With every NCAA Tournament comes a handful of individual performances that are nothing short of spectacular. What are the best individual tournament runs of the 21st century, so far?
While teams across the country set their eyes on a chance to play for the National Championship in Minneapolis, many fans will be tuning in throughout March Madness to see some of the country’s most exciting players do their thing in the NCAA Tournament.
Whether it’s Zion Williamson flying in for monster dunks, Brandon Clarke denying shooters at the rim, or Markus Howard nailing 3-pointers, we will certainly get our fill of individual talent.
Sometimes, however, it is good to take a step back and appreciate the elite talent of the past. Some players’ runs will be remembered forever, while others have been unfairly filed away never to be spoken of again.
When ranking these individual performances it is important to look at the statistics the individuals recorded, the impact they had on their team’s performance and how far their team actually advanced in the tournament.
Let’s first take a look at great tournament players who miss out on the Top 25.
Ben Gordon – UConn
Ben Gordon may have been the top scorer during UConn’s 2004 National Championship run, but he was not quite the “most important” player on the team. Gordon had an incredible second weekend, scoring 56 points in the two games, but his performance in the National Championship game against Georgia Tech was far from extraordinary.
Mario Chalmers – Kansas
Mario Chalmers may have given us one of the greatest moments in tournament history, hitting a big three to send the 2008 National Championship Game to overtime, but his overall tournament performance wasn’t quite good enough to earn a spot on this list.
I have to admit, Chalmers’ defense was incredible and almost earned him a spot, but Brandon Rush was arguably better down the stretch, and Darrell Arthur took over in the Championship game.
Tyler Hansbrough – North Carolina
You could easily make the argument that Tyler Hansbrough is a top 10 player in NCAA Tournament history, and would not disagree. However, during UNC’s 2009 National Championship season, the deepest run in his four years, Hansbrough was essentially the third option scorer.
Chris Douglas-Roberts – Memphis
He may have been the experienced leader and leading scorer, but he was not capable of the same things his teammate Derrick Rose was, and it showed. His run was great, and he should be remembered for it, but Derrick Rose will always be the name people remember from Memphis’ incredible NCAA Tournament run.
Now it’s time to find out how we rank the Top 25 Individual NCAA Tournament runs of the 21st century (so far).