With March Madness in high gear, let's take a look at the tournament's biggest standouts and disappointments.
Stud — John Wooden
Imagine if Wooden's unrivaled March mastery occurred during this age of social networking and 24/7 sports news cycles. Haters would be flexing their Twitter muscles ad nauseum. In addition to cutting down the nets 10 times, his UCLA squads won seven consecutive titles (1967-73), made the most Final Four appearances (16) and most consecutive Final Four appearances (nine), and tallied the most Final Four wins (21) and consecutive tournament victories (38). Pay homage.
Stud — Christian Laettner
The shot to beat Kentucky may define his career, but Laettner's NCAA Tournament success based on wins, losses and consistent personal statistics should not be overlooked. He and his Duke teammates finished 21-2 in NCAA Tournament games and were two-time national champions while he averaged 17.7 points and 7.3 rebounds.
Stud — Oscar Robinson
Because he avoids the national media spotlight, many causal college basketball fans forget to elevate "The Big O" to his rightful place atop NCAA Tournament all-time studs. Although he left the University of Cincinnati without a national title, Robertson torched the competition in his two trips to the Final Four. He averaged 32.4 points, 13.1 rebounds and 9.4 assists. He simply dominated college hoops from 1957 to 1960.
Stud — Kemba Walker in 2011
No word on how long it took Walker's back to heal following the 2011 NCAA Tournament. Because he carried the Huskies throughout the Big East and NCAA tournaments. From buzzer-beaters in the conference tourney to cutting down the nets in Houston, looking back at his stats, what he managed to accomplish was remarkable: Big East Tournament (5 games): 26 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 4.2 apg; NCAA Tournament (6 games): 23.5 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 5.7 apg.
Stud — Austin Carr
The former Notre Dame All-American holds the NCAA Tournament record for points scored in a game with 61 against the Ohio Bobcats in the 1970 tournament. Impressive as that may be, the point totals he posted in the five following tournament contests solidify him as an All-Tournament stud: 52 vs. Kentucky, 45 against Iowa, 52 against TCU; in 1971, 26 against Drake and 47 against Houston.
Studs — Butler in 2010-11
Thanks mainly to the one-and-done-rule, the term mid-major quickly has become antiquated. However, be it the small-town atmosphere of Hinkle Fieldhouse, its connection to the movie "Hoosiers" or playing in the unheralded Horizon League, Butler's back-to-back trips to the national championship game was a reminder mid-major programs could hang with the big dogs come March. As a No. 8 seed in 2010 and No. 5 seed in 2011, Brad Stevens' boys rattled off a 10-2 two-year tournament record. Led by Gordon Hayward, Shelvin Mack and Matt Howard, the Bulldogs' impressive tournament run opened the door for a conference promotion to the Atlantic 10 before moving to the Big East this season.
Dud — Webber's timeout
The most painful brain cramp in NCAA Tournament history rises to the surface around this time each year. Chris Webber had produced on a consistent basis throughout the 1993 tournament. He averaged 19.1 points per game for the Michigan Wolverines in six games, including 23 points on 11-18 shooting with 11 rebounds against North Carolina in the championship game. Perhaps it was the college basketball gods making up for the uncalled travel in the backcourt, but Webber's decision to dribble to the corner, turn and called a timeout when Michigan had none left led to a technical that clinched the game for UNC, and made him a memorable goat.
Dud — UCLA in 1996
Coming off a 1995 tournament run that culminated in UCLA's 11th title, the Bruins entered the 1996 tournament as a No. 4 seed. Their first-round opponent was No. 13-seed Princeton, led by legendary head coach Pete Carril (pictured), who announced this would be his last tournament after 29 years as head coach of the Tigers. In typical Princeton fashion, the Tigers slowed the pace and milked the clock with their methodical offense. Late in the game with the score tied 41-41, Gabe Lewullis performed the patented Princeton backdoor pass to Steve Goodrich for the game-winning bucket with just under four seconds to go. It's a feather in the Ivy League's cap, but a big dud for the Bruins.
Dud — 1986 Indiana Hoosiers
NCAA Tournament prowess is not something the Summit League boasts now, nor did it during the 1986 postseason. However, Cleveland State (now fo the Horizon League) did finish the regular season 27-3 before it qualified for the tourney as a No. 14 seed. Its opponent was a Steve Alford-led, third-seeded Indiana Hoosiers squad that owned the national spotlight behind fiery coach Bobby Knight. The Vikings shot 58.9 percent against the Hoosiers led by Clinton Ramsey's 27 points. Indiana's 83-79 loss remains one of the earliest Round of 64 dud performances after the field was expanded the previous season.
Dud — No. 2 Iowa State in 2001
One of my favorite sports images of all time is Hampton's head coach, Steve Merfeld, being carried around the court by David Johnson, the coach's legs kicked out while he pumped his fists in celebration. I'm sure No. 2 seed Iowa State, the team the 15th-seeded Pirates beat 58-57 that day, doesn't share my sentiment. Prior to Hampton's improbable upset of the Cyclones, a No. 15 seed had beaten a No. 2 seed only three times. That was, until 2012 ...
Dud — No. 2 Duke and Missouri in 2012
... when two No. 15 seeds sent a number of fans' brackets to the shredder. Led by C.J. McCollum's 30 points, the Lehigh Mountain Hawks upset the Duke Blue Devils 55 miles from Krzyzewskiville. The Devils' dud performance marked only the second time in the past 16 years that Coach K's crew lost in the first round (VCU in 2007). The Missouri Tigers entered the tournament boasting 30 wins, but Norfolk State made the most of its first appearance at the dance with an 86-84 first-round win.