Archive - Mar 13, 2011
The NCAA Tournament field has been announced and it’s time to fill out those brackets. With its Big Ten Tournament victory, Ohio State lays claim to the top spot in this year’s final Power 16. The Buckeyes, Kansas and Duke appear to be the teams to beat, but beware because you never know when a Butler or George Mason will make a remarkable run. Before you pencil in your Sweet 16 and Final Four, take a look at our final Power 16 and how we think they’ll fare in the big dance…
Player of the Week
The most valuable player from the Big East tournament was guard Kemba Walker, who helped Connecticut knock off four top 20 teams in five days. Walker, who averaged 26 points throughout the week, put on arguably the most impressive stretch of performances this tournament has ever seen, tantalizing opponents with a team strapped on his back. It truly looked as if the Huskies were playing with an NBA player, as he torched opposing defenses despite being targeted like he was Jason Bourne. His game-winner against Pittsburgh was legendary, seemingly tying Gary McGhee's shoelaces together with his mind before electrifying the Garden crowd with a picturesque step back jumper.
First Team All-Big East
Kemba Walker, G, UConn
He was great in Maui to start the year, he was great in New York City to end it. No player has had a bigger impact toward his team's success than Walker, who became the team's leader and go-to scorer from game one of the season. Walker's 23.5 points, 4 assists, 5 rebounds and 2 steals per game doesn't quite tell the whole story, but will no doubt earn him votes for National Player of the Year.
Ben Hansbrough, G, Notre Dame
The Big East player of the year had a memorable senior season, averaging 18.5 on 44% shooting from downtown. With his strong late play down the stretch, he's put himself in the draft day conversation. One of the toughest players in the country, he'll have plenty of eyes watching him over the next week or two, or three.
Marshon Brooks, SG, Providence
Brooks came out of nowhere to average 24.8 points and 7 rebounds per game, finishing second in the nation in scoring. It wasn't until he scored 52 points against Notre Dame that his name would make headlines, but if you followed him throughout the season you'd know how spectacular he was on a nightly basis against the most elite competition.
Ashton Gibbs, G, Pittsburgh
Gibbs' steady play all season was a primary reason for Pittsburgh's season-long stay atop the rankings. He averaged 16.7 points per game on an eye-popping 48% from downtown.
Dwight Hardy, G, St. Johns
Also named the conference's most improved player, Hardy's rise from inconspicuous to featured was exciting to watch. His 26 point effort in a win over Duke at the Garden seemed to have started the run, one that followed with a 33 point game in a win over Connecticut, a 28 point game in a win at Marquette and a 34 point game in a win at Villanova. Hardy finished the year averaging 18 points per game.