Not only did the Ja Morant-led Murray State Racers add their name in NCAA tournament history with a huge upset of Marquette last night in the first round of the 2019 NCAA tournament, but the 6-3 guard joined an exclusive list of college players that accomplished triple doubles during March Madness.
His real name, Temetrius Morant, had a final box score of 17 points, 16 assists and 11 rebounds that was a complete domination of the much-higher seeded Marquette. No doubt Morant’s performance busted several tournament brackets.
His stat line was historic too, it was just the eighth triple double in NCAA tournament history, at least since assists started being tracked. It’s also the first triple double to happen in March Madness since 2012 when NBA All-Star and former Michigan State Spartan Draymond Green pulled it off against LIU Brooklyn in the second round of that tourney.
All the Triple Doubles in March Madness History
|Ja Morant||Murray State||2019||1st||Marquette||17||11||16 asts|
|Draymond Green||Michigan State||2012||2nd||LIU Brooklyn||24||12||10 asts|
|Draymond Green||Michigan State||2011||2nd||UCLA||23||11||10 asts|
|Cole Aldrich||Kansas||2009||2nd||Dayton||13||20||10 blks|
|Dwyane Wade||Marquette||2003||Elite 8||Kentucky||29||11||11 asts|
|Andre Miller||Utah||1998||Elite 8||Arizona||18||14||13 asts|
|David Cain||St. John's||1993||1st||Texas Tech||12||11||11 asts|
|Shaquille O'Neal||LSU||1992||1st||BYU||26||13||11 blks|
|Gary Grant||Michigan||1987||2nd||North Carolina||24||10||10 asts|
With the likes of Green, Russell Westbrook, Nikola Jokic, LeBron James, Rajon Rondo, and Ben Simmons, triple-doubles have increasingly become an-almost every night occurrence in the NBA, it just doesn’t happen in college basketball as often. And as you can see from the list above, it very rarely happens in the college basketball postseason.
When Did The NCAA Begin Tracking Assists?
Though the list above is impressive, it unfortunately doesn’t count unofficial triple doubles. When Magic Johnson led his Michigan State Spartans to the title against Larry Bird in 1979, assists weren’t an official stat. Magic recorded not one, but two triple doubles in the 1979 NCAA Tournament.
Assists became an official statistic of the NCAA tournament box score sometime after Magic’s 1979 run and 1987 when Gary Grant of the University of Michigan got a triple double for the “first time” in NCAA Tournament history.
Going back even further, the king of triple-doubles Oscar Robertson would have had four triple doubles while playing for the Cincinnati Bearcats during March Madness; Two of those triple doubles came in 1959 and other two came in 1960.
Morant joined elite company with his triple double in March. Morant has somehow stolen spotlight from Zion Williamson (the two are being projected as the #1 and #2 picks of the comingNBA Draft) and was the the talk of the tournament after the first round. He definitely deserves the focus and by the looks of the list of players he’s joined, Ja Morant looks destined to have a great professional career.