Gary Gramling

NCAA Heroes and Zeroes of the Day: Saturday

  • Hoophead
  • Gary Gramling
  • March 21, 2009, 11:32 PM

The Sweet 16 started to come together on Saturday, and there weren't many surprises as far as who won. But that doesn't mean there weren't any heroes...



Demetri Goodson, Gonzaga: March is when heroes are made. And on Saturday, Goodson was made into a hero. Western Kentucky had just tied the game on a tip-in with seven seconds left. The freshman back-up point guard, who averaged just 3.8 points per game this season, took the inbounds pass and went coast-to-coast, winning the game by bouncing in a floater from eight feet out. Thanks to Goodson, the Zags have a date with North Carolina on Thursday night.

Doneal Mack, Memphis: Once again, Memphis got some hot shooting from an unexpected source. Mack shot just .320 percent on three-pointers this season. On Saturday, he made 5 of 7 threes, srocing 17 points in just 21 minutes. Mack's hot hand (along with another big day from reserve Roburt Sallie, who made 3 of 4 threes) helped the Tigers to blitz Maryland early, earning them a spot in the Sweet 16.

JaJuan Johnson, Purdue: Johnson was the difference on Saturday, leading Purdue to a win over Washington in the day's only upset. Johnson had four blocks, about par for the course. But the rapidly developing big man also added 22 points in the two-point win.



Texas free throw shooting: The difference in the Longhorns' loss to Duke was at the line. Texas shot just 16 for 25, including a missed front end of a 1-and-1, essentially making it 16 for 26. Meanwhile, the Blue Devils shot 21 for 27. If Texas could have converted a few more freebies, they would have been up a couple, not down one in the final minute of an eventual loss.

Manny Harris's quick fouls: It was too bad. Harris, Michigan's star, picked up two fouls in the first six minutes of Saturday's loss to Oklahoma. And, not surprisingly considering the awful state of college basketball officiating, the second foul was a downright awful call. The Wolverines actually hung close with their star on the bench. But this one might have been different if Harris had played more than 21 minutes.

Greivis Vasquez, Maryland: It's not that Vasquez was a zero on the court. He was his usual stellar self, scoring 18 points and dishing out five assists. But Vasquez managed to let loose with some dumb comments before Saturday's loss to Memphis. He said that the Tigers wouldn't be a .500 team in the ACC. It was obviously an absurd claim. But it sounded even worse after watching the Terps lose by 19 to Memphis. There's no reason to give a great team even more motivation in the NCAA Tournament.

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