Stop the Madness!

Mercer Beats Duke

A Salute to the All-First Week Team & Those Who Busted Our Brackets

Each year it seems like the NCAA Tournament cannot get more exciting. It’s impossible, I tell myself. But, every year it exceeds my expectations. This year has to be one of the best first weeks in recent memory, with plenty of upsets, drama, individual standout performances and the same commercials being played over and over again.1

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Below is my “All-First Week Team2,” these players led their team to victory not once, but twice3 (or in Stokes’ case, three times) and I am really looking forward to watching them play this upcoming week in the Sweet Sixteen.

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All-First Week Team

Jordan Adams – Guard – UCLA
21 PPG, 6 RPG, 4 APG

Chasson Randle – Guard – Stanford
18 PPG, 5 RPG, 4 SPG

Shabazz Napier – Guard – UCONN
24 PPG, 7 RPG, 4 APG

Jarnell Stokes – Forward – Tennessee
21 PPG, 15 RPG, 2 APG

Julius Randle – Forward – Kentucky
16 PPG, 13 RPG, 3 APG

Out of these five players, although the individual numbers are gaudy for all of them, the one player who has been the most important to his team thus far is Shabazz Napier. Not only are his statistics incredible through the first two games (vs. Saint Joseph’s & Villanova), but he seems to carry the biggest burden on his shoulders in comparison to the other four players who have made my list. Napier is one of my favorite players to watch, reminding me of Kemba Walker with his tight handle of the basketball and incredible first step quickness – could we see a repeat of Kemba Walker’s run in 2011? 4

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Bracket Busters

What would the NCAA Tournament be without those teams who have busted our bracket? Year in and year out, our brackets are busted within hours of the first Thursday tip-off. So, I think it’s fitting that we give some credit to those teams who have set flames to our hope for an office pool pay-day.

(14) Mercer Bears over (3) Duke

Ok, Duke fans…you may want to go ahead and skip this part. Was Duke over seeded? Was Mercer under seeded? Or was it just a good, old fashioned upset? I am going with the latter. Whatever you want to call it, it was awesome, and I think Mercer celebrates as well as any Cinderella in recent memory. It’s just unfortunate their run ended Sunday night against Tennessee. As for Duke, this may be the worst NCAA Tournament loss in school history.

http://youtu.be/2tGCPVR8Mdk

(11) Dayton Flyers over (3) Syracuse

Although the Orange finished the regular season and ACC Tournament in dreadful fashion, they were still projected to go to the Final Four in many brackets nationwide. But, the gritty Flyers of Dayton had other plans. Timely shots and consistent defense got Dayton over the hump, which also included dodging a few close bullets by Cuse’s Tyler Ennis in the last minute. Nothing could derail this eleventh seed. Dayton dances on.

(8) Kentucky over (1) Wichita State

I could have went with UCONN over Nova, or Stanford over Kansas, but this was such a well-played game by both teams I think it’s fair to highlight this one. This was one of the problems that resulted when the NCAA put the Shockers in such a difficult bracket, was it meant to test them, or screw them? I report, you decide.5 Either way, it was a brutal second game matchup for Wichita State.  Kentucky has a roster as talented as any in the country. The Wildcats are a scary team, and a Rick Pitino – John Calipari in-state rivalry will certainly make some headlines.

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I felt obligated to write this article to celebrate a great week of basketball, and let’s hope it continues into the Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight. The two games I’m looking forward to the most: Virginia-Michigan State & Louisville-Kentucky. My bet is that the winner of those games may end up playing each other in the National Championship. We will just have to wait and find out.

About Tyler Michels

Tyler is an NC State alum living in Raleigh, NC. Growing up in Northwest New Jersey, Tyler developed a love for New York sports teams, driving his desire to become a writer. In his free time, Tyler can probably be found on a golf course.

Comments

  1. Ebon Talifarro says:

    Hey, I’m Ebon Talifarro, my class (8th grade) wants to interview you, would you have time to answer a few questions?

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