2011 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament logo2011 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament

NCAA Tournament 2011: Thursday's Best and Worst Sweet 16 Performances

Zachary CohenContributor IIIMarch 25, 2011

NCAA Tournament 2011: Thursday's Best and Worst Sweet 16 Performances

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    Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

    Thursday was another exciting day of NCAA basketball as the Sweet 16, started and there were many surprises. 

    The country was taken by a storm with some of the best players in the nation taking the floor on the same night, and we got to witness some great performances as well as some, well...stinkers. 

    Continue reading to see which players helped their teams win or contributed greatly to a loss. 

Jeremy Lamb

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    Harry How/Getty Images

    Great Performance

    All season, Kemba Walker was looking for a running mate...Lamb is that guy. Lamb stepped up big time at the end of the season and last night, he probably had his best game of the year. 

    Lamb had 24 points on 9-for-11 shooting and hit all of his three-pointers. When San Diego State looked like they were on the verge of stopping Kemba, Lamb would step up and make his boy proud. 

    If UConn can get anything close to this type of performance out of Lamb in the upcoming rounds, then a national championship isn't too far out of reach. 

Jimmer Fredette

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    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Horrible Performance

    If you looked at Jimmer's 32-point game and thought to yourself, "wow another great performance by Jimmer," then you can Fredette about it. 

    On this night, even with 32 points, Jimmer couldn't get anything going for himself or his team.

    His pure scoring ability allowed him to score in the 30s, but he did so on 11-for-29 shooting. Even more devastating to his team was Jimmer's 3-for-15 on attempts from behind the arc. 

    The magical season we all witnessed out of the nice, humble kid from BYU came to an end last night when the team ran into Florida and unfortunately...Jimmer has nobody to blame but himself. 

Alex Tyus

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Great Performance

    Alex Tyus had one of the best performances I've seen in this year's tournament last night. Tyus was an absolute beast, and his work on the boards was 100 percent responsible for Florida's victory over BYU. 

    Tyus scored 19 points on 8-for-9 shooting and also grabbed 17 rebounds. Whenever BYU would get a timely stop, Tyus would be there to grab and offensive rebound and either put it back up or get it back to his great young guards. 

    Tyus was a hero on Thursday night, and although he wasn't one of the guys hitting threes, he was more responsible for the Gators' win than anybody else on that team. 

Jon Leuer

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Horrible Performance

    It kills me to write this as a Badgers fan, but Leuer was simply horrible on Thursday night. Leuer was getting open looks from three all game, but just couldn't find the bottom of the net unless it didn't go through the rim first. 

    Leuer went 1-for-12 from the field and 1-for-6 from three. Wisconsin needed their big guy to have a big game, and he let them down severely. 

    For a senior who was looking to improve his NBA draft stock, Leuer's performance was not only a let down for Wisconsin, but for himself, too. 

Kemba Walker

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    Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

    Great Performance

    I already spoke about what Lamb did for UConn, but now let's get to the Huskies' main attraction. Kemba Walker was absolutely brilliant again. 

    Kemba put up 36 points to lead the Huskies to a victory over the SDSU Aztecs, and he did so efficiently.

    Kemba went 12-for-25 from the field and on the same night that Jimmer struggled, he showed why some consider him the best player in the nation. 

Nolan Smith

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    Harry How/Getty Images

    Horrible Performance

    How sad it is for a great player to lose their last game in college and be almost solely responsible for it?

    That was the case for Nolan Smith. He has had an amazing run with Duke, but last night, he just didn't bring it. 

    Smith shot 3-for-14 and had 6 turnovers in the Duke loss to Arizona. Smith was one of the best players on Duke for the last two years, and his eight-point performance may have marked his lowest point in all four of his years playing for Coach K. 

Matt Howard

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Great Performance

    The Butler Bulldogs pulled off another tournament upset on Thursday night, and that was largely due to the fact that Howard was unstoppable. 

    Howard shot 3-for-5 from downtown and scored 20 points while grabbing 12 rebounds en route to beating the Badgers.

    His toughness has brought a lot of success to Butler over the years, and last night it was a great display for all to see the senior play that well. 

Derrick Williams

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    Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

    Incredible Performance

    The word great doesn't even do what Derrick Williams did last night justice. Williams showed why many mock drafts have him going No. 1.

    Derrick shot 11-for-17 from the field and 5-for-6 from three on Thursday night. The big guy was throwing down monstrous dunks and also grabbed 13 rebounds. 

    He scored 32 points to lead a five seed to a victory over a number one seed in Duke, and you can safely say I saved the best for last. 

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