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The NC-Double-Eh Tournament Recap - Weekend 1

A big weekend for Canadian ballers in the NCAA Tournament. The Can Ball Report takes a look at who had the big games in the NC-Double-Eh Tournament Recap.

This weekend was definitely an exciting one for NCAA basketball fans. There were lots of great games, lots of spectacular upsets, all that has come to encompass March Madness as we expect it to be. That can also be said of the many Canadians playing in the Tournament(s) as well. For the first time in maybe forever there were a multitude of Canucks playing major roles in their team’s successes. With that in mind, we here at the Can Ball Report thought we’d take a look at those players that had the best performances this first weekend.

Big Game Guys

Andy Rautins, Syracuse

Andy Rautins, if you haven’t been watching much Orange basketball all season, has vastly improved his game over the course of his career in a ‘Cuse uniform. This weekend, he showed how good by playing in two games and showing two different Andys. In the Syracuse win over Vermont, he showed the do-everything Andy putting up 11 points on 4-of-9 shooting including 3 threes, 8 rebounds, 6 assists and a steal. In the next game against Gonzaga, Rautins poured in 24 points on 7-of-13 shooting including 5-of-9 from the arc and 5-of-6 from the line. He also added 4 boards, 4 assists and 2 steals. My RaptorsHQ colleague Defensive Stance had just sent me an email as I was penning this that Chris Ford of ESPN has said that NBA GMs are looking at Rautins as a second round pick, which is where I thought he could be now, so if he is the guy that runs the Orangemen into the final weekend of the Tournament, expect to see his name show up on more draft boards as June comes.

Rob Sacre, Gonzaga

Sacre has been the man in the middle for the Zags all season long and he has shown a lot of potential, primarily because the teams features a lot of very talented guards and wings. But despite all that, he has shown that he can play against anybody and in the big game against the ‘Cuse on Sunday Sacre showed he is still on the rise. He’s been knocked for having low rebounding numbers for a guy 7 foot and about 260 lbs but he does show up in big games and this was a big game. Playing against a top rated defense, Sacre scored 17 points on 8-of-12 shooting while also collecting 8 rebounds and getting 4 steals and 2 blocks. It should also be mentioned that he had 13 points and 9 off the glass against Florida State in the game before. I’m sure these games will have him projecting high in mock draft for 2011.

Olu Ashaolu:

Often a forgotten man while playing at Louisiana Tech, Ashaolu has been a very highly rated player since his days as a high schooler. I suppose not playing at a glamour conference does that. But regardless of where he plays, Ashaolu is a true talent. Having played out of position this season, he has really become a good player and should be better next season when he has more opportunity to play on the perimeter at the three, his more natural position. Having played in one of the other post season tournament, the College Insiders Tournament, he had a great game against Southern Mississippi putting up his tenth double-double of the season with 18 points and 10 rebounds helping the Bulldogs to a 66-57 win without All WAC Players Kyle Gibson and Magnum Rolle who sat with injuries.

Best Game Featuring a Canadian – Syracuse vs. Gonzaga. A total of six Canucks in the game minus Manny Arop who had a broken foot and was needed I’m sure for the Zags. On top of that, Rautins went off from behind the line. This is quite possibly the most significant NCAA game featuring Canadians ever.

Best Subplot – Syracuse vs. Vermont. There have been a whole lot of stories on this already so I won’t beat the dead horse. I’m pretty sure that the whole world wasn’t expecting Vermont to win the game (though if you look at the last two games the Orange played they may have) but I’m sure that it will be an interesting first week home for both Josephs.

Best Stat Line – Alwayne Bigby, Northeastern. A season long starter, Bigby may have been more in the lineup for his defense. In his team’s only NIT game, he played 26 minutes and only had a rebound, a turnover and three fouls to show for it. Not even a shot attempt. It’s like he wasn’t even playing in the same game.

Biggest Letdown – Maurice Joseph, Vermont. Now I would use the term letdown lightly here, I just could find another word really. With all the hype surrounding the Joseph Brother match up in the first round, I was expecting MoJo to come out and bomb away to like 25 points and at least stick it to Kris at home. Unfortunately that didn’t happen. Mojo was covered by a very good Syracuse zone and with no other real outside threats, he was the only target and dead in the water. It would have been nice to see him light the ‘Cuse though. Best of luck in the pros MoJo.

Oddest Stat of the Tournament So Far – Kris Joseph of Syracuse has played in the starting lineup with starting big man Arinze Onuaku out with injury. Oddly, he’s mad more free throws (9-of-10) than field goals attempted (2-of-6). He does get to the stripe more than anyone on his team but damn.