NCAA Player Pool: Update
March Madness has lived up to its billing once again, providing incredible upsets and fantastic performances that we saw from Thursday to Sunday. No bracket was left unscathed and Warren Buffet keeps his billion dollars. The contestants of the Player Pool also succumbed to the unpredictability of the tournament, with each of us losing at least one member of our chosen team. Here are the scores heading into the Sweet 16, along with some analysis regarding where everyone stands moving forward. An asterisk and description is placed next to players that are no longer in the tournament.
1st Place: Dave Ray
Adreian Payne: 53
Doug McDermott: 45* (3rd round loss to Baylor)
Deandre Kane: 38
Luke Hancock: 37
Julius Randle: 32
Joe Harris: 27
Cameron Clark: 25* (2nd round loss to North Dakota St.)
Ethan Wragge: 19* (3rd round loss to Baylor)
Total: 276 (18.4 average)
Adreian Payne was excellent against Delaware, scoring 41 points in 24 minutes. Deandre Kane's winning lay-up against North Carolina also had to have Dave jumping out of his seat, as it topped a 24 point performance and carried him on to score another day. Throw in that Luke Hancock, Julius Randle and Joe Harris all were north of their regular season scoring averages, Team Ray had to be pretty content with his first weekend.
Cameron Clark went down in his first game, despite putting up a solid 25 points, you never want to lose someone early. Thinking that Dougie McBuckets and his sweet shooting front court mate would go far, Baylor unfortunately ended their tournament dreams with an 85-55 trouncing in the 3rd round.
Being in first place is always a good thing and Dave really made some fantastic choices. Adreian Payne has been a major 3rd round gem and he has 5 players that are still alive. The one issue he could face is that he has two sets of players matching up in the Sweet 16, as Harris will face Payne while Hancock will face Randle. This will put him at a maximum of 3 players moving forward. Luckily, he has built a nice lead after the first weekend, though he has left some wiggle room for other challengers who could end up having more players moving forward.
2nd Place: Jacob Stallard
Jarnell Stokes: 61
Jordan McRae: 55
Bryce Cotton: 36* (2nd round loss to North Carolina)
Russ Smith: 29
Cameron Bairstow: 24* (2nd round loss to Stanford)
Marcus Smart: 23* (2nd round loss to Gonzaga)
Jahii Carson: 19* (2nd round loss to Texas)
Sean Kilpatrick: 18* (2nd round loss to Harvard)
Total: 265 (20.4 average)
The play of Jarnell Stokes has really stood out. Nobody in the NCAA tournament has scored more points than Stokes, who ironically was chosen last in our Player Pool draft. Jacob hit the nail on the head with Tennessee advancing far, with Stokes and Jordan McRae (the 3rd leading scorer in the NCAA Tournament) having at least another game to add to their total. The way Tennessee is playing, they could make it further, as Jacob predicted as well. First overall pick Russ Smith is also still alive and while he hasn't shot well, he is always a scoring threat. Overall, Team Stallard's scoring average crushes the next closest competitor and he had a big total after the initial weekend of tourney play.
Hard to dislike the single game performances of the rest of Jacob's team. The issue of course, is that he had 5 one-and-done's. Bryce Cotton was fantastic and pretty much good for a couple rounds worth from most teams leading scorer in Providence's loss to UNC. Cameron Bairstow and Marcus Smart also turned in stellar performances. They just will not be able to keep it going, which definitely looks to limit Jacob's future output.
Fingers are definitely crossed for Tennessee and Louisville. To make matters worse though, he loses at least one of the teams in the Elite 8, where they may have a potential face-off. His best hope would be for Tennessee to keep the magic rolling and for teams with lower seeds to win out in similar fashion in other regions. First weekend gave him a big score, though it will be difficult to maintain it with only 3 players left.
3rd Place: Adam Ganeles
Cleanthony Early 54* (3rd round loss to Kentucky)
Shabazz Napier 49
Joseph Young 48* (3rd round loss to Wisconsin)
Gary Harris 28
Montrezl Harrell 22
Jerami Grant 20 (3rd round loss to Dayton)
Kaleb Tarczewski 16
Buddy Hield 9 (2nd round loss to North Dakota St.)
Total 246 (16.4 average)
Three players averaging 24 ppg would have to be one. Cleanthony Early with 31 against Kentucky and Joseph Young with 29 against Wisconsin, both went out blazing. Shabazz Napier has been doing his best Kemba Walker impression for UConn, more than playing the part through their first couple match-ups. Gary Harris had a nice second game as well and should look to up his average in the Sweet 16.
Buddy Hield, who had a great sophomore season for Oklahoma, was held to single digits in his lone contest. Jerami Grant was shut down by Dayton, only managing 4 points after a promising first game. Though Harrell and Tarczewski play for prominent teams, most of their contribution is not really present in the scoring column.
With half of his team gone, Adam could still potentially not lose anyone until a hopeful Michigan St./UConn showdown in the Elite 8. He has scoring potential left and their is hope that the players other than Napier hone up to get to their typical scoring averages. Advancement is crucial amongst his remaing players, though their at least seems to be some optimism to gaining ground.
4th Place: Nick Coppola
Melvin Ejim 36
Chasson Randle 36
Aaron Gordon 34
CJ Fair 28* (3rd round loss to Dayton)
Ron Baker 27* (3rd round loss to Kentucky)
Langston Galloway 25* (2nd round loss to UConn)
Perry Ellis 23* (3rd round loss to Stanford)
Caris LeVert 20
Total: 229 (15.3 average)
When your three leading scorers come out of the first weekend alive, that is a great thing. Not to mention that all of Nick's remaining players are in different regions. With a great amount of luck, a Stanford, Iowa St., Arizona and Michigan Final Four would certainly be Nick's dream scenario for his Player Pool hopes. Aaron Gordon has definitely been a pleasant surprise scoring wise, averaging 17 ppg in Arizona's two games. Ejim and Randle are right around their season average and Caris LeVert picked it up against Texas.
Langston Galloway only lasted a game, even it is was for a good quarter centuries worth of points. Also, he at the very least was going to be down one player after the first weekend, which turned out to be Perry Ellis when he matched up with Chasson Randle. Losing second round pick CJ Fair this early was not part of the plan, as was Ron Baker and Wichita St. falling to Kentucky.
Giving yourself an option to have another 3 or 4 possible games is what you want in this tournament and the possibility is there with Nick's team. Guessing he would much rather have Stanford playing Syracuse to get the points from CJ Fair, though now he has a great reason to cheer for the Cardinal to advance to the Elite 8. Not a lot of flashy scorers on his team, though they get the job done and having no fear of them having to face off with each other until a possible match-up in Arlington gives him hope.
Fifth Place: Clayton Crowe
Jordan Adams 36
Nick Johnson 35
Scottie Wilbekin 31
Cory Jefferson 30
Glenn Robinson III 28
Georges Niang 24* (Iowa St. still alive, though suffered a broken foot in their win over NC Central and will miss the rest of the season)
JayVaughn Pinkston 24* (3rd round loss to UConn)
James Young 20
Total: 228 (15.2 average)
His team scored a solid number of points and his top five scorers after the first weekend are still alive. While Clayton loses either Jordan Adams or Scottie Wilbekin after the Sweet 16, the efficiency of his draft was top notch. His Pac-12 players have been consistent with their high scoring ways and Wilbekin really took the reins for Florida in their showdown with Pitt on his way to 21 points. Baylor has looked fantastic and may be out for an upset. Plus, Kentucky already having beaten Louisville has to give some hope in that match-up. To round it out, GR3 has been consistent for a Michigan team that looks like a tough out.
The most heartbreaking loss in the Player Pool had to be that of Georges Niang. The tough, unorthodox sophomore was turning in a great season and had a big first game for Iowa St. Unfortunately, he broke his foot and was ruled out for the season. Definitely send our thoughts out to Georges Niang and the Cyclone faithful. With Pinkston being Clayton's only other loss, it is hard not to feel for the way Niang went down.
Clayton surely was downtrodden about the injury to Georges Niang, though his team overall is still in pretty solid shape. He has three quarters of his players still remaining and could still have five around in the Elite 8. Along with this, all of them have scored at a nice clip, with most at or above their season average. Right now he is in fifth place, by the time the Final Four rolls around, we could be looking at the odds on favorite.
Sixth Place Matt Misichko
Tyler Ennis 35* (3rd round loss to Dayton)
Nik Stauskas 32
James McAdoo 30* (3rd round loss to Iowa St.)
Frank Kaminsky 27
James Bell 26* (3rd round loss to UConn)
Andrew Wiggins 23* (3rd round loss to Stanford)
Joe Jackson 22* (3rd round loss to Virginia)
Treveon Graham 19* (2nd round loss to Stephen F. Austin)
Total: 214 (14.3 average)
Nik Stauskas looks to be doing what he does best, which is killing teams from long range. Was 7-15 from downtown over Michigan's two wins and has kept right on starring as the Wolverine's go-to scorer. Frank Kaminsky showed the type of match-up problems he provides as an inside-out scorer on his way to 19 points in Wisconsin's Saturday win over Oregon. With legitimate three point range as well, Kaminsky shot only 2-7 from the FT stripe, something that one would expect to move much closer to his season average. Tyler Ennis was Syracuse's main scoring option and even James Michael McAdoo contributed above his season average.
Andrew Wiggins had an incredibly rough ending to his college career as Stanford took him completely out of his element. With the expectations high with his recent play, Wiggins went out with only 4 points and a tournament average of 11.5 ppg. Matt chose Canadians with his first three picks only to have Wiggins and Ennis lose to teams prominently featuring Canadians not chosen in the Player Pool draft. The 4 point play at the end of regulation led to the potential downfall of Tre Graham, while Joe Jackson went out with single digits against Virginia. Difficult first weekend for Team Misichko.
Still featuring two of the Big Ten's premier snipers who are both favorites in their Sweet 16 match-up still gives a tad more scoring potential. The issue is, even if everything were to break perfectly, either Stauskas or Kaminsky as they would match-up in the Final Four. In need of some big time scoring outbursts and even than, it looks to be a long shot.
Seventh Place: Aran Smith
TJ Warren 53* (2nd round loss to St. Louis)
Branden Dawson 36
Darrun Hilliard 29* (3rd round loss to UConn)
Kyle Anderson 27
Markel Brown 20* (2nd round loss to Gonzaga)
Terran Petteway 18* (2nd round loss to Baylor)
Jabari Parker 14* (2nd round loss to Mercer)
Rodney Hood 6* (2nd round loss to Mercer)
Total: 203 (18.5 average)
Branden Dawson had an excellent game against Harvard, grilling the Crimson for 26 points. Kyle Anderson has been strong and TJ Warren did quite well for two games worth of action, averaging 26.5 ppg. His teams overall scoring average is good?
Losing 5 players by the 2nd round was devastating. Throw in that Darrun Hilliard and Villanova were upset, it is difficult to see much upside with this squad. Aran remarked that it was quite a risky strategy to have two players from the same team as his first two picks. The foreshadowing that came along with that is eerie.
UCLA and Michigan St. would be a Final Four match-up. To be fair, Jabari Parker would be at the top of most peoples draft boards in a scoring based contest. Otherwise, looks like Aran was a definite victim to the Madness part of March Madness. Upsets galore can lead to a destroyed bracket and in this case, a decimated Player Pool team.
Last Place: Michael Visenberg
Xavier Thames 53
Marcus Paige 38 (3rd round loss to Iowa St.)
Casey Prather 24
Malcolm Brogdon 24
Chris Jones 22
Patric Young 17
Michael Frazier II 13
Keith Appling 6
Total: 197 (12.3 ppg)
Xavier Thames has been torching the nets and has accounted for 26% of my team scoring. Though their may be slight controversy behind my choice (I had announced a different player, only to quickly retract and choose Thames before the next pick had been made, to the chagrin of some), Thames has been a revelation for Team Visenberg. Marcus Paige was consistent in his two games before the last minute loss to Iowa St. and the team still has seven players remaining.
Well, as a competitor, you hate to be in last place. Really low scoring average and it seems that thinking the hot shooting of Michael Frazier II would be on display has not paid off in the least. Keith Appling could be facing the affects of injury, as otherwise his 6 points through two games are just perplexing. Will lose either he or Malcolm Brogdon during the MSU/Virginia Sweet 16 showdown as well. With Paige being gone, this teams scoring average does not look great moving forward unless some players come alive with breakout performances. Tough to see that happening.
Conservative drafting and major tournament paranoia might actually pay off! Staying alive is a big key to the Player Pool and this team still has a good deal of life after the first three rounds. As long as Florida keeps winning and a couple of other teams move forward, it looks like this team could possibly charge up the ranks. Not at all guaranteed to go from worst to first, though it has an outside shot. When the next update rolls around, thinking this team at least leaves last.
That is the update after the first three rounds of tournament play, will have another one for you after the Elite 8! Any predictions on who will win? Some draft snubs who you could not believe we passed up on? Or did you make a team of your own to try and compete with us? Feel free to comment and hope your March Madness is going well!
Part 1: NCAA Player Pool Draft