Meet Anthony Davis: the best player in the NCAA tournament on the team that’s favored to win it all. What makes him so special? Eric Prisbell has more:
In the final minutes of a taut Southeastern Conference semifinal, Kentucky’s Anthony Davis found himself defending Florida guard Erving Walker on the right wing beyond the three-point arc. Twice Walker rocked back and forth to wobble the 6-foot-10 Davis, whose outstretched right hand hovered high above the 5-8 guard’s head.
Davis finally swayed too far right, Walker darted past, and almost everyone at New Orleans Arena could see that nothing stood between Walker and the basket. But more important to Walker was what he could not see: the freshman with the 7-4 wingspan lurking somewhere behind.
Walker rose up toward the basket, but instead of laying the ball in to tie the score, he flipped a pass to the corner for what turned out to be an errant three-point attempt. And with that, Davis had made a critical defensive play — negating a layup attempt — without ever touching the basketball.
“There has never been a shot-blocker like him,” Florida Coach Billy Donovan marveled.
Final four: Missouri presents match-up problems for any team it faces, but the Tigers will be overwhelmed inside by Kentucky’s Anthony Davis and the Wildcats will move onto the championship game. In the other semifinal, North Carolina and Syracuse will face off in what should be an instant classic. Does Syracuse have a star to match North Carolina’s NBA-like front court? Do the Tar Heels have enough perimeter shooters to beat the Syracuse 2-3 zone? I’m going with North Carolina, but barely.
Finals: Back in December Kentucky beat North Carolina by one point at Rupp Arena, a game that is still the best of this college basketball season. Expect another tightly contested battle this time, but the Tar Heels won’t have to combat a partisan crowd this time. Just like when Coach John Calipari led Memphis to the finals back in 2008, my guess is his freshmen-filled roster will wilt in crunch time under the brightest lights and North Carolina’s experience will prevail.
The NCAA tournament is full of teams that — for one reason or another — you just cannot root for. We need your help picking teams for our anti-bracket.
Is there one school that you just can’t stand? Tell us who it is and why in the comments below. We’ll pick the most reviled teams, based on your comments and recommendations, and turn them into an Anti-NCAA Tournament bracket. Then we’ll open up voting to crown the Most-Hated Team in College Basketball.
You have hate. Now use it.
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