Top Player, Hottest Player in new Rankings Headline Final 4 Saturday

Top Player, Hottest Player in new Rankings Headline Final 4 Saturday

At the outset of March Madness, we noted that the teams with the best trios have the best chance to go alll the way. In the “almost” final Value Add rankings below (see table) just three teams – Indiana, Louisville and Syracuse – have three Top 50 players, and the latter two hope to win Saturday to make it an All-Big East championship Monday. However, Wichita State will take the court with a big, solid trio against Louisville at 6:09 ET in the first Final Four game. Michigan will take the best player in the country into the late game, as Trey Burke takes the court for the first time since receiving the AP Player of the Year and Wooden Award to try to solve Syracuse’s 2-3 zone.

Louisville. When Breitbart Sports released the top 2500 Value Add players January 1, Louisville was already considered the best team in the country by many even though they were nowhere near the level at which they are playing now. Smith was the 13th best player in the country, but after a few out-of-control games dropped him further down the list, he finished as the hottest player in the country to rise to fourth in the final rankings. Peyton Siva barely in the Top 50, just like early last year before he took over in the Big East and NCAA tournament. Gorgui Dieng had dropped almost out of the top 500 after sitting and then playing at 50% with a broken list. We called it the best backcourt in the country already, and teaming them up with the 6-foot-8 NBA-bound Dieng makes for a trio that looks very hard to beat and are all ranked in the Top 30 with redhot finishes to the year.

Wichita State. The Shockers will try to continue to – well true Shockers, but the fact is that except for Villanova in 1985, the lower seeds that make the Final Four usually get overwhelmed once there. The Shockers are a great team, in fact master statistician Ken Pomeroy (www.kenpom.com) has them as a Top 20 team statistically, and they are one of only a handful of teams with three top 300 players (remember there are 400 players). If Malcolm Armstead (their best player at 142nd most valuable) can somehow handle the press, then the great 6-foot-8 duo of Cleanthony Early and Carl Hall could combine with 7-footer Ehimen Orukpe on the defensive end to try to get Dieng in foul trouble. It looks uphill because Colorado State tried the same approach, but if Dieng gets two first half fouls they have a chance – if not this could be another Lousville blowout.

Michigan. Trey Burke was the third best player in the country as of January 1, but quickly passed Mason Plumlee of Duke and Erick Green of Virginia Tech, and has been the top player for three months. He finished more than a full point ahead of Georgetown’s Otto Porter, who nudged out Indiana’s Victor Oladipo for the second best ranking. The tough task for Burke, is that he is a sophomore leading a team of mostly freshman against the tough 2-3 Syracuse zone. Junior Tim Hardaway is the one other non-freshman who needs to come through and make sure the incredible freshman like 6-10 Mitch McGary (138th best player) and 6-6 Glen Robinson (70th) keep working to find tiny openings in the zone. The good news is that while inexperienced, the sons of former NBA players have been around the game long enough that they might be up for the challenge.

Syracuse.  If the two best trios win Saturday, then it will be Lousville in the first game and Syracuse in the second game to force an all Big-East title game Monday. The Orangemen also have three of the top 50 players. James Southerland (pictured) is the biggest match-up problem in the country as a 6-8 player who can hit from almost 30 feet from the basket. CJ Fair is one of the most creative 6-8 players around the basket, scoring from every angle. To get a feel for just how dominant Michael Carter-Williams is and will be in the NBA, consider that his shot was off most of the year but he is so good at everything else, that he was still the 11th most valuable player in the country. Syracuse allows teams to hit less than 29 percent of all three-pointers, the best defense of any major conference team.

Here are the Top 25 Value Add players for the full season including last nights win by Santa Clara over Georget Mason in the CIT championship. The players in the Final Four will be adjusted slightly next week and the database at www.valueaddbasketball.com will reflect those changes.

Rnk Most Valuable 25 + Final 4 Team Ht Yr VA
1 Trey Burke Michigan 6′ 0 So 11.04
2 Otto Porter Georgetown 6′ 8″ So 9.76
3 Victor Oladipo Indiana 6′ 5″ Jr 9.44
4 Russ Smith Louisville 6′ 0 Jr 9.13
5 Erick Green Virginia Tech 6′ 3″ Sr 9.07
6 Kentavious Caldwell-Pope Georgia 6′ 5″ So 8.94
7 Shabazz Napier Connecticut 6′ 1″ Jr 8.81
8 Cody Zeller Indiana 7′ 0 So 8.73
9 Mason Plumlee Duke 6′ 10″ Sr 8.66
10 Nate Wolters South Dakota St. 6′ 4″ Sr 8.40
11 Michael Carter-Williams Syracuse 6′ 6″ So 8.14
12 Bryce Cotton Providence 6′ 1″ Jr 8.02
13 Mike Muscala Bucknell 6′ 11″ Sr 7.98
14 Pierre Jackson Baylor 5′ 10″ Sr 7.77
15 Doug McDermott Creighton 6′ 8″ Jr 7.73
16 Kelly Olynyk Gonzaga 7′ 0 Jr 7.44
17 Jeff Withey Kansas 7′ 0 Sr 7.44
18 Ray McCallum Detroit 6′ 3″ Jr 7.42
19 Shane Larkin Miami FL 5′ 11″ So 7.37
20 Marcus Smart Oklahoma St. 6′ 4″ Fr 7.29
21 Trevor Releford Alabama 6′ 0 Jr 7.22
22 Spencer Dinwiddie Colorado 6′ 5″ So 7.08
23 Jack Cooley Notre Dame 6′ 9″ Sr 6.98
24 Zeke Marshall Akron 7′ 0 Sr 6.96
25 Dwayne Evans St. Louis 6′ 5″ Jr 6.90
29 Peyton Siva Louisville 6′ 0 Sr 6.83
30 Gorgui Dieng Louisville 6′ 11″ Jr 6.82
41 James Southerland Syracuse 6′ 8″ Sr 6.45
46 C.J. Fair Syracuse 6′ 8″ Jr 6.33
70 Glenn Robinson Michigan 6′ 6″ Fr 5.73
102 Brandon Triche Syracuse 6′ 4″ Sr 5.25
138 Mitch McGary Michigan 6′ 10″ Fr 4.70
142 Malcolm Armstead Wichita St. 6′ 0 Sr 4.67
167 Chane Behanan Louisville 6′ 6″ So 4.46
188 Tim Hardaway Michigan 6′ 6″ Jr 4.28
205 Nik Stauskas Michigan 6′ 6″ Fr 4.10
210 Cleanthony Early Wichita St. 6′ 8″ Jr 4.06
223 Jared Swopshire Louisville 6′ 8″ Sr 3.99
251 Wayne Blackshear Louisville 6′ 5″ So 3.75
262 Carl Hall Wichita St. 6′ 8″ Sr 3.69
263 Luke Hancock Louisville 6′ 6″ Jr 3.68
362 Montrezl Harrell Louisville 6′ 8″ Fr 3.08
365 Rakeem Christmas Syracuse 6′ 9″ So 3.06
394 Baye Keita Syracuse 6′ 10″ Jr 2.92
657 Jordan Morgan Michigan 6′ 8″ Jr 1.92
711 Kevin Ware Louisville 6′ 2″ So 1.75
755 Tekele Cotton Wichita St. 6′ 2″ So 1.65
767 Ron Baker Wichita St. 6′ 3″ Fr 1.63
795 Jerami Grant Syracuse 6′ 8″ Fr 1.56
882 Demetric Williams Wichita St. 6′ 2″ Sr 1.38
897 Spike Albrecht Michigan 5′ 11″ Fr 1.35
913 Jon Horford Michigan 6′ 10″ So 1.34
1054 Ehimen Orukpe Wichita St. 7′ 0 Sr 1.13
1165 Trevor Cooney Syracuse 6′ 4″ Fr 0.96
1209 Nick Wiggins Wichita St. 6′ 6″ Jr 0.91
1224 Evan Wessel Wichita St. 6′ 5″ So 0.89
1290 DaJuan Coleman Syracuse 6′ 9″ Fr 0.80
1769 Jake White Wichita St. 6′ 8″ So 0.38
2034 Chadrack Lufile Wichita St. 6′ 9″ Jr 0.22
  Caris LeVert Michigan 6′ 5″ Fr 0.01

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