The second round of the NCAA tournament concluded on Friday with a number of top NBA draft prospects ousted far earlier than expected.
Duke's Jabari Parker could be the No. 1 pick in June NBA's draft (or at least top three) but the Mercer Bears, a 14th seed, stunned the Blue Devils, seeded No. 3, 78-71.
Parker finished with 14 points and seven rebounds but shot just four for 14 from the field with four turnovers.
How the quick exit will affect the freshman's pro prospects is unclear. Assuming he does declare for the draft, Parker isn't likely to fall very far.
His teammate small forward Rodney Hood shot just two for 10 from the field for six points with five assists and three turnovers. Hood is a borderline lottery pick (top 14) but could dip after an unimpressive tournament performance.
Oklahoma State's Marcus Smart was also knocked out on Friday. While he struggled from the field (five for 14), he finished with 23 points, 13 rebounds, seven assists and six teams. It wasn't enough for the ninth-seeded Cowboys to defeat eighth-seeded Gonzaga.
The 6-foot-4 Smart is expected to be drafted in the top 10.
The Lakers are currently tied with the Utah Jazz in the win column with 22. Only the Milwaukee Bucks (13), Philadelphia 76ers (15) and Orlando Magic (19) have fewer wins. If the standings hold through the end of the season, the Lakers will pick no later than eighth in the first round of the draft.
One player who impressed was Creighton's Doug McDermott, who scored 30 points with 12 rebounds as the third-seeded Bluejays defeated the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns, a No. 14 seed, 76-66.
McDermott's draft stock appears to be on the climb.
Andrew Wiggins, who could beat out Parker as the top pick in the draft, led all scorers with 19 in Kansas' 80-69 win over Eastern Kentucky (15th). His teammate, center Joel Embiid, is sidelined with a back injury.
Kansas shooting guard prospect Wayne Selden had a rough game, scoring just two points on 0 for five shooting.
Arizona's Aaron Gordon gave the Wildcats (No. 1 seed) a strong performance with 16 points, eight rebounds, five blocks and three assists in a 68-59 win over Weber State (No. 16).
Kentucky's Julius Randle was also impressive, helping the Wildcats (No. 8) to a 56-49 win over Kansas State (No. 9). Randle notched a double-double with 19 points and 15 rebounds.
Randle's teammate, Willie Cauley-Stein, contributed just two points off the bench but collected eight rebounds, four blocks and four steals in 28 minutes. Guard James Young struggled from the field, hitting just three of 13 shots for seven points.
Finally, fourth-seeded UCLA took out No. 13 Tulsa, 76-59.
Jordan Adams led the Bruins with 21 points and eight rebounds. Kyle Anderson had good and bad moments, with eight points (three for 11 shooting), six assists, four steals and two blocks but also five turnovers.
Zach LaVine only scored two off the bench on five shot attempts.
Saturday's action will include Tyler Ennis and Syracuse, seeded third, playing the 11th-seeded Dayton Flyers.
Gary Harris and Adreian Payne of Michigan State (No. 4) play Harvard (No. 12) while Nik Stauskas of Michigan (No. 2) plays Texas (No. 7).
Twitter: @EricPincusCopyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun