The 20 Best Performers From the 2015 NCAA Tournament
Basketball is very much a team game, and four of the best collegiate teams are still fighting for the NCAA Championship.
Of course, that doesn't mean that we can't pause and look at individual performances and try see who has been the best in the tournament this year.
This isn't just a list of leading scorers or rebounders, though. These are the top-20 players according to the algorithm from numberFire Live. The rating system, which ranges from 0-100, tells us just how good a player has been during his time on the court.
Below are the 20 best players -- among those who have played at least three games in the tournament -- based on our math.
|Travis Trice||Mich. St.||19.8||3.3||4.0||0.0||0.5||72|
|Denzel Valentine||Mich. St.||13.3||6.0||4.5||0.3||1.3||71|
|Steve Vasturia||Notre Dame||13.5||3.0||1.8||0.0||1.8||70|
The Top 5: A Closer Look
Justise Winslow, Duke, Rating: 89 - Winslow, according to our math, has been the absolute best player in the tournament, and looking at his full stat line, it's hard to argue. Winslow's 14.0 points per game ranks just 11th on this list of 20 (and 41st of the 96 players who recorded at least 50 minutes in the tournament), but he's made 7 of 12 shots from beyond the arc (58.3 percent and third best among players who have attempted at least 10 shots from deep). And nobody is filling up the peripheral categories quite like he is.
Winslow leads the tournament in total rebounds with 38 and is third in boards per game (9.5) among the 96 players with at least 50 minutes. He's actually tied with Karl-Anthony Towns in blocks per game (1.8) and ranks just behind teammate Jahlil Okafor (2.0) with the seventh-best blocks per game mark among the 96-player subset. Given the full and efficient production, it's no wonder why he rates out as the best in the field so far.
Sam Dekker, Wisconsin, Rating: 85 - Dekker's 87 points is second only to teammate Frank Kaminsky (91) in the tournament. It all adds up: Wisconsin has the best offense in basketball, per our power rankings. Of course, they play slower than all but 2.0 percent of schools in the country, but that doesn't hurt their efficiency one bit.
Unlike Winslow, the majority of Dekker's impact has come through scoring points, as his peripherals are pretty modest, though he is maintaining 5.5 boards per game, tied for 38th among the 96 players with at least 50 minutes played. His field goal percentage (60.4 percent) ranks 11th among the 96, and he's shooting 48.1 percent from three on 27 attempts. Dekker's production is scoring focused, but it has been one of the most efficient in the tournament, and his Elite Eight performance was a 100 out of 100 according to our math.
Karl-Anthony Towns, Kentucky, Rating: 82 - Towns is making his presence felt much like Winslow has been. His 13.8 points per game is up from his season average of 10.1 but ranks just 48th among the 96 players with at least 50 minutes. He's been efficient, though, shooting 62.5 percent from the field and 83.3 percent from the free throw line.
His 1.8 blocks per game is tied for seventh. He's been an efficient scorer and a great shot blocker, but Towns has managed to stay on the floor for just 86 minutes as he has averaged 3.5 personal fouls per game. Had he played more than 86 minutes (64th-most in the tournament), he may have wound up at the top of the list.
Quinn Cook, Duke, Rating: 76 - Cook has been solid across the board, maintaining numbers similar to his season averages. At 14.5 points per game, he isn't exactly lighting up the scoreboard, but he was super efficient in his first two games. Cook hit 9 of 18 threes in his first two games and converted on 56.0 percent of all of his field goal attempts.
In his two most recent games, he's just 4 for 15 from the field (26.7 percent) and 1 of 7 (16.7 percent) from beyond the arc. In lieu of lethal three-point shooting, Cook has been 12 of 14 (85.7 percent) from the line in Duke's last two games, helping him add at least 10 points in all four of Duke's contests.
Jakob Poeltl, Utah, Rating: 75 - Poeltl's Utes are no longer competing this year after falling to Duke, but Poeltl had one of the best individual runs in the whole tournament. He was efficient -- there's no denying that. His field goal percentage (73.9 percent) is currently tops in the tourney, his 3.0 offensive rebounds per game is tied for fourth, and his 3.0 blocks per game leads the tournament.
The seven-foot Austrian did manage just 5.7 total rebounds per game (36th), but in denying shots and putting in his own at an impressive clip, he proved to be the fifth-best overall performer in the tournament's first four rounds.