisconsin went on to the second round.
MVP: Blake Griffin, F, Oklahoma
Griffin, like the whole season, has been unstoppable. Griffin has had a double-double in both games, going for 28 points and 13 bounds against Morgan State and 33 points and 17 rebounds against Michigan. Moreover, Griffin showed his toughness after a Morgan State player flipped Griffin over his shoulder in a dirty, unnecessary, wrestling move. Griffin is still my player of the year and carries Oklahoma on his back.
Has Some Work Left To Do: Pittsburgh
Their first two rounds have been below par. Pitt needs to play better if they want to win their first ever national title in basketball. Forward Sam Young basically won the Oklahoma State game for his team with 32 points. The rest of the team needs to play on Young’s level. That means Dajaun Blair needs to rebound better, Levance Fields needs to involve the rest of the team more, and Jermaine Dixon needs to play better in general. They still have what it takes to win it all, they just need to remember that.
Coolest Jerseys: Syracuse
Those tight fitting jerseys that ‘Cuse, Ohio State, and Oklahoma State are wearing are sharp (Nike’s new jerseys.) But, Syracuse’s white jerseys that say “Orange” on the front are the best looking unis in the nation.
The Next Big East Team: Western Kentucky
Since the Big East seems to collect schools (16 and counting!) the next school inducted into the conference should be WKU. They beat Louisville earlier this season and in the past two tournaments they have advanced to at least the second round both times, despite being double digit seeds. In fact, in the past two seasons they have been more relavent then cross state juggernaut Kentucky. Yeah, I said it, Wildcats. I’m right too.