When you consider an MVP of the epic win against St. John's tonight, the numbers will point to obvious picks like Marquise Carter, who was brilliant with 24 points, or Robert Sacre who established an inside presence at the beginning of the game and set the tone for an eventual 43-20 rebounding edge.
Yet when all is said and done, Demetri Goodson gets the vote -- simply because he controlled the game.
Meech ended up with an average line (six points, four assists, one steal and one blocked shot) but his ability to break down the Red Storm's full-court press proved to be the difference in what will go down as one of the Zags' most impressive NCAA tournament victories ever. The junior consistently threaded through the pressure, splitting traps, finding the open man and initiating offensive sets that resulted in baskets. He refused to be rattled by a press that has given some of the best teams in the country (see Red Storm wins over Duke, Georgetown, Pittsburgh, etc.) complete fits.
Meech has had a tough year, having to deal with the emergence of David Stockton and the resulting reduction in minutes...yet, here's a guy who doesn't complain or grow disgruntled. He just keeps working hard and doing his part to help the team win.
Meech may not be a vocal team leader or drain threes like Stepp or Pargo, but he is a catalyst through his work ethic and toughness. If he is not on the court in Denver tonight, the Zags don't advance to play BYU on Saturday.
Thanks again, Meech. This effort may not be as spectacular as your running game-winner against Western Kentucky in the second round two years ago, but it was just as impressive.