NCAA Tournament: Sizing Up the Top Freshmen

John LewisSenior Writer IMarch 22, 2008

Okay, who called these upsets? 

March just got a little madder, as two No. 13 seeds and two No. 12 seed have won. But as we size up our brackets, let's not lose sight of the more compelling question:

How did the fab freshman do in their first NCAA experience? 

Of the first 14 picks in the NBA Draft, seven are predicted to be freshman—and of those top players, four won in the first round of the Tournament and three lost.

Likely top pick Michael Beasley led all scorers with 23 points and 11 rebounds.  He beat USC and the country's other top freshman, O.J. Mayo. 

Mayo scored 20 points and dished out five assists in the loss.

Memphis' Derrick Rose won his first game, as he scored 17 points and made six of his 10 shots from the field.  Also on the winning end was Blake Griffin, who scored 12 points and only missed one shot all day as Oklahoma beat St. Joseph's.

On the losing end was Eric Gordon of Indiana.  The super freshman struggled badly from the field and ended up scoring only eight points after averaging just over 20 for the season. 

Jerryd Bayless of Arizona also lost, putting up 11 points in 40 minutes.

So are these top picks ready to move up to the next level? 

In an effort to keep Beasley at Kansas State one more year, K-State students voted him Student Body President.  I don't know if that will be enough to keep him in school, given the money and fame waiting for him as the first pick of the draft.

Mayo seemed to up his draft status with a good game in a loss, and Rose played well in front of the NBA scouts.  But Gordon, projected as the fourth pick, did little to solidify his draft stats. 

The youngster came out flat and was never part of the offense.

The rest looked good enough to get a second look.  Bayless and Griffin had solid games in what is likely to be their first and only crack at the Tournament.

Only time will tell how where Beasley and Co. ultimately land—and how they fare at the next level.