Wednesday, March 15, 2006

On the Eve of the Tourney

I feel like a little kid getting ready for Christmas morning. There is nothing like the first day of the NCAA Tournament. Nothing. In honor of this exciting time, I am handing out some special awards. These are for individual players to watch out for over the next few days:

The "Julius Hodge" Award - Ronnie Brewer, Arkansas. The Hodge Award goes to the veteran player on a mediocre team that is most likely to dominate an early round game despite having no jump shot whatsoever. Hodge carried NC State to the Elite Eight last year and willed his team to a win over UConn while leaving his mark on the tournament. I don't see Arkansas going that far, but I think they will beat Bucknell and give Memphis a great run behind Brewer.

The "Chris Thomas" Award - Dominic James, Marquette. A few years back, Notre Dame's Chris Thomas came out of nowhere as a freshman to set the tournament field on fire. Last year, Daniel Gibson of Texas and Kyle Lowrey of 'Nova did the same thing, but Lowrey got the hardware since his team went further. As you might guess, this award goes to the frosh point guard that lights up the field. This year I've got Dominic James of Marquette. The Golden Eagles are poised to make a surprise run in this tournament, and if they do, it will be behind this explosive guard.

The "Antonio McDyess" Award - Joakim Noah, Florida. This goes to the underclassman forward that goes from "potential lottery pick" to "top five pick" in a week. McDyess took the tournament by storm back in his day and I expect Noah to have a similar ascension this time around.

The "Mateen Cleaves" Award - Darius Washington, Memphis. This goes to the point guard most likely to channel emotion into leading his talented team on a deep run. Give me the guy that is still fueled by the memory of two missed free throws in the C-USA title game a year ago. Plus, Washington has the skill to back up the fire.

The "Dwayne Wade" Award - Brandon Roy, Washington. To the player most likely to throw up a triple-double while leading his team to an upset win. If the Huskies can get past Utah State, I could see Roy pulling a D-Wade and hanging some huge numbers on Illinois in the second round. (By the way, I've also got Roy as the guy that everyone wishes they had drafted in the 2006 NBA Draft, ala Wade.)

Feel free to post your own awards and get ready for some madness.


Chris said...

How about the "Blake Stepp" Award for guy most likely to throw up 20 bricks in a crucial second round loss? My vote is for Dee Brown of Illinois and maybe even Gerry McNamara for 'Cuse. They both seem like guys that could go 3-18 or something like that, after carrying a heavy load all season long.

Adam Hoff said...

Well, you were pretty close. Brown went 1-7 with some hideous bricks, but he also had 8 boards, 10 assists, and 4 steals while leading Illinois to the win over Air Force. As for G-Mac, he did indeed play terribly, but it turns out he was hurt. Still, a pretty good call that the two guys you mentioned went 1-for-13 combined.

As for my award winners, Noah certainly did his part (see new thread), Roy came up big, and James looked great but the Golden Eagles lost, so that didn't work out too well. We'll see how Brewer and Washington do tomorrow.

Adam Hoff said...

Well, the results are in and my man Ronnie Brewer was very un-Julius-Hodge-like in the Razorbacks loss to Bucknell. It was just the missed jumper at the end, it was the fact that he didn't assert himself AT ALL during the game. Bucknell had no prayer of keeping him out of the lane and creating, yet he took the ball and drove about three times the entire contest. He looked somewhere between bored, tired, and scared most of the morning. Maybe it was the early start. After all, I looked the same way and I was just sitting on my couch.

I wonder what this will do to Brewer's draft stock? He already has a hard time shooting, so I could see this disappearing act knocking him out of the lottery. At the very least, he as to be passed by Brandon Roy, right? Why would you take a 6'7" combo guard that can't shoot and shrinks from the big moment over a 6'6" combo guard that can shoot and brings the best he has come tourney time?