March Madness Sweet 16: Studs and Duds
If you missed some of today’s action, check out our 2013 NCAA Tournament Headquarters for box scores and game recaps.
Here were Thursday’s studs and duds:
Michael Carter-Williams, Syracuse – The Orange upset the Indiana Hoosiers and Carter-Williams led the way for Syracuse. The sophomore guard had his best game of the tournament on Thursday, finishing with 24 points, six rebounds and four steals in the win. Carter-Williams was Syracuse’s best player, and the game definitely helps his draft stock. Scouts were anticipating the match-up between Victor Oladipo and Carter-Williams, and the latter definitely had the better performance.
LaQuinton Ross, Ohio State – Deshaun Thomas had 20 points, but Ross was the stud of the game against Ohio State. Not only did he have 17 points in his 18 minutes off of the bench, he hit the game-winning three with two seconds left. Ross scored 14 of his 17 points in the second half, lifting the Buckeyes to the Elite 8. Ross’ performance was a pleasant surprise, considering he averaged just 7.7 points during the regular season and had never attempted a go-ahead or game-tying shot in the final minute of any game in his college career. His clutch shot and efficient play earns him a spot on this list.
Vander Blue, Marquette – For the third straight round, Blue is on the studs list. He has been Marquette’s most important player during their tournament run. Blue was clutch during their first two games and while the Golden Eagles didn’t need late-game heroics from the junior guard on Thursday, it was mainly because he played so well early in the game. He scored six of his 14 points during a 10-1 run that gave Marquette an early 14-5 lead and they never trailed again. His offensive and defensive energy lifted the Golden Eagles, which lands Blue on the studs list once again.
Marquette’s Bench – Blue was the Golden Eagles’ best player, but Marquette wouldn’t have advanced to the Elite 8 without the solid play of their second unit. Jamil Wilson and Davante Gardner came up big off of Marquette’s bench. Wilson had 16 points (5-9 shooting from the field), eight rebounds and three blocks. Gardner had 14 points (5-7 shooting from the field), four rebounds and one assist. Wilson and Gardner were incredibly efficient off of the bench and extremely productive in their limited minutes.
Malcolm Armstead, Wichita State – Armstead was Wichita State’s best player on Thursday and he lifted the Shockers into the Elite 8 over La Salle. He filled the stat sheet in the win, finishing with 18 points, six rebounds, four assists, two steals and a block. Carl Hall (16 points, eight rebounds and four block) and Ron Baker (13 points, four rebounds and two assists) also played well for Wichita State. However, it was Armstead who led the way for the Shockers.
Mark Lyons, Arizona – The Wildcats weren’t able to beat the Buckeyes, but Lyons kept them in the game until the final buzzer. He finished the game with 23 points and shot 6-12 from the field. Every time it seemed like Ohio State was going to pull away, Lyons hit a big shot to keep Arizona around. The senior guard was one of the best players in the tournament. In Arizona’s three games, he scored at least 23 points and shot at least 50 percent from the field. Even though Lyons and the Wildcats were eliminated on Thursday, he’s on the studs list because he had another excellent individual performance.
Miami’s Defense – The Hurricanes played excellent defense in the first two games of the tournament, holding their opponents to 39.6 percent shooting from the field. However, Marquette did whatever they wanted offensively against Miami. They shot 54 percent from the field and 50 percent from three-point range. At one point, the Golden Eagles led by 22 points. This was a stark contrast to Marquette’s first two tournament victories, which were big comebacks that came down to the wire.
Rion Brown, Miami – After erupting for 21 points in Miami’s win over Illinois, Brown came back down to earth in a big way on Thursday. The junior guard had just five points on 2-12 shooting from the field. He missed seven of his eight attempts from three-point range. There was a lot of blame to go around for Miami’s loss to Marquette, but Brown certainly didn’t help the Hurricanes on Thursday evening.
Cody Zeller, Indiana – For the third straight game, Zeller left a lot to be desired. He was very average in the Hoosiers’ loss to the Syracuse Orange. He had just 10 points on 3-10 shooting in the game, and Indiana was eliminated. Zeller didn’t take over the game, which is what NBA scouts wanted to see from the potential top-three pick. Once again, Victor Oladipo was Indiana’s best player. Zeller will still be a top pick in this year’s draft if he leaves school, but he didn’t help his stock with his tournament play.
Ramon Galloway, La Salle – Galloway was La Salle’s leading scorer during the regular season, but he didn’t have his best showing in the loss to Wichita State. The senior guard had just 11 points on 4-15 shooting from the field. He missed four of his six attempts from three-point range. He also had a team-high four turnovers in the game. Sam Mills struggled as well, finishing with just seven points on 2-8 shooting from the field, but Galloway’s struggles were a bigger blow to the Explorers since he had been their best player all season long.
Cleanthony Early, Wichita State – Early had been Wichita State’s best player in the first two rounds, but he struggled against La Salle. He had just eight points on 4-11 shooting from the field. Fortunately for the Shockers, they were still able to win mainly because Malcolm Armstead, Carl Hall and Ron Baker had huge performances. However, going forward, Wichita State will need Early to play better and duplicate the success he had in the first two rounds if they want their incredible run to continue.