By Matt Czeitner
5. Glen Rice (Michigan) 1989
Glen Rice had an amazing tournament run in 1989. He holds the record for the most points scored in an NCAA tournament. Pretty remarkable that it still stands today. Rice ended up with 184 points in six games. He averaged 30.7 points per game total. He had 75 made field goals and 27 3-pointers made also. It’s a pretty amazing run he had. To top it off, a National Championship for him and the Michigan Wolverines, where he had 31 points.
4. Bill Russell (San Francisco) 1956
Bill Russell was absolutely ridiculous during the 1956 tournament. He averaged 23 points and a 25 rebounds. Those aren’t numbers you see nowadays. Russell added an insane 50 rebounds during the final four as well, a record that hasn’t been broken to this day. Russell led the San Francisco team to a National Championship. What made Russell amazing as well was his defense. Russell’s game and numbers both carried into the NBA. It would very interesting to see guys like Russell play in today’s game.
3. Christian Laettner (Duke) 1992
Christian Laettner had an amazing run in the 1992 tournament. It was his senior season. He went an insane 10-for-10 from the field and 10-for-10 from the free throw line in that one game where he hit that turnaround jumper, in overtime, to win the game 104-103, remember that? Laettner averaged 22.7 points and 7.5 rebounds in the tournament. Ultimately, Duke would not have won the championship if it was not for him.
2. Magic Johnson (Michigan State) 1979
Magic Johnson averaged 21.8 points, 10 assists and 8.8 rebounds in this tournament. He led the Spartans all the way to the National Championship where they would face Indiana State and Larry Bird. It was in that game where Magic had a triple-double to win the championship. He had 13 points, 17 rebounds, and 10 assists. That is more than impressive. The guy did it all for this team. Him and Oscar Robertson are the only two players ever to have a triple-double in a title game.
1. Kemba Walker (UConn) 2011
Kemba Walker put this team on his back throughout the entire season, and that’s that. He was phenomenal in March. Walker averaged 23.5 points, 6.0 rebounds and 5.7 assists while playing 38.5 minutes per game. Walker had 36 in the Sweet 16 (San Diego State) and 33 against Cincinnati in the second round. He was the ultimate do-everything player, and few are in his class when it comes the best March runs in history. UConn also took the National Championship that year.
THE OTHER NUMBER 1: Danny Manning (Kansas) 1988
I wanted to keep this list top five. But I could not leave out certain people. Danny Manning led Kansas as a six seed in this tournament to a National Championship.
Manning averaged 27.2 points and 9.3 rebounds and established himself forever as a college basketball legend. Manning ultimately became a legend for his performance in the final two games of the tournament. He put up 25 points, 10 rebounds and seven blocks in the Final Four against Duke, then put up 31 and 18 in the knockout blow to league foe Oklahoma in the championship. It’s hard to believe Kansas was an underdog for most of this tournament.