Face it, your NCAA Tournament bracket is shot and you have no chance at winning your pool. Well, at Poor Scholars, our own Danny Hazan gets into a pool where individual player scoring is the only thing that matters. While Danny and his group go hardcore and go throughout the tournament, Poor Scholars is going going through the Sweet 16: Whichever team gets the most points wins. If your player keeps playing, you keep getting points. Over four rounds and eight players, here’s what transpired. And, yes, Sherwood Brown gets taken.
Pick 1: Peyton Siva, Louisville
Pick 16: Erik Murphy, Florida
Pick 17: Durand Scott, Miami
Pick 32: Damyean Dotson, Oregon
I’m fully aware that I probably made a mistake taking Peyton Siva with the first overall pick in a draft based on scoring points, considering his teammate, Russell Smith, scores about 10 more points a game than him. Even so, Siva is a guy whose play I have really admired ever since I had the honor of calling a game for Radio DePaul when he was a freshman for Louisville taking on the Blue Demons.
Erik Murphy not only shares the name of one of my favorite Entourage characters, but he also scored just about every other minute of play (averaged 12.8 ppg, 26.6 mpg) in the regular season. In the tournament he’s scoring at an even better rate (33 points in a combined 52 minutes) for a Florida team who I believe can make it Atlanta.
Staying with the theme of America’s wang (Florida), I locked in Durand Scott from Miami with my third pick. Scott was stellar against Pacific (21 points) and virtually non-existent against Illinois (6 points). Is that really so far off course, though? His season average was 13.2 ppg, but simple math shows that’s an average of 13.5 ppg through two tournament games. He’s due for a better game against Marquette, and if Miami runs the table I’m cool with a 13-14-point average.
Damyean Dotson was a steal of a last pick, in my opinion. The Ducks are overlooked. And yes, I fully believe they will lose to Louisville. But with the last pick in the draft, you either bank on a better team’s bench player having an unforeseeable stretch of games, or you go with one guy who can do it big in one game. Dotson has stepped his game up to get Oregon in the Sweet 16.
Pick 8: Trey Burke, Michigan
Pick 9: Shane Larkin, Miami
Pick 24: Mark Lyons, Arizona
Pick 25: Ryan Kelly, Duke
I had two main thoughts for my team: wanted a team’s top scoring option and wanted all four regions represented. On my own bracket, I have none of these schools making the Final Four, so I’m hoping these players can rack up a lot of points in just a few games.
Pick 6: Aaron Craft, Ohio State
Pick 11: Keith Appling, Michigan State
Pick 22: Travis Releford, Kansas
Pick 27: Sherwood Brown, Florida Gulf Coast
I like to think that even though my sports fandoms are rare (Memphis Grizzlies, Tennessee Titans, Memphis Tigers, Bradley Braves) the teams I hate are roughly the same as everyone else. My bottom five in hoops:
Kansas Jayhawks (2008, The Shot)
Duke Blue Devils (All-time HOF hate pick)
Michigan State Spartans (This year especially)
Kentucky Wildcats (Cal, same reasons as you but with different fury)
Did I mention the Kansas Jayhawks again? Oh my god, Bill Self, if only you could lose every game.
That said, we’re not picking guys to come to our birthday party. I took Aaron Craft because they have a relatively easy path and I need some reason to not be quite as angry when he pounds his chest after beating a team from the Missouri Valley in a few days. Travis Releford makes sense because Kansas seems to also have a good chance to play in the title game, and he scored 22 in his last game. I took Keith Appling because I hate myself.
Because I’m FUN I took Sherwood Brown last. Florida Gulf Coast isn’t going to win, but whatever he puts up in their last game should count three times, because I’m the only one of us dumb enough to take a guy from the longest shot left.
Pick 5: Seth Curry – Duke’s record with Ryan Kelly on the court speaks for itself, so I took the Blue Devils’ most potent scorer.
Pick 12: Mason Plumlee – After a few guys I targeted were scooped up, I thought it’d be smartest to double up on the Dukie’s at this point.
Pick 21: Vander Blue – No one had touched Marquette, and I tried to take Durand Scott who was already off the board, so I thought maybe the basketball gods will be smiling down on Vander.
Pick 28: CJ Fair – No one took any Syracuse guys and I’d rather roll the dice on a team’s best scorer that could be done in the sweet 16 than take the fourth scorer on IU or the U.
Pick 4: DeShaun Thomas, Ohio State
Pick 13: Russ Smith, Louisville
Pick 20: Jeff Withey, Kansas
Pick 29: Cleanthony Early, Wichita State
I really like what I put together here. Both of my first two picks turned out to be tremendous value for my pick and Jeff Withey will provide good value in the third if he can stay on the floor for multiple games. In Cleanthony Early I’m ideally hoping for two 20 point performances, but any situation that involves Wichita State in the Elite Eight will mean that Early delivers on his late round value. My only real regret is that this team completely sabotages my bracket; I have Miami as National Champion with Duke as the runner-up. Oh well, you can’t have it all.
Pick 2: Cody Zeller, Indiana
Pick 15: Kenny Boynton, Florida
Pick 18: Tim Hardaway Jr., Michigan
Pick 31: Kenny Kadji, Miami
The word multitasking now has new meaning. I was driving to Costco, talking to my girlfriend, pumping gas and pushing that gigantic cart through the store during the draft. Considering I haven’t watched more than two college basketball games all year, this was a total shot in the dark. I was just looking at the ESPN college hoops scoreboard, guessing which teams would go the farthest and taking their highest scoring players. Cody Zeller — my first rounder — was the only one I didn’t have to look up. Scott fucked my entire world up by picking UF’s Rosario. At that point I was at Wine Discount Center pretending to know wtf I was buying and I made a decision on Rosario right when I made my third pick, thinking I’d be good. Then I see he’s gone and it’s back to the stat sheets. That’s how I ended up with Kenny Kadji. I picked up Kenny Boynton earlier in the draft simply to hedge my happiness. By that I mean I went to Florida State. I don’t mind watching Florida lose at anything. Now, if they win, I at least get something out of it. Same goes for Miami, but to a lesser extent.
Pick 7: Gorgui Dieng, Louisville
Pick 10: Ramon Galloway, LaSalle
Pick 23: Soloman Hill, Arizona
Pick 26: Mike Rosario, Florida
I had to go with Dieng with my first pick — I feel like Louisville is going to win the title and he’s a consistent post scorer. Ramon Galloway just gets buckets and could do so in multiple games. Soloman Hill and Mike Rosario are solid scorers on some teams that could make some noise. I’m just happy I have a reason to root for LaSalle and their sick Under Armour gear.
Pick 3: Victor Oladipo, Indiana
Pick 14: Ben McLemore, Kansas
Pick 19: Christian Watford, Indiana
Pick 30: Rasheed Sulaimon, Duke
First, I’d like to start off by saying that I’m going to win. The entire draft was pretty much a futile effort because I knew no matter what I was going to have the best team. My strategy going into this draft was to pick guys off of teams that are going to advance. Really, it was get as many Indiana players as I could. With that in mind, here is some insight as to what I was thinking as I made my selections.
Victor Oladipo — FUUUUUUUUCCCCCK. Pat really threw a wrench in my pick by taking Cody Zeller. As a diehard Indiana fan who fully expects them to win the ship this year, at least if I can’t have their top scorer I can still draft their best player. Victor Oladipo is arguably the best all-around player in the country and when he is aggressive, he can certainly fill it up.
Ben McLemore — I know I am going to regret this pick because it means I sort of have a rooting interest in how Kansas does and I really hate Kansas. McLemore has been horrid thus far in the tourney, but if he can regain his form in time for their matchup against Michigan, Kansas definitely can advance . Plus I don’t foresee him having another game where he doesn’t hit one field goal as he did in the Carolina game.
Christian Watford — I’m so confident that Indiana is going to win and that they are going to do so in grandiose fashion, that I am taking their 3rd leading scorer. Watford should also get any shot he wants Thursday night against Syracuse’s zone. Plus I really feel bad rooting for anyone else. I already feel dirty about my previous pick.
Rasheed Sulaimon — This came down to two players for me and a coin flip had to decide. It was either Rasheed Sulaimon or Bernard Thompson. Ultimately as they usually do, Duke came out on top.