NCAA Tournament 2019: The All-Tournament Team Through Round 2

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistMarch 25, 2019

NCAA Tournament 2019: The All-Tournament Team Through Round 2

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    The journey to a national championship is only two games complete, but the standout players from the opening weekend of the 2019 men's NCAA tournament deserve a moment in the spotlight.

    While most of the players on the all-tourney first and second teams are still alive, two stars merited a spot despite their respective schools being eliminated already. After all, there's no way we could exclude Murray State star Ja Morant.

    But for the eight remaining talents, they're looking to continue the hot streak in the Sweet 16 and potentially Elite Eight.

    Factors used to determine the list include individual contributions, clutch moments and team success.

Second Team

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    Ja Morant, Murray State: The potential No. 2 overall pick in the 2019 NBA draft, Morant burst onto the NCAA tournament scene with a triple-double in Murray State's first game. Morant followed up that 17-point, 16-assist, 11-rebound day with 28 points and four assists when the Racers fell to Florida State in the second round.

    Corey Davis Jr., Houston: Davis drained seven threes in a 26-point effort against Georgia State, also posting seven rebounds and six assists. Then during a win over Ohio State, the senior guard had 21 points, six boards, three steals and two dimes. Houston will meet Kentucky in the Sweet 16.

    Cameron Johnson, North Carolina: Iona put a scare into UNC, but Johnson's 21 points carried the Tar Heels into the weekend. During a rout of Washington, he provided 13 points and matched his career high with seven assists. Johnson has knocked down seven triples in the tourney. North Carolina is set to face Auburn in the Sweet 16.

    Dedric Lawson, Kansas: Although the Jayhawks lost to Auburn in the second round, Lawson carried the short-handed roster admirably. In two games, he collected 50 points while hitting five of eight three-pointers and added 21 rebounds, three assists and two blocks.

    Grant Williams, Tennessee: Williams was relatively quiet with nine points, seven rebounds and three assists in the first round. However, the SEC Player of the Year was everywhere Sunday. Williams amassed 19 points, seven boards, five assists, four steals and three blocks in the overtime triumph against Iowa. The Vols will take on Purdue in the Sweet 16.

Cassius Winston, Michigan State

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    By the numbers: Cassius Winston scored 26 points and dished four assists in a hard-fought first-round win over 15th-seeded Bradley. Then against No. 10 Minnesota, the junior collected 13 points and nine assists to guide Michigan State into the Sweet 16.

    Shining moment: The Spartans led by as many as 20 in the first half of their second-round game, but Minnesota trimmed the lead to nine early in the second half. That's when Winston simply took over, racking up seven points and two steals in less than a minute. Minnesota was never within 15 again.

    Up next: In the Sweet 16, Michigan State will challenge No. 3 LSU. Winston will likely be matched up with Tremont Waters, who has 27 points, 12 assists and a game-winning layup for LSU in two games. 

Carsen Edwards, Purdue

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    By the numbers: Carsen Edwards set several records with a 42-point explosion that guided Purdue past sixth-seeded Villanova in the second round. That followed a 26-point display Thursday when the Boilermakers dispatched No. 14 Old Dominion.

    Shining moment: The junior buried nine threes against Villanova, including five in the first 13 minutes of the contest. Edwards' torrid start allowed Purdue to build a 19-point halftime advantage and easily eliminate the defending national champions.

    Up next: Purdue has a Sweet 16 showdown with Tennessee. Edwards will be tested on both ends of the court, particularly if Admiral Schofield defends him.

Jarrett Culver, Texas Tech

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    By the numbers: Jarrett Culver shredded the box score when Texas Tech dispatched Northern Kentucky, tallying 29 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. The sophomore guard netted a team-best 16 points in a second-round win over Buffalo, adding 10 boards, five assists, three blocks and two steals.

    Shining moment: In the first round, the Red Raiders only held a 30-26 halftime edge on NKU. Thanks to Culver, though, any talk of an upset quickly disappeared. He scored or assisted on 15 of Tech's first 17 points to begin the second half, and the third-seeded Red Raiders cruised to a 72-57 triumph.

    Up next: Texas Tech will take on second-seeded Michigan, which means Culver has a fascinating individual matchup. U-M senior Charles Matthews is a good-to-great defender and decent attacker off the dribble, so Culver has a great challenge on the horizon.

Zion Williamson, Duke

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    By the numbers: The superstar's ACC tournament hot streak has carried over into March Madness. Zion Williamson netted 25 points in Duke's opening-round win over North Dakota State and gathered 32 points, 11 rebounds and four assists when the Blue Devils escaped a second-round thriller against Central Florida. Only Edwards has scored more points than Zion's 57.

    Shining moment: During the last four minutes of that clash with UCF, Williamson hit a game-tying layup and made another crucial shot. (Yes, he missed a clutch free throw, but RJ Barrett's rebound and putback saved Zion from a few negative headlines.)

    Up next: The top-seeded Blue Devils will meet ACC opponent Virginia Tech. During the regular-season meeting, Duke fell to the Hokies 77-72. Neither Williamson nor VT star Justin Robinson played in that contest due to injury, but both are healthy now.

Brandon Clarke, Gonzaga

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    By the numbers: Not only is Brandon Clarke one of the top scorers with 48 points through two games, but he has also swatted eight shots. Clarke is 20-of-26 from the floor and has 16 rebounds, five assists and three steals for top-seeded Gonzaga.

    Shining moment: Clarke dominated the second-round matchup with Baylor. The San Jose State transfer piled up 36 points and five blocks, joining David Robinson and Shaquille O'Neala pair of Basketball Hall of Famersas the only players with a 35/5 game in men's NCAA tournament history.

    Up next: Gonzaga will be looking for revenge against Florida State, which knocked out the Zags during the Sweet 16 of the 2018 tourney. Due to transfer rules, Clarke was not available in that game.