NCAA Men: Stattmann headed to Final Four, Kouat making some noise
It’s Final Four time!
March Madness is nearly complete (I mean, it’s April, but who’s counting), and with the elimination of Duke at the hands of a gritty Spartan’s outfit on Monday – it left just one Australian advancing to the Final Four; freshman Kody Stattmann.
So, with that considered – let’s take a brief sweep around the (Australian) grounds to see who how they went.
Kody STATTMANN | Virginia
Freshman Kody Stattman is the lone Aussie who has made it through to the Final Four following Virginia's thrilling overtime victory against Purdue in the Elite Eight. The little used Stattmann has only seen 1 minute on court during the Cavaliers NCAA Tournament run, coming in a Round 1 win against Gardner-Webb. The 6'7 sharpshooter is not expected to feature in the Final Four either, but in any case his team continues to dance.
Jack WHITE | Duke
Duke Co-Captain Jack White who was reportedly battling a hamstring injury, returned to play just 3 minutes in both the Sweet Sixteen win against Virginia Tech and in the Blue Devils heartbreaking Elite Eight loss which came in the dying seconds. He will return to Duke for his senior year.
Jayden HODGSON | Bradley
Point Guard Jayden Hodgson didn’t see the floor, as his Bradley Braves were defeated 76-65 by the number two seed Spartans who remain alive as the final four gets set to begin.
Jordan HUNTER | Saint Mary's
Centre Jordan Hunter contributed six points, two rebounds and one assist as his side went down 61-57 to last year’s champions, Villanova. His performance was perhaps a little below the lofty expectations that were born from his MVP performance in the WCC tournament, however he did his reputation as a playmaking, versatile big man, no harm.
Ben FAKIRA | Utah State
Freshman Ben Fakira didn’t see any action in the first round of March Madness, as his Utah State side went down by 19 points to the higher ranked Washington.
Hugh BAXTER | Colgate
Freshman Hugh Baxter didn’t see any minutes as his Colgate side pushed the much-fancied Tennessee outfit to the death.
Ben CARTER | Montana
Freshman Ben Carter didn’t take to the floor as his side was bundled out 74-55 by the Michigan Wolverines in round one of March Madness.
Aiden KRAUSE | UC Irvine
Aiden Krause’s UC Irvine sprung one of the biggest upsets of the tournament when they defeated 4thseed Kansas in round one, before losing to the Oregon Ducks in round two. The freshman didn’t see minutes in either contest.
Whilst the above makes for fairly grim reading from an Australian standpoint, it is worth recognising that the majority that went dancing were all freshman, but there is also another shining light.
The National Invitation Tournament (think division two March Madness) has been running concurrent to its more esteemed older brother in the last fortnight.
Australian forward Kouat Noi has been a standout for the TCU Horned Frogs, who play their semi-final against the number two seed Texas Longhorns tomorrow.
In the tournament to date, Noi has averaged 15 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists – with a game high 25 points in his most recent outing against the Creighton Bluejays.
The hybrid 3 / 4 from Newcastle has started to attract attention over this stretch, and a win in the NIT for his TCU outfit could go some way to bumping up his future prospects for higher honours.