Vote for the 2014 NCAA Tournament Elite Eight Awards

Matt King@TheRealMattKingFeatured ColumnistMarch 30, 2014

USA Today

The Final Four is finally set! In what has been an absolutely incredible tournament, the games to reach the pinnacle of college basketball were excellent as well.

We saw Kentucky and UConn make surprising runs, Wisconsin shake off the doubters and Florida assert their dominance. 

Let's take a look back at the Elite Eight and some of the best plays, dunks, performances and more where you can vote on your favorites.

Freshest Dunk

Arizona's Rondae Hollis-Jefferson takes what would have been an airball by Nick Johnson and turns it into one for the highlight reel against Wisconsin.

After a bad miss from Adreian Payne, Shebazz Napier fires a bullet to a streaking Niels Giffey who slams down the two-handed jam on a full sprint.

Coming off the bench and out of nowhere, Kentucky's Marcus Lee surprised everyone with four putback dunks to fire up his squad, including this one off a missed Aaron Harrison three.









Best Play

Scottie Wilbekin knocks down a three-pointer as time expires in the first half to give the Gators a 14-point lead heading into halftime.

Hollis-Jefferson spins in the lane, takes contact, and still manages to score on a circus shot surrounded by Wisconsin bigs.

UConn's DeAndre Daniels traveled a long way from the top of the key to come over and erase a Michigan State shot with some awesome help defense.

Even though the Huskies didn't get any points off the play, Shabazz Napier gets plenty of style points by dropping his defender with a sick behind-the-back move around a screen.

With the game tied and time winding down, Kentucky's Aaron Harrison knocked down the biggest shot of his life: a falling-away three pointer with a hand in his face with 2.6 seconds left in the game to give Kentucky the win.











Best Game

Wisconsin 64 - Arizona 63 (OT)

After five overtime games in the round of 64, this was the first game since then to head into extra time. This was a back-and-forth game, especially down the stretch. Neither team led by more than three for the final 12 minutes of regulation.

Overtime was tight as well, obviously. It looked like the game was over after Johnson got called for an offensive foul with three seconds left, but a controversial inbounds play off Wisconsin gave the Wildcats one last chance. However, Johnson wasn't able to get a shot off in time as the Badgers advanced. 

UConn 60 - Michigan State 54

This was a game of runs. Both teams led by at least nine at one point. Down the stretch, UConn held the lead, but couldn't pull away from MSU. The Spartans got it down to two points with under a minute to go, but a costly foul on Napier as he was shooting a three with 30 seconds left cost them. That put them down by five and they would never get any closer.

Kentucky 75 -Michigan 72

This was Kentucky's third straight nail biter and they have won all three. They had to overcome a 10-point deficit in the first half, but tied it going into halftime. Then they led most of the second half, but found the game tied with 27 seconds to go. Then Aaron Harrison hit his fourth straight three with under three seconds to go to put the Wildcats up for good. Nik Stauskas got a look from halfcourt as time expired, but it went wide.









Biggest Winner of the Elite Eight

Scottie Wilbekin - 23 points, 3 assists, 3 steals

Florida senior and reigning SEC player of the year, Scottie Wilbekin, continues to come up big for his team. Wilbekin knocked down big shot after big shot and also made a few huge defensive stops for the Gators as well. That team is humming heading into the Final Four, and he is the main reason why.

Frank Kaminsky - 28 points, 11 rebounds

Every time Wisconsin needed a basket, Kaminsky was there. He has been their rock all year and came through with a monster game for the Badgers. Kaminsky went 11-of-20 and seven of his 11 rebounds were on the offensive end. Just a great game from the big man.

Jae C. Hong

Shabazz Napier - 25 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists

The East regional's most outstanding player put a nice little bow on the tournament he's been having against Michigan State. Napier was all over the floor and once again hit some crucial buckets in crunch time. And, as usual, he was awesome from the line, going 9-of-9 including three big ones with 30 seconds left to put UConn out of reach.

Julio Cortez

Julius Randle - 16 points, 11 rebounds

Randle isn't going to put up an eye popping number at you, but he has been the picture of consistency for the Kentucky team. His game against Michigan was his fourth straight double-double (one for every game of the tournament). Randle dominated the boards, made big shots and even hit his free throws down the stretch. A big game for Kentucky's big man.

David J. Phillip











Most Disappointing Performance

Jordan Sibert (Dayton) - 0 points

Dayton's leading scorer on the season was totally shut down by Florida's defense. The junior only managed to get off three shots and missed them all.

Mar 29, 2014; Memphis, TN, USA; Dayton Flyers guard Jordan Sibert (24) drives against Florida Gators guard Scottie Wilbekin (5) during the second half in the finals of the south regional of the 2014 NCAA Mens Basketball Championship tournament at FedEx Fo
Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports

Keith Appling (Michigan State) - 2 points, 4 turnovers

This was a really tough way for the Michigan State senior to go out. This had not been his tournament. Averaging 11.4 PPG during the year, Appling only managed to score 10 total points in the four games the Spartans played in the tournament. His last game was rough, and his foul on Napier shooting at three near the end of the game may have ended MSU's season.

Seth Wenig



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