University of Kentucky’s standout freshman Anthony Davis has shined in the college game thus far.
That will all end as he sees March Madness for the first time.
The freshman center out of Chicago has been exceptional this season, leading the Wildcats to a perfect regular season in conference play, going 16-0.
Though the SEC is one of the top conferences in the country, the NCAA tournament is still an entirely other animal than anything Davis is used to.
Here are some predictions about why he will come up short this March.
The Exhaustion Will Get to Him
In his first conference tournament, Davis put up excellent numbers in the first and second round, going for 12 and 15 points and 14 and 12 boards, respectively.
However, in the championship game against Vanderbilt, Davis slowed down to 12 points and only 10 rebounds. He also only had three blocks, tied for the second lowest amount all season.
In the regular season, Kentucky beat the Vanderbilt twice with relative ease.Davis had 15 points, 8 rebounds and 7 blocks in the first meeting and an astonishing 28 points, 11 rebounds and 5 blocks in the rematch.
It is quite obvious that playing three games in three days took its toll on the big man.
Though the games are not as frequent in the NCAA tourney, the emotional toll they can take will drain him even more.
Davis is just not ready for that kind of stress.
Outside Shooters Dominate the Tourney
Davis has been sensational in the paint, making it all but impossible for players to get off easy shots inside.
No other big man has been as effective in blocks or rebounds against top opponents as Davis this season.
However, the NCAA tournament is not always about who can dominate on the inside.
More often than not, teams will rely on their outside shooting, as few have the kind of big talent on the interior on which to pin their hopes.
If Davis comes up against a team that decides to stay out of the interior, he is pretty much nullified on defense.
If that team is also hitting their shots, then his rebounding ability is not as important.
Nearly all Cinderella stories in March Madness are by an underdog out shooting the favorites.
With no one that can realistically match up with Davis in all of division one, a hot handed team can make him useless in any game.
He Will Likely Face UCONN
UCONN is, by far, not having a good season.
Their record of 8-10 in the Big East has them with their lowest finish in years and their inclusion into the tournament is more name recognition than anything.
But they should beat Iowa State in the first round to set up a showdown against Kentucky.
They are well coached by Jim Calhoun and full of young, energetic players.
The kind that, if they get on a hot streak, can really do some damage in the tournament.
They also have a big strong man in the middle, Freshman Andre Drummond.
Though he does not have the skill and talent of Davis, at 270 pounds, he can be a load to handle in the interior.
By him just putting his weight on Davis, he could really go a long way in exhausting him down the stretch.
It is not the stiffest competition Davis has faced, but with the added pressure of the tournament stakes, it could become too much for the youngster.
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