- Dick Vitale, College Basketball analyst
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Now that we have gone from 65 teams down to the Sweet 16, it is time to look at the star players: the creme de la creme of the first two rounds of the Big Dance.
Here is my All-Solid Gold group, guys who have performed well and helped their squads move on in the tourney.
Let's start with St. Mary's center Omar Samhan. In two tournament wins, he has totaled 61 points and hit 24-of-32 from the field while grabbing 19 boards. Samhan, who averaged a double-double in the regular season, has dominated in victories over two good teams: Richmond and Villanova.
Kansas State guard Jacob Pullen had 15 points in the opening game against North Texas. Then he put on a show against BYU, hitting seven trifectas while finishing with 34 points.
Baylor's LaceDarius Dunn has had a fine season. The starting guard came through with 26 big points in a win over Old Dominion in round two.
Northern Iowa's Ali Faroukhmanesh has made big shots late in wins over UNLV and the stunning upset of Kansas. He doesn't have a fear of failing and his performance earned him a spot on my All-Solid Gold squad.
Syracuse forward Wes Johnson was the premier All-Marco Polo this season. He scored 18 vs. Vermont and followed it up with a career-high 31 points and 14 boards against Gonzaga. Johnson hit 11-of-16 from the floor against the Zags.
Xavier's Jordan Crawford put up 55 points in the first two games, wins over Minnesota and Pittsburgh.
Cornell has been a pleasant surprise as a No. 12 seed. Louis Dale has 47 points in two games.
There you have it, the All-Solid Gold team for the first two rounds of the tourney. We'll see how many of these guys can make it to the All-Solid Gold group through the Elite Eight!
1dMarc Stein and Ramona Shelburne