THE FOLLOWING PLAYERS WERE PHENOMENAL IN THEIR GAMES TODAY AND WE AWARD THEM WITH THE GAMEBALLS FOR THE DAY SESSION OF FRIDAY’S OPENING ROUND OF THE NCAA TOURNAMENT.
1. HAWAII: RODERICK BOBBITT (GUARD) 17pts, 7reb, 4ast
The Senior Guard was excellent as he led the Rainbow Warriors to a big upset over the #4 seed California Bears in the South Region. The loss of California PG Tyrone Wallace was a huge blow, however Bobbitt and the rest of Hawaii’s team thouroughly outplayed the Bears. With Wallace leading the way, the Rainbow Warriors move on to play Sunday against #5 seed Maryland.
2. VCU: JeQUAN LEWIS (GUARD) 21pts, 7reb, 8ast, 2stl
Lewis was the catalyst as the Rams beat #7 seed Oregon State in the West Region. Lewis outplayed potential first round pick Gary Payton II and the Beavers. Head Coach Will Wade has done a very good job in his first year taking over for Shaka Smart, who is now the head man at Texas. If Lewis can continue playing like he did against Oregon State, the Rams will have a very good chance of playing a close game against #2 seed Oklahoma on Sunday.
3. SYRACUSE: TYLER ROBERSON (FORWARD) 10pts, 18reb, 1ast, 3stl
For a team that was widely criticized for making the Big Dance, Syracuse surely made a statement on Friday. Leading the charge was Roberson, a junior who attended high school national power Roselle Catholic in New Jersey. Roberson controlled the boards with 18 rebounds while contributing 10 points in a convincing 70-51 win over #7 Dayton. Along with Michael Gbinije and Malachi Richardson, who both played well against Dayton, Jim Boeheim’s squad now as a match-up with #15 seed Middle Tennessee State, who shocked #2 seed Michigan State 90-81.
4. MIDDLE TENNESSEE STATE: REGGIE UPSHAW (FORWARD) 21pts, 4reb, 4ast, 3blk, 1stl
The Blue Raiders shocked #2 seed Michigan State 90-81 in the Mid-West Region. They have kicked off March Madness in a huge way and Reggie Upshaw was one of the main reasons why. The 6’7″ Junior stuffed the stat-sheet and was the best player on the court, outplaying All-American Denzel Valentine in the process. Performances like the one Upshaw produced is a great example of unknown players who get on the big stage and are now forever known by college basketball fans. The Blue Raiders will now move on to Sunday, where they will face-off with #10 seed Syracuse.
5. IOWA: JARROD UTHOFF (FORWARD) 23pts, 5reb, 1blk, 2stl
Jarrod Uthoff showed why he is one of the better players in the Big-10 conference. He had another 20+ scoring game as the Hawkeyes held on for a thrilling win over #10 seed Temple in the South Region. The 6’9″ Senior is the leader for the #7 seed. He will need to continue this type of play if Iowa is going to advance past this Sunday. Head Coach Fran McCaffrey’s team plays #2 seed Villanova next and Uthoff will be going up a Villanova front-line that is small so the opportunity is their to have another strong game.