Posted Apr 4 2012 9:07AM
The post-tournament analysis is easy. Kentucky earned the title with an uncommon level of composure for a team that relied heavily on freshmen. This is no ordinary No. 1.
The impact on the NBA Draft, meanwhile, is not as clear, although it is a safe bet that the impact of the tournament on the June 28 selections will be oversold by some. The fact is, no one played at a significantly different level during the tournament compared to the rest of the season.
Among the notables, Kendall Marshall of North Carolina boosted his stock before a broken wrist. NBA front offices were sending out a search party for Marshall's teammate, Harrison Barnes. But both trends can be reversed. Nothing happened for anyone that cannot be undone with nearly three months before the selections.
The real perspective on the value general managers put on the tournament?
Kyrie Irving played hurt last season at Duke in the only test under the brightest lights of his college career and was still the clear choice as the first pick. He separated himself from Derrick Williams, one of the postseason stars, with an abbreviated regular season and the private showcase for the Cavaliers. And now he's going to win Rookie of the Year.
Enes Kanter did not play last season while serving an NCAA suspension at Kentucky for receiving improper benefits while previously with a Turkish team. His "games" were limited to practicing with the Wildcats. Because of the long layoff, no one in the entire Draft was surrounded by as many urgent questions about his level of play. No freshman campaign, no tournament ... and he still went No. 3 to the Jazz.
With that in mind, the post-tournament mock draft, reflecting front-office impressions of the last few weeks of games and players who announced in recent days they are staying in school:
|Top 30 NBA Draft Prospects|
|GameTime: Smitty's Top Plays Under The Rim|
All the ankle-breaking, head-turning moves are bundled up in this March Madness edition of Smitty's Top Plays Under The Rim.
|Cousins' Big Night|
DeMarcus Cousins dominates versus the Pelicans and finishes with 39 points and 20 rebounds.
|Mar. 27: Daily Zap|
Recap all of Friday's heart-pounding action in the Daily Zap.
|Celtics vs. Knicks|
Isaiah Thomas scores 18 points and dishes out 6 assists as the Celtics defeat the Knicks 96-92.
|Trail Blazers vs. Suns|
LaMarcus Aldridge pours in 27 points and grabs 9 rebounds to help Portland turn back the Phoenix Suns, 87-81.