(Much of this may look like an exact repost of the article I wrote a week ago just before the Final 4 games, because it is - I didn’t want to explain all the same things again. Obviously the info is updated to include all the tourney games. I did add the All Tourney teams for fun, enjoy!)
To answer this question, I once again do what I do – I rank EVERY player game from this tourney (all 1311 player games) and EVERY player overall (all 718 players) based on their tourney performances – both in sheer dominance (PAO – Points Above Opponent) and in contribution to team wins and losses (PW & PL – Player Win shares and Player Loss shares).
This isn’t your run-of-the-mill, let me name 10 guys or so that seemed to have some great games (ignoring many others) article – you can find those articles anywhere. I rank every game, and I rank every guy – it’s what I do. No stone left unturned. It’s my thing.
To lead in, if this is your first introduction to my tourney player performance rankings – you might want to read my initial one after the Round of 32, where I explain much of what you’ll see.
Onto the rankings – first the ranking of ALL the NCAA tourney individual player games (PDF files ranking all 1311 player games):
All player games ranked by Player Wins (PW):2014NCAATourneyPlayerGmRankbyPW
I bolded the Top 67 player games in terms of Player Wins (PW), put in italics the top 67 player games in terms of Points Above Opposition (PAO), and put in red the player games that were top 67 in both metrics. I picked 67 because there were 67 games, seemed logical.
Five different players in this tourney earned over 88% credit for leading their team to victory in a single tourney game: Chassan Randle (0.88 PW in Stanford’s 5 point win over New Mexico in the Round of 64), Lawrence Alexander (0.91 PW in NDSU’s 5 point OT victory over Oklahoma in the Round of 64), Julius Randle (0.99 PW in Kentucky’s 2 point win over Wichita State in the Round of 32), Shabazz Napier (0.89 PW in UConn’s 6 point win over MSU in the Elite 8), and Frank Kaminsky (0.98 PW in Wisconsin’s 1 point OT squeaker over my beloved Arizona Wildcat’s in the Elite 8).
On the complete other end of the spectrum, Trevor Cooney is ranked #1311, having earned 56% of the blame for Syracuse’s 2 point loss to Dayton. Cooney played 25 minutes, scored 2 points - with 2 steals, 1 foul, and a 17% TS%. #1310 is an Arizona Wildcat in the Elite 8 – combine that with the previously mentioned #2 (a Badger) – that Elite 8 game will haunt me for a while.
All player games ranked by Points Above Opponent (PAO):2014NCAATourneyPlayerGmRankbyPAO
These are the guys that just plain put up massive stats – often in blow out wins.
Not surprisingly, Adreian Payne’s 41 point, 8 rebound, 87% TS% performance versus Delaware ranks #1 with a 17.6 PAO. MSU won that game by 15, so Adreian’s teammates were actually outplayed by Delaware, combining for a -2.6 PAO.
Amazingly, PAO rank #2 AND #3 belongs to players in a losing cause – Aaric Murray of Texas Southern scoring 38 with a 72% TS% in the 12 point play in loss to Cal Poly (Murray was 15.3 PAO, the rest of his teammates combined for a miserable -27.3 PAO), and Bryce Cotton of Providence scoring 36 with 8 assists and a 68% TS% in the two point Round of 64 loss to UNC. Actually 6 of the top 12 PAO games were in losses – let’s just say Cleanthony Early of Wichita State, Dustin Hogue of Iowa State, Marcus Smart of OK State, and Quinn Cook of Duke shouldn’t be getting any blame for their respective teams’ tourney losses.
While 6 of the top 12 PAO games were in a losing cause – the next 17 top PAO games were in wins.
All player games ranked by Player Wins (PW) & sorted by team:2014NCAATourneyPlayerGmRankPWbyTeam
Just to make it easier to find the results of the player games of your favorite team. Looking at the champs, Shabazz Napier had 5 of the top 6 UConn player games in both PW & PAO - with 4 performances being top 67 in both metrics. Amazing.
Overall NCAA Tourney player rankings by Player Win differential (PW minus PL):2014NCAATourneyOverallRankbyPW
I bolded the Top 32 players in terms of Player Wins (PW), put in italics the top 32 players in terms of Points Above Opposition (PAO), and put in red the players that were top 32 in both metrics. I picked 32 because there were 32 teams alive in Round “3″.
Shabazz Napier (dominant) and Julius Randle (his rebounding dominance SO integral in UK’s nail biters) easily #1 & #2.
Overall NCAA Tourney player rankings by Points Above Opponent (PAO):2014NCAATourneyOverallRankbyPAO
Jarnell Stokes and his 18.0 ppg, 12.8 rpg and 64% TS% in leading his team to the Elite 8 comes in #2 well behind Napier, but just ahead of Kaminsky.
The overall Player Win differential rankings – sorted by team:2014NCAATourneyOverallPWRankbyTeam
Again, to make it easier to find all the results of your favorite player(s) and team(s).
The 2014 NCAA Hoops Nerd All Tourney Team
|B. Dawson||Michigan St.||4||32.3||16.3||8.8||1.5||1.3||0.3||1.3||0.663|
|X. Thames||San Diego St.||3||37.7||26.0||1.3||3.7||1.3||0.7||1.7||0.545|
|A. Payne||Michigan St.||4||30.3||20.5||6.5||1.3||0.5||1.0||1.8||0.636|
Shabazz Napier was so good, he had more Player Wins than all other entire teams not named Florida, Wisconsin, & Kentucky (if you sum all their PW’s, you obviously get 4, 4, & 5 respectively – Napier had 3.22 PWs).
I formed these three “teams” subjectively based on their PW/PL differential & their PAO. Feel free to look over all the complete results I give above and form your own opinions.
As usual, if you have ANY questions or you like what I’m doing here (and maybe appreciate that I’m trying to offer information and complete results not seen anywhere else, especially from mainstream media) – comment below and/or hit me up a bunch on Twitter. Thanks!