With just one game left in the NCAA tournament, we've got just two big tasks left here at GK Central.
One is to figure out what lessons to draw for our Giant Killers statistical model from this year's games, and for that, we will wait to see just how the remaining contests play out.Our other job is, of course, to name the 2011 All-Giant Killers team. Many thanks to all of you who voted. This year, we have awarded naming rights to the All-GK team, prompted by this question: What has been the single greatest play in Giant Killer history? A little research took us to a true gem: In 2004, 9-seed UAB, led by twin brothers named Donell and Ronell Taylor, beat Kentucky, the No. 1 team in the country, in the second round of the tournament. The Blazers did it with the help of this play, where Ronell intercepted a Wildcats pass and hurled the ball backward, over his head, to Donell, who laid it in for a seven-point lead -- an almost telepathic example of GK greatness. (As far as we can tell, by the way, Donell is now playing in Italy, and Ronell in Belgium.)
As it turns out, the 2004 UAB Blazers are the single highest-ranked Killer in our statistical model's historical database, which goes back to 2003. UAB had a Giant Killer score of 64.4 that year, when they had a staggering turnover differential. After beating Kentucky, they were wiped out by Kansas. But UAB came back to post the second-highest Giant Killing score in the country (41.9) in 2005 . And guess what? As an 11-seed, they knocked off 6-seed LSU.
So, without further ado, here is the 2011 Donell and Ronell Taylor All Giant-Killer Team: