NCAA Tourney: Player Pool Update
*Written March 21st
As we move to the Sweet 16, everyone has had casualties in their player pool. Some have been worse than others, but the key to the player pool strategy is not just scoring big, but acumulating opportunities as well. So far, the scores are pretty close with a pack of favorites narrowing near the front. This upcoming weekend will truly separate the contenders from the pretenders, but we will give you the current run down of where everybody stands after the first three tournament rounds.
Players who have been eliminated will have an asterisk next to there name, plus a description of when the elimination took place.
Tu Holloway 46 points
Darius Johnson-Odom 37
Harrison Barnes 31
Ryan Evans 29
Brian Conklin 27* (3rd Round loss to Michigan State)
Kris Joseph 23
Austin Rivers 19* (2nd Round loss to Lehigh)
John Henson 13
Point Total: 225
Scoring Average: 16.1 ppg
Best Pick: Tu Holloway! Xavier's unquestioned leader had two big games as the Musketeers finally seemed to have gained early season form in the NCAA Tournament. Currently only behind DeShaun Thomas in tournament scoring average with 23 ppg, Holloway will look to upset Baylor in the Sweet 16. Even if Xavier falls, look for Tu to put up a nice game for Tyler to add to his total. Excellent 6th round pick by last years champ.
Worst Pick: Unfortunately, this distinction looks to go to Austin Rivers. Doc's high scoring freshman son had 19 points against Lehigh, but the brilliant performance by CJ McCollum and his Lehigh team downed Duke in the 2nd Round. Truly it could have been worse for a one game point total, but with John Henson coming back and scoring 13 in NC's 3rd Round win over Creighton, look for him to surpass the star freshman and leave him as the low point man on Ty's squad.
Breakdown: The man clearly knows what he is doing. Rivers going down early was a bummer, but he and Conklin being out still gives Tyler a nice looking 6 player roster. Harrison Barnes has not exactly lived up to the first pick moniker, yet, though if he does make it to the national championship, he may very well lead the Tournament in points scored. Tyler does not have the monumental point total he accumulated in last years first group of Tournament games, but he is winning now and has ammo left to take this battle.
John Jenkins 40* (3rd Round loss to Wisconsin)
Marquis Teague 36
Doron Lamb 32
Tyler Zeller 28
James Michael McAdoo 26
Michael Dixon 22* (2nd Round loss to Norfolk State)
Reggie Bullock 20
Phil Pressey 20* (2nd Round loss to Norfolk State)
Point Total: 224
Scoring Average: 16.0 ppg
Best Pick: Thus far, Marquis Teague has been a fantastic value pick. Teague went off for 24 points in Kentucky's second round win over Iowa State. It will be interesting to see if he keeps it up, but he actually had a strong game last time Kentucky faced Indiana. Doron Lamb and Tyler Zeller will more than likely end up taking the active scoring lead from Teague, but he has been a rewarding grab.
Worst Pick: Phil Pressey would look to take that distinction. He was Aran's 7th round pick and doubled his normal scoring average in the nail biting loss to Norfolk State. Unfortunately, Phil will remain only a one game wonder as the Tournament goes on.
Breakdown: With 5 players moving on in what is probably the most predicted NCAA Tournament finals match-up, Aran looks like a definite contender for high point man when it is all said and done. North Carolina being without Kendall Marshall should be somewhat of a worry, but Aran has players who could log more shots and minutes with him on the sidelines (minus efficiency, most likely). Coming in with one of the lowest combined PPG's amongst drafted players, Aran's team has overachieved as a whole and put him in good position for these upcoming contests.
DeShaun Thomas 49
Pierre Jackson 33
Anthony Davis 31
Kendall Marshall 29
Darius Miller 25
Aaron Craft 25
Casper Ware 17
Quincy Acy 11
Point Total: 220
Scoring Average: 14.7 ppg
Best Pick: DeShaun Thomas has been on an absolute tear to start the NCAA Tournament. Currently leading the NCAA Tournament with a 24.5 ppg scoring average, Thomas has the green light to put points on the board for the Buckeyes. He is versatile and with increased PT in his sophomore season, he has become one of the elite scorers in college basketball.
Worst Pick: Unfortunately, Casper Ware only lasted one round after Long Beach State was unable to upset New Mexico in their 2nd round contest. Ware put up a solid 17 points, but will more than likely be surpassed by Baylor's Quincy Acy to be Seth's low scorer. Seth has said he thought about picking Brady Heslip over Acy, which would have been really nice after Heslip's 9 triple game against Colorado.
Breakdown: Seth finds himself in fantastic position with a number of overachieving scorers and only one official elimation. The early scoring of Kendall Marshall was very encouraging, but the right wrist fracture may make Marshall another unofficial elimination. While Seth has a chance to score a lot of points as is, if Marshall is able to come back and even offer light scoring, it may very well be enough to put Seth's team over the top.
Jae Crowder 42
Doug McDermott 36* (3rd Round loss to North Carolina)
Jordan Taylor 31
William Buford 30
Jamaal Franklin 23* (2nd Round loss to North Carolina State)
Tyshawn Taylor 20
Ricardo Ratliffe 14* (2nd Round loss to Norfolk State)
Point Total: 207
Scoring Average: 14.8 ppg
Best Pick: Marquette's multi-talented Jae Crowder has been one of the best all-around players this NCAA Tournament. After putting up a huge game in the Golden Eagles first round win against BYU, he also tamed Murray State to move to the Sweet 16. Marquette will be playing a hot Florida team, but Crowder should still manage to get buckets.
Worst Pick: Ricardo Ratliffe will end up being the low scorer, but Michael Kidd-Gilchrist looks to be a bad 9th pick in this Player Pool draft. MKG scored only a single bucket against Iowa State, being much more focused on defense and not necessarily looking to score. The thought process behind the pick was Kidd-Gilchrist's penchant for scoring big in Kentucky's big games. Guess the first two tournament contests did not really count as such for this talented UK squad. Would have probably been better to go with one of Kentucky's more consistent scorers, with Doron Lamb coming to mind. With Lamb, my team would be at the top after the first week. Can't lament much though, but I will say I had a likely error in judgement.
Breakdown: Middle of the pack team that depends on numerous variables to play out in its favor. William Buford has clearly taken a back seat to DeShaun Thomas thus far as a scoring option and others will need to step up a tad to compete with the leaders. With only 3 players out and one guaranteed to go down after this weekend in the Ohio State/Wisconsin match-up, a middle of the pack finish might be where this team stays.
Draymond Green 40
Terrence Jones 30
Cody Zeller 30
Bradley Beal 28
Yancy Gates 25
Jeffery Taylor 24* (3rd Round loss to Wisconsin)
Tim Hardaway Jr. 14* (2nd Round loss to Ohio)
Mike Moser 10* (2nd Round loss to Colorado)
Point Total: 201
Scoring Average: 14.4 ppg
Best Pick: If you had to pick a first weekend tournament MVP, odds are the award would go to Draymond Green. Michigan State's versatile senior forward had a monster 24-12-10 triple double in the Spartans 2nd round ousting of LIU Brooklyn, finishing with a strong double-double against St. Louis. Finishing 9 points ahead of the next closest first pick, Draymond has definitely been Eric's Player Pool MVP as well.
Worst Pick: Unfortunately, Mike Moser only lasted a single tournament round. With only 24 combined points from Moser and Tim Hardaway Jr., this put an other strong team by Eric at a tad of a competitive disadvantage after round 2. Many thought that UNLV would have an easy time disposing of Colorado in the first round, but the Runnin' Rebels had a disappointing end to the season with Moser not putting in many points in the process.
Breakdown: With Draymond Green crushing the first round Player Pool picks of the competition and his freshmen putting up numbers, Eric could be in the thick of things. He unfortunately will lose another couple players who will be forced to face-off at some point in the Sweet 16 or Elite 8 (Indiana/Kentucky Sweet 16, with Florida and Michigan State having to play if they advance to the Elite 8). Nonetheless, he has a big time scorer on a 1 seed and some other surprises. If Cincinnati were to makes the Final Four, his last pick of Yancy Gates could be seen as pure genius.
Isaiah Canaan 31* (3rd Round loss to Marquette)
CJ Leslie 29
Kenny Boynton 28
Thomas Robinson 27
Marcus Denmon 20* (2nd Round loss to Norfolk State)
J'Covan Brown 19* (2nd Round loss to Cincinnati)
Trey Burke 16* (2nd Round loss to Ohio)
Truck Bryant 9* (2nd Round loss to Gonzaga)
Point Total: 179
Scoring Average: 14.9 ppg
Best Pick: This is a tough one in the long run, but CJ Leslie was the biggest gamble that paid dividends for Jonathan. The sophomore had a couple of solid outings and is actually ahead of consensus 1st Team All-American Thomas Robinson, who was Jonathan's first pick. The two are set to match-up, so this could lean back to Robinson, but Leslie's production is really encouraging. Kenny Boynton gets a shoutout as a really solid last pick who also has point lead potential for Jonathan's team.
Worst Pick: Has to be single digit one gamer Truck Bryant. The senior guard can score in bunches, but Gonzaga had WVU on the ropes early and they struggled to put up points. Jonathan took a lot of low seed risks, but this bubble burst was definitely the low point.
Breakdown: Jonathan went with the Gonzo drafting strategy and hoped that chaos would befall this years tournament and raise him to the heights of the Player Pool. Like many of our brackets, he had a few hits, but the misses sting the most. With 4 players on his team only getting a single contest of tournament action and 3 left alive, Jonathan will need to hope for more chaos. Unfortunately, he only will have one game left for either CJ Leslie or Thomas Robinson as they face-off in their teams Sweet 16 match-up. Jonathan's team could still potentially put up decent numbers, but it seems to lack the quantity to score the point total lead we are all vying for.
Rodney McGruder 45* (3rd Round loss to Syracuse)
Jared Sullinger 30
Keith Appling 29
JaMychal Green 12* (2nd Round loss to Creighton)
Perry Jones 9
Ian Miller 8* (3rd Round loss to Cincinnati)
CJ Fair 6
Kim English 2* (2nd Round loss to Norfolk State)
Point Total: 141
Scoring Average: 10.1 ppg
Best Pick: Even though he is eliminated, Rodney McGruder was a really solid 7th round pick. Jared Sullinger and Keith Appling have the distinct possibility of meeting in the finals. Even if they don't, both can put a lot more points on the board for Adam's team.
Worst Pick: Unfortunately, Adam chose a lot of low scorers after the first block of games. He was hit the worst by the major Norfolk State upset, with Kim English only managing 2 points. Ian Miller also was held to single digits, but English definitely takes the cake as the most disappointing overall player pool choice after a fantastic overall career at Missouri.
Breakdown: He still has a decent bracket breakdown and has a chance for three players to move on to the Final 4 with only Sullinger and Fair set to face-off in their region. But, low point totals have been a major issue and players will need to step up production for Adam to have a chance. This far back from the lead after the first 3 rounds, his team is in absolute Cinderella territory.
Dion Waiters 30
Hollis Thompson 29* (3rd Round loss to NC State)
Jeremy Lamb 19* (2nd Round loss to Iowa State)
Will Barton 16* (2nd Round loss to St. Louis)
Kevin Jones 13* (2nd Round loss to Gonzaga)
Vander Blue 12
Michael Snaer 11* (3rd Round loss to Cincinnati)
Seth Curry 7* (2nd Round loss to Lehigh)
Point Total: 137
Scoring Average: 11.4 ppg
Best Pick: Dion Waiters. Hands down. No need to elaborate.
Worst Pick: All of them? McDunk, we love you man, but come on! Seth Curry wins it. But his top two picks being out of the tournament first day, not to mention both being underdogs to begin with, backfired completely.
Breakdown: He had limited preparation time, but the man seemed to follow no formula. If Jonathan's picks were Gonzo, McDunkin's were Visenberged beyond recogintion (ask him what that means). Either way, unless Dion Waiters suddenly becomes Pete Maravich, this team looks DOA.
This is how things look going into the Sweet 16. Will have the next update for you before the Final 4. Meanwhile, it is incredibly obvious that many of us let some players get away. Here is the list of top scorers who went undrafted, all of whom could have helped our teams a great deal.
The Ones That Got Away From the Player Pool
1. Victor Rudd Jr., South Florida 45* (3rd Round loss to Ohio, played in 3 games)
t-2. Brady Heslip, Baylor 44
t-2. CJ McCollum, Lehigh 44* (3rd Round loss to Xavier)
4. Anthony Collins, South Florida 42*
5. DJ Cooper, Ohio 40
6. Drew Gordon, New Mexico 39* (3rd Round loss to Louisville)
t-7. Royce White, Iowa State 38* (3rd Round loss to Kentucky)
t-7. Noah Hartsock, BYU 38* (2nd Round loss to Marquette)
9. Brandon Davies, BYU 37*
t-10. Robbie Hummel, Purdue 36* (3rd Round loss to Kansas)
t-10. Chris Allen, Iowa State 36*
t-12. Kenny Frease, Xavier 35
t-12. Kwamain Mitchell, St. Louis 35* (3rd Round loss to Michigan State)
15. Elijah Johnson, Kansas 33
t-16. Walter Offutt, Ohio 32
t-16. TJ Price, Western Kentucky 32* (2nd Round loss to Kentucky)
t-16. Gary Bell Jr., Gonzaga 32* (3rd Round loss to Ohio State)
t-19. Richard Howell, NC State 31
t-19. Bradford Burgess, VCU 31* (3rd Round loss to Indiana)
t-19. Terone Johnson, Purdue 31*
t-19. Bernard James, Florida State 31* (3rd Round loss to Cincinnati)
t-19. Mackey McKnight, Lehigh 31*
t-19. Jason Clark, Georgetown 31* (3rd Round loss to NC State)
I need a score update. I think I'm in a commanding position even without Marshall playing.
Through the Sweet 16:
1. Seth: 321
2. Aran: 302
3. Tyler: 288
4. Eric: 274
5. Mike: 273
6. Jonathan: 226
7. Adam: 199
8: McDunk: 154
Through the Elite 8:
1. Seth: 409 (with 4 players left)
2. Aran: 356 (with 2 players left)
3. Mike: 327 (with 3 players left)
4. Tyler: 321 (with no players left)
5. Eric: 300 (with 1 player left)
6. Jonathan: 256 (with 1 player left)
7. Adam: 243 (with 1 player left)
8. McDunk: 163 (with no players left)
Looks like you have this one, Seth, barring major, unforeseen scoring outbursts. With the likes of Anthony Davis and DeShaun Thomas on your team, guessing you should just add to your huge lead when it is all said and done. Definitely well played.