Saint Mary's Basketball

Is Omar Samhan of Saint Mary's the Best Player in the NCAA Tournament?

PROVIDENCE, RI - MARCH 20:  Omar Samhan #50 of the Saint Mary's Gaels drives against Mouphtaou Yarou #13 of the Villanova Wildcats during the second round of the 2010 NCAA men's tournament at Dunkin' Donuts Center on March 20, 2010 in Providence, Rhode Island. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images
Allen LoppCorrespondent IMarch 20, 2010

Omar Samhan is a 6'11", 260-pound center from San Ramon, Calif., and he is a senior on Saint Mary's basketball team.

He is possibly the best player in the NCAA tournament that you have never heard of, but with Saint Mary's recent win over Villanova, maybe he'll become more well known.

He is physically dominating under the basket with his size, and he can even step back and shoot a mid-range jump shot.

His physical dominance shows up not only in the game, but on the stat sheet. He is averaging 21 points, 11 rebounds, and three blocks per game on the season.

This season has really been his coming-out party, although he has been a solid contributor throughout his time at Saint Mary's. His best season up to this one was last year, when he averaged 14 points, nine rebounds, and two blocks per game.

I even think that you can argue that Omar Samhan is the best player in the NCAA tournament, period. No one has even come close to performing the same or better, and they have also not come close to putting up similar numbers.

Samhan is not pulling a Luke Harangody—he is showing up big time in the NCAA tournament. He has put up 29 and 32 points, respectively, against Richmond and Villanova.

Not only is he scoring, but he is making the opposing team's players think twice before going into the lane against him. And when they do drive the lane, he is making them alter their shot.

Samhan is almost carrying Saint Mary's through the tournament, and I would even dare to say that they have a very good chance to beat the winner of the Baylor/Old Dominion game.

I don't think that anybody left in the South Region has the size to defend Omar Samhan or the rest of the Saint Mary's team.

If Saint Mary's plays well, they can make it to the Elite Eight. And if everything goes their way, they can possibly make it to the Final Four by defeating the Duke Blue Devils.

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