Top 5 performers in Final Four

Smith, Carter-Williams among players carrying their teams in tourney

Updated: April 5, 2013, 1:58 PM ET
By John Gasaway | ESPN Insider
Louisville guard Russ Smith has been averaging 26 points in the NCAA tournament. Mark Konezny/USA TODAY SportsLouisville guard Russ Smith has been averaging 26 points in the NCAA tournament.

You have read a lot about a certain four teams this week, so I thought I'd try something altogether different and talk about players instead. This is my All-Final Four team, or at least my All-Final Four Team So Far.

No, you won't find usual suspects like Trey Burke here, because I've willfully imposed a rather drastic form of amnesia on my deliberations. This list is based on NCAA tournament performance only. If we'd been trapped in a cave until noon Eastern time on March 21 and all we knew of basketball was what we've seen since then, these five players would rise to the top of the list.


1. Russ Smith, G, Louisville Cardinals
My choice for Most Outstanding Player if the tournament ended today, Smith has been amazing. He has averaged eight points per tournament game from the free throw line alone, and his share of the Cardinals offense, even on the rare occasions when he's not fouled, has been Jimmer Fredette-like.

Literally. In 2010-11, Fredette accounted for 38 percent of Brigham Young's shots during his minutes. Smith's corresponding number during the tournament: 38 percent. Rick Pitino's star hasn't connected on his rare 3s the past four games (32 percent), but when you're making 63 percent of your more frequent 2s and shooting 80 percent at the line, your coach will look past the occasional perimeter miss.