All-Albuquerque, First Team:
Most Outstanding Player: Channing Frye, C-Arizona. The freshman center from Phoenix probably played the best game of his young career against Wyoming to help Arizona advance to its ninth Sweet 16 under Lute Olson. Frye averaged 17 points, nine rebounds and 3.5 blocks per game, while shooting a combined 11-17 from the field (64.7%). He was the MVP of the Wyoming game and could have been named MVP of the UC-Santa Barbara game had it not been for Jason Gardner's All-American performance.
*Rickey Paulding, SG-Missouri: The sophomore had his national coming out party this weekend against Miami and Ohio State. He scored 36 points, grabbed 15 rebounds and shot 13-22 from the floor (3-6 from three-point land). The super athletic Paulding also had one of the plays of the weekend when he took off from just inside the free throw line and threw down a resounding one-handed "kiss-the-rim" dunk in the first half against the Buckeyes. Paulding will be one of America's premier off-guards next season.
*Brian Brown, SG-Ohio State: In his final two games as a Buckeye, Brown scored 52 points and showed just how valuable he was to Jim O'Brien's team. The 26.0 point per game average was impressive, especially because it was in the NCAA Tournament.
*Mark Hull, SG-UC-Santa Barbara: Scored 32 points on 8-11 three-point shooting against Arizona in the first round. Because of Hull, the Gauchos were able to hang in against the Wildcats for the duration of the game before losing by a mere five points, 86-81. Luke Walton said, "we play against great shooters like Casey Jacobsen and Jason Kapono but (Hull) was the best we've played all year". Quite a compliment.
*Jason Gardner, PG-Arizona: Gardner moved into 10th place on Arizona's all-time scoring list thanks to 42 points over the weekend. The junior also dished out 13 assists and grabbed six rebounds in Arizona's two wins. He is only 22 points away from becoming the third Wildcat ever to score 700 points in a single season.
*Josh Davis, PF-Wyoming: Davis, a Cowboy senior, was the leading rebounder at the Albuquerque sub-regional with 25 boards. He also averaged 14 points per game and three blocks as Wyoming made a valiant run at the Sweet 16 before losing to a more experienced Arizona team. He shot 11-19 (53.7%) on the weekend as well.
Game of the Sub-Regional: Arizona 68, Wyoming 60. Arizona led by as many as ten points during the game, but for the most part, Wyoming hung tough and stayed within four or five until the final seconds. The crowd, which was not so much pro-Wyoming as it was anti-Lute Olson and Arizona, stayed behind the Cowboys from the tip-off. In the end, however, it was too much Channing Frye and not enough Josh Davis as the Cowboy senior fouled out with two minutes to play.
Team with the Best Chance at Atlanta: Missouri. The Tigers looked like the same team that was ranked No. 2 at one point during the year as they took apart both Miami and Ohio State en route the Sweet 16. Although both of its opponents were vastly overrated, Missouri played well enough and impressively enough to make just about anyone who watched its two games into a believer. Paulding and fellow sophomore Arthur Johnson were the Tiger MVP's, and with those two playing well, there is not as much pressure on the star duo of Kareem Rush and Clarence Gilbert to lead Mizzou to a win every night. Look for Missouri to compete well and make a game of it against the winner of the UCLA-Cincinnati game.
Move of the Weekend: Wyoming freshman Jason Strait faked a behind the back pass that ended up being nothing more than a fancy dribble and then drove to the hoop for a nice lay-up. The fake got Arizona defender Jason Gardner off balance and that was enough to excite the crowd and score the basket. His former Chicago high school rival Will Bynum came in second for this award, with his behind the back, between the legs dribble while cutting through two Wyoming defenders en route to an acrobatic lay-up.
Best Thing About the Weekend: It'll come as soon as Brad and I see the sign that says, "You are now leaving Albuquerque", while heading back to Tucson in Brad's truck.
Talk about this story on the basketball message board: MESSAGE BOARD