This March, March Madness 2020 will officially start. Who will be honored this season? Before starting the new season, let’s take a look at the first name that appeared in March Madness 2019, which is Ja Morant, a student at Murray State University.
“It is not a problem if you do not know who Morant is and anything about him. Let’s remember the name of this young player from now when he gets to the NBA”. This is a quote from an NBA scouting expert about Ja Morant, the young talent who shone brightly on the first day of the NCAA Tournament.
For those who do not know anything about the NCAA Tournament, this is a basketball tournament commonly known as the March Madness. According to estimates of sports betting experts, March Madness makes about $10 billion in betting money each year. According to statistics, last year, up to 54 million people (accounting for a quarter of Americans) spent $18 billion to participate in sports betting. In particular, if including the March Madness Betting NJ participants, up to 24 million people spend $2.6 billion on basketball betting.
As an excellent basketball player, Ja Morant, the Murray State University student, entered the NCAA Tournament as the second-best player after Zion Williamson. But unlike Zion, Morant’s talent is less noticeable in the eyes of ordinary ball fans. Partly because Zion is so outstanding, the rest is because Murray State matches are less likely to appear on national television than teams like Duke, Virginia, or Gonzaga.
For those who turned on the television to watch Morant’s first match at the NCAA Tournament last year, surely they were not disappointed. His opponent was Marquette, which is the team ranking fifth and being much appreciated than Murray State. However, Ja Morant turned the situation admirably.
Scoring 17 points, bagging 16 assists, and adding 12 rebounds, Morant with a triple-double helped Murray State Racers make the first surprise at last year’s March Madness with a strong 83-64 victory over Marquette. This performance of Ja Morant was also the first time since 2012 when there was a player who had reached a triple-double at the NCAA Tournament.
Unlike the NBA, where triple-doubles appear quite often, the history of March Madness has only witnessed eight triple-doubles, and Ja Morant is the owner of the ninth triple-double.
Although Morant did not achieve the level of scoring as he did in the season (an average of 24.6 points per match), Morant provided an excellent performance. With 16 assists, he had the second most assist in the history of March Madness.
“16 assists! That’s what I really like. I want to create conditions for my teammates, and I want to see them smile after every score from my assist”, Ja Morant said after the match.
This victory and historic achievement of Ja Morant brought a dream start to Murray State at the NCAA Tournament last year. To be in the group of 16 best teams (Sweet 16), he had to overcome his Florida State teammates. Currently, Ja Morant is ranked 6th in the NCAA for the ability to score points with an average of 24.6 points per match and ranks first in the assists index with 10 assists per match.