The Tourney Blog’s starting five from the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight …
G: Durrell Summers, Jr., Michigan State
19 points, seven rebounds, 4-of-9 three-point shooting vs. Northern Iowa; 21 points, four rebounds, 4-of-6 three-point shooting vs. Tennessee
The pre-NCAA tournament version of Summers wasn’t impressive: He didn’t defend, didn’t prepare well, and had only scored in double-digits once since Feb. 6. But he’s in the running for MVP of the whole dance, shooting 53 percent from long-range and averaging an even 20 points over four games. There’s no way the Spartans would be in Indy without Summers catching fire on the perimeter.
F: Gordon Hayward, Soph., Butler
17 points, five rebounds vs. Syracuse; 22 points, nine rebounds vs. Kansas State
On the floor in Salt Lake, after the Bulldogs clinched their Final Four trip, a “Too Big Yo” chant erupted — in reference to Hayward’s infamous rap song of the same name. G-Time hung his head in shame, but that was unnecessary: He was too big for the Wildcats, earning the West Region’s Most Outstanding Player award with some clutch baskets down the stretch.
G: Nolan Smith, Jr., Duke
15 points, five rebounds, four assists vs. Purdue; 29 points, 4-of-6 three-point shooting vs. Baylor
His career-high in points against Baylor was a tribute to his late father, Derek, who won a national title with Louisville 30 years ago in Indianapolis. Nolan has become a master of the mid-range game in his junior season, carving up opposing defenses both in transition and halfcourt sets, and should be West Virginia’s No. 1 defensive priority on Saturday.
G: Jon Scheyer, Sr., Duke
18 points, five rebounds, four assists vs. Purdue; 20 points, five rebounds, four assists vs. Baylor
Scheyer has only missed one free throw in the entire tournament, and he had almost identically stellar games against the Boilers and Bears in Houston. In the Final Four he’ll match up with West Virginia’s Joe Mazzulla — almost a complete opposite, stylistically, at the point-guard position.
F: Kevin Jones, Soph., West Virginia
18 points, eight rebounds (five offensive) vs. Washington; 13 points, eight rebounds vs. Kentucky
Teammate Da’Sean Butler was the East Region’s M.O.P., but Jones was just as valuable — and not to mention more efficient. In addition to his strong work on the offensive glass, he shot 6-of-10 from long-range in the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight.
Sixth man: Willie Veasley, Sr., Butler
13 points, five rebounds, three steals vs. Syracuse (defended Wes Johnson); three points, four rebounds vs. Kansas State (defended Denis Clemente)
Veasley’s stats aren’t phenomenal, but he was the hero of the win over the Orange, with a late three, steal and tip-in to get the Bulldogs to the Elite Eight. He’s also the Bulldogs’ best lock-down defender; against Kansas State he held Clemente to just two first-half points.
G: Joe Mazzulla, Sr., West Virginia
G: Denis Clemente, Sr., Kansas State
G: Jacob Pullen, Jr., Kansas State
F: Da’Sean Butler, Sr., West Virginia
C: Ekpe Udoh, Jr., Baylor
Sixth man: Raymar Morgan, Sr., Michigan State