NCAA Tournament 2017: The All-Tournament Team Through Round 2
The second round of the NCAA tournament delivered performances that will be unforgettable for some fanbases, including the losing ones, and made up for what was a tame first round.
To get an idea of how difficult choosing the all-tournament teams thus far was, take a look at some of the honorable mentions below who didn't make the cut.
Both the first and second round were taken into account, and please notice that we play positionless basketball on the first and second teams.
Below are the young fellas who were really good but fell short of the top 10 spots:
- Josh Jackson, Kansas
- Devin Robinson, Florida
- Vincent Edwards, Purdue
- Lauri Markkanen, Arizona
- Zach Collins, Gonzaga
- Jevon Carter, West Virginia
- Kelan Martin, Butler
- Derrick Walton Jr., Michigan
- De'Aaron Fox, Kentucky
- Landry Shamet, Wichita State
- Deonte Burton, Iowa State
- Justin Jackson, North Carolina
- Dillon Brooks, Oregon
Lonzo Ball, UCLA
Ball flirted with a triple-double Sunday (18 PTS, 9 AST, 7 REB) and carved up Cincinnati's defense with his passing. His game is so good that it is overshadowing his loud pop's mouth. Ball is averaging 16.5 points on 76.5 percent shooting and 6.0 assists in the NCAAs.
Moritz Wagner, Michigan
Wagner took over down the stretch against Louisville, burying big shot after big shot and taking a huge charge to help seal the win. He finished with a career-high 26 points on 11-of-14 shooting. He had a so-so performance in the first round—six points and three boards—hence his placement on the second team, but his play against the Cards might have been the best single-game performance of the tourney thus far.
Nigel Hayes, Wisconsin
Hayes had the guts to bust out a fake spin move along the baseline in the final seconds against Villanova and got to the rim to hit the game-winner. The Wisconsin senior has been up and down this year, but he played a smart game against the overall No. 1 seed, finishing with 19 points and eight boards. Villanova did not have an answer for him on the blocks.
Terry Maston, Baylor
In Baylor's six games leading up to the NCAA tournament, Maston scored two points total with a DNP in there. Apparently Maston was waiting around for the Big Dance, as he has gone for 19 points and nine rebounds in both games coming off the Baylor bench. His play down the stretch against Southern California was huge when Scott Drew elected to go small and Maston had to fill in for All-American candidate Johnathan Motley.
Caleb Swanigan, Purdue
The double-double machine has kept it rolling in the NCAA tournament, averaging 18 points and 13 boards on Purdue's run thus far. Swanigan was a beast against Iowa State, finishing with 20 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists. He has 11 assists for the tourney. He struggled to contain Iowa State's Deonte Burton, but Swanigan did have a huge block against him to help his team prevail in what was arguably the wildest back-and-forth game of the tournament so far.
Bronson Koenig, Wisconsin
By the numbers
Bronson Koenig has been one of the best shot-makers in college basketball for years, and he has reminded everyone of that in the NCAA tournament. Koenig shoots 45.8 percent on jump shots off the dribble, according to Synergy Sports, and he does not fear taking big shots.
He's done so over and over again for the Badgers in the first two tourney games, burying 11 threes on 23 attempts thus far. He had eight threes in the first-round win over Virginia Tech.
With just over two minutes left and the score tied at 59 against Villanova, Wisconsin had the ball out of bounds on the baseline with eight seconds left on the shot clock and ran a quick-hitter for Koenig. The senior guard threw the ball in and then ran off a screen set by Ethan Happ; Happ's man, Eric Paschall, closed quickly, but Koenig nailed a three fading away to give the Badgers the lead.
Fellow senior Nigel Hayes ended up making the game-winner in the final seconds, but Koenig's three was just as important in knocking off the top-seeded Wildcats.
Koenig will face one of the best perimeter defensive groups in the country next. The Gators will likely try multiple defenders against Koenig. Florida's quick point guards, Kasey Hill and Chris Chiozza, will attempt to crowd Koenig and prevent him from getting rhythm shots. KeVaughn Allen brings more length but also has the quickness to stay with Koenig off the dribble. It'll be a challenge for the sharpshooter.
Frank Mason III, Kansas
By the numbers
Frank Mason III is adding to his National Player of the Year candidacy by continuing to carve up defenses in the NCAA tournament. Mason is averaging 21 points and 6.5 assists through two tourney games.
Mason has not shot as well from deep as during the season—he's 3-of-11—but he's been clutch at the free-throw line (11-of-12).
Pick out the drive against Michigan State. Mason got into the paint whenever he wanted against Sparty. I'll go with his rock-the-defense-to-sleep drive to the bucket during KU's final surge when he walked the ball up and then accelerated in for a lefty layup. His most impressive play was an elbow jumper on Lourawls Nairn when he got slapped on the wrist and had the strength to still knock it down.
Mason has a showdown with fellow NPOY candidate Caleb Swanigan of Purdue. The Boilermakers could also have a difficult time containing Mason. Fellow Big 12 point guard Monte Morris had an impressive showing against the Boilermakers, going for 18 points and nine assists.
Trevon Bluiett, Xavier
By the numbers
Trevon Bluiett picked a good time for his jumper to heat up and to play the best basketball of the year. The junior forward has gone 8-of-15 on threes in the tournament and is averaging 25 points.
Bluiett has also made an impact on the defensive end. He tied a career high with four steals in Xavier's opening-round win over Maryland.
Bluiett helped lead a second-half comeback against Maryland by raining jumpers. The Terps were usually right in his face, but Bluiett has such a quick trigger, it didn't matter. He missed his first seven shots in the opening round, but he ended up making five threes and scoring 18 of his 21 points in the second half.
Xavier meets Arizona in the Sweet 16 for the second time in three years. The Wildcats knocked the Musketeers out during Bluiett's freshman year, and he scored only two points in the loss. He'll likely be matched up against Arizona star freshman Lauri Markkanen. If he's able to force Markkanen to guard him on the perimeter, that could be a tough chore for the Finn.
Tyler Dorsey, Oregon
By the numbers
Oregon sophomore Tyler Dorsey went 9-of-10 from the field and 4-of-5 from deep in Sunday's comeback win over Rhode Island. For the tournament, he's shooting 78.3 percent from the field.
Dorsey came into the tournament hot too, going 8-of-14 on threes in his final two Pac-12 tournament games. That makes him 60.9 percent from beyond the arc over the last four games.
Dorsey hit one of the shots of the tournament, calmly walking into the go-ahead three in the final minute against Rhode Island. He knew exactly what he wanted, lulled his defender to sleep and then finished off the Rams with the flick of the wrist.
Dorsey goes up against a team full of shooters almost as hot as him in Michigan. The most logical defender to put on Dorsey is Michigan point guard Derrick Walton Jr., but head coach John Beilein will have to decide if he wants to risk wearing Walton down chasing Dorsey around on defense.
Sindarius Thornwell, South Carolina
By the numbers
Sindarius Thornwell has been hot the last six weeks. His teammates are now catching the same fire in the NCAA tournament.
Thornwell has averaged 24.9 points over South Carolina's last 11 games—26.5 per game in the tourney—but the Gamecocks had won just three of nine coming into the NCAAs.
Now their star has them headed to New York in the Sweet 16. Thornwell has filled up the stat sheet in addition to his scoring, grabbing 17 rebounds, dishing out seven assists, blocking two shots and adding four steals in the first two games of the tourney.
Just as South Carolina started to take control of the game in the second half against Duke, Thornwell grabbed a huge offensive rebound and then put in a nifty lefty hook. It personified South Carolina basketball, built on toughness and a heavy dose of offensive rebounding.
South Carolina meets up with Baylor in the Sweet 16. Thornwell has faced the Bears twice in his career. South Carolina and Baylor played a home-and-home series in his freshman and sophomore years. Baylor won both. Thornwell scored 20 points as a freshman and had 16 points and four assists as a sophomore. Baylor star Motley had 17 points in that second matchup.