The 2011 edition of March Madness brought us a lot of good games and some amazing performances. After yesterday’s semifinals, the NCAA Men’s Basketball National Championship game is set up and it features 8-seed, Butler University from the Horizon League taking on Big East tourney champs, the UConn Huskies. These teams have fought hard and deserve to be playing for the most prized possession in NCAA sports. Butler has won 14 games in a row, while UConn has won 10. Both teams had disappointing regular seasons in league play, but came on strong in their conference tournaments and have ridden the momentum all the way past the Final Four games and into tomorrow’s game. In addition to this, the young and talented Kentucky Wildcats and the Cinderellas of VCU had great runs that ended last night. Both teams have a lot to be happy about as they brought some flavor to the tournament and proved that they have what it takes to make a great run at a national title. If Kentucky’s nucleus stays in college, I would have to put them as my favorite for next year. Without further ado, here are my selections for the Team of the Tourney…
G, Junior, UConn, Kemba Walker…25 ppg, 6.8 apg, 5.3 rpg (in tournament play). Kemba has done it all year long and is my vote for the NCAA player of the year. If he leaves, he will be a dangerous scoring threat in the NBA and reminds me a lot of a former UConn Huskie, Ben Gordon. If he stays and Lamb does too, then watch out for UConn to repeat their performance next year…
G, Junior, Butler, Shelvin Mack…21.8 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 2.8 apg. Shelvin Mack brought the ruckus during the tourney. He willed his team against 1-seed Pitt where he exploded for 30 points and torched the Gators of Florida for 27 in the Elite 8. The kid proved that he can score with the best of them and has been a great sidekick in tandem with Matt Howard for the Bulldogs.
F, Senior, VCU, Jamie Skeen…17.5 ppg, 6.6 rpg. The 6’9, 240 lb forward broke out in the tournament and helped lead VCU to the Final Four. Skeen was right around his 15 ppg average in the first few rounds, but showed up big in the Elite 8 and Final 4 with 26 points against KU and 27 points in their loss to Butler. This guy has a good perimeter shot to go along with his tough inside game. He is a lot to handle and showed why he was VCU’s go-to-guy late in games. I am very interested to see how NBA scouts rate him and if he will make a roster in the future.
F, Sophomore, Arizona, Derrick Williams…22.75 ppg, 9.25 rpg. The sophomore beast in the paint showed why he is considered to be a potential top-5 pick in the 2011 NBA Draft. Williams dominated the Pac-10, particularly in the tournament and led the Wildcats to an Elite 8 appearance. His biggest game came on the biggest stage as he beasted Duke for 32 points and 13 rebounds. The big fella has a great all around game. He not only has post moves and an explosive game around the rim, but he is able to step out and knock down the three when needed.
F/C, Senior, Kentucky, Josh Harrellson…13 ppg, 8 rpg. The 6’10, 275 lb big boy from St. Charles, Missouri was the heart and soul of the Kentucky Wildcats run in the NCAA tournament. Harrellson was the only senior on the team and he showed up big in the tournament. His best performance was a 17 point, 10 rebound outburst against one of the nation’s best players in Jared Sullinger of Ohio State. Harrellson brought it in so many ways during the tournament, from offensive rebounds to charges to timely buckets. The guy was an absolute beast and deserving of some credit for the work he did in the paint.
Well that is it for 756sports Team of the Tourney. We hope you have enjoyed our coverage of the madness and make sure to check back for a recap of tomorrow’s national championship game, which tips off at 623 pacific on CBS.