Archive - Feb 28, 2012
Around this time of year, you usually have three types of teams in accordance to the NCAA tournament. The first group is full of the mortal locks, which usually includes most teams in the top 25 right about now and those who did well in both non-conference and conference play. The second group is filled with teams with losing records or barely winning records with RPI's that do not warrant tourney consideration. The third group is full of the teams that are described as being "on the bubble" of a tournament bid.
Kentucky has hung on to the #1 ranking in the nation, with a player who many deem to be the likely #1 pick in the 2012 Draft. In an 83-74 Kentucky victory over Vanderbilt, Anthony Davis had a performance that could only be described as dominant. Scoring a career high 28 points (10-11 FG, 8-9 FT) to go with 10 rebounds and 6 blocked shots, it seemed Vanderbilt could do nothing to slow the freshman big man down. Displaying his usual skill for scoring around the basket, Davis also showed excellent form and touch on some jumpers that hit all net.
With a previous victory over Kansas and a 19 point lead with just over 16 minutes remaining, Missouri had to feel they had a good chance of breaking the dominant force of the Big 12. Instead, Kansas was fuelled by the Allen Fieldhouse crowd to go on a monumental comeback and take the game 87-86 in overtime. Thomas Robinson scored 28 and had 12 rebounds to remain at the forefront of any National Player of the Year discussions with Kentucky's Anthony Davis.
Player of the Week
Anthony Davis, Kentucky
Kentucky trailed 41-28 at halftime in Starkville, and Davis appeared phased by the environment/competition for the first time in his young career. He had just 4 points and 3 rebounds after 20 minutes. To the surprise of no one, however, he raised his energy level in the second stanza (including a technical foul) en route to 13 points, 11 boards, 2 blocks and 2 steals, as UK prevailed by a comfortable margin. Davis found no such struggles back in the friendly confines of Rupp against Vanderbilt, as he finished with 28 points on 10/11 field goals, 11 boards (4 offensive), 6 blocks and 2 steals. He even tossed in a few short-mid range jumpers, including a smooth turnaround J. A 13/15 stretch from the free throw line in the two games highlights both his developing stroke and enhanced aggression. The battle between AD and Thomas Robinson for National POY will be decided down the home stretch.
Jordan McRae, Tennessee
Following a ferocious mid-season slump (4 PPG in January), McRae has re-emerged as a prominent factor in Cuonzo Martin’s rotation. In wins versus Mississippi and at South Carolina he averaged 31 minutes, 16 points (50% FG), 7.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists. Early in the year his shot attempts were predominantly long-range bombs, but this week he attempted only 30% three’s and found his way to the charity stripe 15 times (11 makes). He’s added weight to his brittle frame, and at 6’7 he has a serious height advantage over opposing off-guards. Add his explosive athleticism into the mix and there’s no reason he should be camped out behind the arc. Versatility is his ticket to collegiate stardom, and beyond.