The start of the 2013 NCAA Tournament has featured several fantastic performances. Some were expected, but a few came out of nowhere.
College basketball fans likely didn’t fall out of their seat when they heard that Duke’s Seth Curry dropped 26 points while going 10-of-14 from the floor against Albany, or that Creighton’s Doug McDermott racked up 27 points and 11 rebounds against Cincinnati.
These are established stars who were expected to lead their teams with big nights, but this is March Madness, and it didn’t earn that name by following the script.
Here are the players who shocked everyone with incredible performances to start the tournament.
Laurent Rivard, G, Harvard
It has been a fantastic few years for Harvard basketball, and it has all finally culminated in the school’s fist NCAA Tournament victory.
Tommy Amaker has continued to build the program, and has been able to recruit talented players such as Jeremy Lin. Now, he has a team with talent.
Still, no one expected the Crimson to be able to score against New Mexico’s lockdown defense. While leading scorer Wesley Saunders had an excellent night, it was even more unexpected to see Rivard rain down three-pointers on the Lobos.
He drilled five treys in Harvard’s improbable round of 64 victory, and if he keeps shooting like he did this past Thursday, the Crimson just may be doubling the school’s number of March Madness wins.
Brett Comer, G, Florida Gulf Coast
While there were multiple surprise stars in Florida Gulf Coast’s stunning win over Georgetown, the Eagles were at their best when the ball was in Comer’s hands.
Sherwood Brown and Bernard Thompson led the scoring effort, but Comer carved up the Hoya's defense in the second half and was able to consistently zip passes to his forwards for dunks. He finished the game with 10 assists.
Comer was creative and cerebral while orchestrating the offense, and his ability to find open shots for his teammates makes this Florida Gulf Coast team dangerous.
The Eagles are the Cinderella story of the tournament thus far, and if Comer keeps dropping dimes like he did against Georgetown, it will take a while for the clock to strike midnight.
Ramon Galloway, G, La Salle
Who has been the most surprising team in the 2013 NCAA Tournament?
Galloway has been the Explorer’s leading scorer all season, but his team ranks 77th in strength of schedule, and there were doubts heading into the tournament if he would continue putting up points against elevated competition.
Now, there are no more concerns about his ability to perform in big moments. He dropped 21 points on Boise State in La Salle’s play-in game, then scored 19 to lead his team to an upset over Kansas State.
He sunk three three-pointers in each game, and has proven to be one of the most dangerous sharpshooters in the competition.
The West region is wide open, and if Galloway stays hot, La Salle is capable of delivering a few more surprises.
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