The NCAA tournament is underway, and there have already been some impressive performances.
In the first few games of the second round of the NCAA tournament, we have seen a little bit of everything. Some top seeds took care of business with big victories, while others needed every second to make sure they got a victory.
We even saw Southern come very close to pulling off the first-ever upset of a No. 16 seed over a No. 1 seed.
Still, a few individual efforts stood out among the rest.
Vander Blue, Marquette
With 93 seconds remaining in the game, Marquette was down seven points to No. 14 Davidson. At that time, Vander Blue had only scored nine points in a disappointing shooting game.
However, he was a leader for the Golden Eagles down the stretch. He scored seven points including the game-winning layup with only one second remaining.
Obviously, the Big East co-regular-season champions would have preferred a safer lead throughout the game. With the way that Davidson was shooting early, this was not an option.
Still, the team was able to survive the tough test and advance to the next round. Blue was a big reason that the Eagles are still alive.
Kelly Olynyk, Gonzaga
In the first half, Gonzaga only had a 34-31 lead over Southern, thanks to a paltry four points from Kelly Olynyk.
While the game remained close throughout, the forward took over and was a big reason that the Bulldogs were able to pull out the victory.
Olynyk finished the game with 21 points and 10 rebounds and made the big shots when his team needed them the most.
Gonzaga will need a lot better all-around effort in order to survive in the later rounds, but this will do for now.
Derrick Nix, Michigan State
As we have seen in this tournament, there is no such thing as an easy win, regardless of seeding. This is why it was so important for Michigan State to get out to a good start and put Valparaiso away.
Although the Crusaders made it a close game late, the Spartans were in control for most of the contest. This was due to a great showing from Derrick Nix, who finished with 23 points and 15 rebounds.
The senior rarely puts up big offensive numbers, but he was a monster on the offensive boards, grabbing nine of them. He also got easy putbacks throughout the game.
With Keith Appling being inconsistent throughout the year, Michigan State needs performances like this one out of Nix in order to go deep.
No. 3 Michigan State 65, No. 14 Valparaiso 54
No. 6 Butler 68, No. 11 Bucknell 56
No. 9 Wichita State 73, No. 8 Pittsburgh 55
No. 4 Saint Louis 66, No. 13 New Mexico State 44
No. 6 Memphis 54, No. 11 Saint Mary's 52
No. 3 Marquette 59, No. 14 Davidson 58
No. 1 Gonzaga 64, No. 16 Southern 58
No. 12 Oregon 68, No. 5 Oklahoma State 55
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