*Brian Brown, SG-Ohio State: The OSU senior scored a career and game-high 33 points and had three rebounds on 13-19 shooting (3-6 from three-point range and 4-4 from the free throw line). His Buckeyes beat Davidson 69-64 to advance to the second round.
*Martin Ides, C-Davidson: 20 points, seven rebounds and three blocks while making 9-13 shots and 2-3 free throws. Davidson lost to Ohio State, 69-64, and was eliminated from the NCAA Tournament.
*Terence Dials, PF-Ohio State: 18 points and nine rebounds on 6-11 shooting (6-7 at the line) off the bench in the Buckeye's five-point victory over 13th-seeded Davidson.
*Rickey Paulding, SG-Missouri: 16 points and six boards on 4-8 shooting (2-2 from deep and 6-6 at the line) in Mizzou's 93-80 "upset" over No. 5 seed Miami.
*Travon Bryant, PF-Missouri: 10 points and 11 rebounds while making 4-6 shots from the field and 2-3 from the stripe in only 21 minutes. Tigers advanced to Round Two.
*Kareem Rush, SF-Missouri: Scored 13 of his 15 points in the second half while also grabbing five rebounds and dishing out a game-high seven assists. The Tiger junior only made 4-12 shots (1-6 on threes) but was a perfect 6-6 at the free throw line.
*John Salmons, PG-Miami: The senior played his final game as a Hurricane and scored 16 points while also grabbing five rebounds and handing out four assists. He made six of his ten shots (1-3 from deep and 3-4 at the line). Miami lost to 12 seed Missouri, 93-80, and was eliminated.
*Josh Davis, SF-Wyoming: 11 points, 14 rebounds, five blocks and two steals in Wyoming's rousing upset of Gonzaga. The Cowboy senior had the two biggest plays of the game on successive possessions. First, he followed up a missed shot by slamming it through the basket and then raced down court to block Dan Dickau's layup attempt. He was Mr. Clutch on the evening.
*Marcus Bailey, SG-Wyoming: Just like Davis, Bailey made plays at the right times for Wyoming. Bailey scored 13 points and added five boards and three assists.
*Mark Hull, SG-UC-Santa Barbara: Hull had the game of his life against one of the best teams in the nation when he scored 32 points against Arizona in an 86-81 Gaucho loss. He made all six of his three-point attempts in the first half and finished 8-11 from behind the arc. Counting his 8-8 free throw performance, Hull shot as well as any opponent Arizona had faced the entire year.
*Jason Gardner, PG-Arizona: Scored 28 points and handed out five assists while shooting 6-10 from the field (4-7 from downtown and 12-14 at the free throw line). Once again it was not a case of how or what he did that was so impressive, but when he scored his points that proved to be critical. One of Arizona's three best clutch performers ever, Gardner scored 16 of his 28 points after halftime as Arizona overcame a big first half deficit to beat UCSB 86-81.
*Luke Walton, SF-Arizona: Another great all-around performance from Luke as he scored 11 points, pulled down seven boards and dished out seven assists, six in the second half.
*Rick Anderson, PF-Arizona: Anderson probably played the best game of his career against the Gauchos, scoring 19 points and getting nine rebounds (seven offensive). His aggressive play was the key to Arizona's second half comeback (along with Gardner). A one time, he even hit three consecutive threes to expand Arizona's precarious lead.
*Cheerleaders: Miami's five-woman squad (all solid) in a close battle over Ohio State's top-heavy crew. One of the Buckeye cheerleaders was a dead-ringer for No Doubt's lead singer Gwen Stefani. The difference (and what made this girl infinitely better) is that Ms. Buckeye wore those black, wire-framed glasses!
*Band: UCSB, based on the design of the outfits they wore. The Gaucho band got decked out in Hawaiian gear (lays, grass skirts and all) and made its presence felt the entire game. They heckled, they chanted, they played their instruments. And along the way, they won the prestigious Thrill and Brad Band o' the Day award.
*Fans: Wyoming's, and it wasn't even close. The Cowboys have a little bit of an advantage in the Pit because they play WAC rival New Mexico here once a year. The fans came out in droves and drowned out the more heralded Gonzaga faithful, especially as Josh Davis led the team to a very impressive upset over the sixth-seeded Bulldogs. No doubt Arizona will have its work cut out for it come Saturday afternoon when the local Lobo fans team up with Wyoming to cheer on the Cinderella Cowboys.
*Mascot: Not…even…close. UCSB's "Fantom" wins this award with very little competition. Some crazy (and we mean "institutional" here) Gaucho student dressed up in several different outfits and danced to songs like "YMCA" and the theme song from "Rocky". It's almost too hard to explain how entertaining and original this guy was unless you saw him for yourself. Here's a prediction: he will be in the newspaper tomorrow and on TV after the national championship game on "One Shining Moment".
*Best-dressed coach: Quin Snider from Missouri. We are not Joan and Melissa Rivers so we have no idea what kind of suit he was wearing but it was nice. The GQ-looking Snider also has wavy hair, which we hear is big the ladies.
*Best uniforms: Miami's stylized lettering and numbering, much like their more heralded football brethren, was enough to win the Hurricanes at least one Thrill and Brad award. (Honorable Mention: Wyoming, for busting out a shade of gold never before seen in college basketball history).
*Ugliest shoes: Miami's freshman guard Kahleaf Watson with some shiny metallic orange patent leather Nike kicks. Ungodly.
*Best hair: Ronny Turiaf, freshman forward from Gonzaga. The "do" resembles that of The Little Rascals' character "Buckwheat" except it's even more tricked out. Imagine Gene Edgerson's afro with wispy strands stretching towards the heavens in a very out of control way.
*Luckiest Guy in the World Award: Davidson's lone male cheerleader and his enviable five-to-one girl to guy ratio. Brad came up with this one.
*The "Braveheart" Award: Goes to select members of the Davidson band, who came prepared in a manner William Wallace would be proud of. Painted faces and war chants could be seen and heard from their section.
*Shick Razor Award: Goes to Ohio State, for having every player on its roster with a recently-shaved head. Also deserving of mention is Arizona's Salim Stoudamire, who showed up Mr. Clean-like but shot only 2-11 from the field. Maybe he needs to grow it out again.
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