All-Sweet 16 Team: Top Performers of Opening Rounds
My All-Sweet 16 Team is not composed of the top five players who are still alive in the Big Dance, but rather the five individuals who had the best performances of the first two rounds.
Other than possibly Arizona, the teams represented were expected to reach the second weekend.
However, without the stellar play of these individuals, we'd likely be seeing some different schools in the Sweet 16.
Without further ado, here's my team...
Sherron Collins, Kansas
Ben Woodside and the upset-minded North Dakota State Bison played well, but Collins scored a season-high 32 points to lead Kansas to victory.
His ability to get in the lane was impressive, and he often used his penetration to set up a teammate—he finished with eight assists.
In a 60-43 win over Dayton, Collins poured in 25 on 11-for-19 shooting. As a reserve on last year's National Championship team, Collins never scored more than 11 in the 2008 tourney.
But the junior is quickly showing he is as comfortable on the big stage as his teammates were last season.
Nic Wise, Arizona
I can't say I thought I'd be putting Wise on this list when the tournament began, but he's certainly earned his spot.
The junior guard has led Arizona's three-man attack by scoring 29 in the Wildcats' opening-round win over Utah and 21 in round two. Wise is a perfect 17-for-17 from the line so far.
Regardless of whether Arizona should've been in the field to begin with, Wise and the Wildcats are making the most of it.
Roburt Sallie, Memphis
Sallie's appearance is even more surprising than Wise's. The Memphis guard averaged fewer than five points for the season, but came off the bench to score 35 points in the Tigers' 81-70 win over Cal State-Northridge.
In that game, Sallie hit an opening-round record 10 three-pointers. The unlikely hero carried the No. 2 seed and prevented a monumental upset.
He stayed hot in round two, connecting on 3-of-4 from downtown in a win over Maryland. His surprisingly stellar play is a huge bonus for the Tigers.
Wayne Ellington, North Carolina
If Carolina is going to win it all, it's important that Ellington's jumper is falling. So far in the Big Dance, it has been.
Ellington hit 11-of-16 and scored a game-high 25 in a blowout of Radford, then dropped 23 against LSU.
Tyler Hansbrough and Ty Lawson are the bigger stars, but Ellington is just as critical. He must continue to step up.
Blake Griffin, Oklahoma
Griffin was dominant in round one, going 11-of-12 from the field en route to a 28-point, 13-rebound performance.
This game will best be remembered for Griffin being flipped over the back of an opposing player, not Oklahoma's 82-54 victory over Morgan State.
In round two, Griffin played even better, completely taking over in the second half against Michigan.
Despite double and even triple teams, he scored 20 of his 33 points in the second frame and provided several highlight-reel dunks. He also pulled down 17 boards.
As he has been all season, Griffin was unquestionably the best player of the opening rounds.
All-Sweet 16 Team Honorable Mention:
AJ Price, Connecticut
Cole Aldrich, Kansas
Dante Cunningham, Villanova
Sam Young, Pittsburgh