College Hoops Player of the Day for Sunday, March 13, 2011
Like his co-player of the year candidates, Kemba Walker and Jimmer Fredette, did the previous two days, Duke's exceptional Nolan Smith rose to occasion and willed his team to a win on Sunday, avenging a regular season finale loss to North Carolina, to capture the ACC tournament title, 75-58.
Smith, who was far from perfect from the floor, hit just 6 of 18 shots, but he did score a game high 20 points and distribute 10 assists to his teammates. As far as Smith and the Duke program are concerned, it was a beautiful team effort, with Seth Curry and Kyle Singler scoring 11 points each and three other players finishing with nine apiece.
Following the game, the NCAA tournament committee made Duke the number one seed in the West region, a fitting reward for their season-long exploits.
Three other games decided tournament titles, and thus, automatic bids. Ohio State beat Penn State, 71-60, for the Big Ten crown, Kentucky subdued Florida, 70-54, in the SEC and the Richmond Spiders took home the Atlantic Ten hardware with a 67-54 win.
Ohio State was awarded the #1 seed overall, in the East region. Pitt was the top seed in the Southeast and Kansas took #1 in the Southwest.
Beginning Monday, check this space for frequent updates with game recaps, previews and top performances for the duration of March Madness.