2012 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament logo2012 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament

Kentucky vs. Baylor: Anthony Davis and the 11 Best Players of the Matchup

Roberto PayneContributor IMarch 25, 2012

Kentucky vs. Baylor: Anthony Davis and the 11 Best Players of the Matchup

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    The Kentucky Wildcats and Baylor Bears will match up today in a battle of athletic powerhouses.

    This game will feature a surplus of NBA-level talent and could even determine how high some players like Perry Jones III are drafted in the 2012 NBA Draft.

    All of this top-flight talent should lead to a high-scoring affair full of spectacular plays.

    It was very tough to place some of these guys because of all the superior talent on the court, but read on for a power ranking of the best players in this Kentucky vs. Baylor matchup.

No. 11 Baylor Forward Quincy Miller

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    Quincy Miller has had a very nice freshman season for the Baylor Bears and is a key player on their front line.

    Miller is listed at 6'9" but his length allows him to guard players bigger than himself. It will be interesting to see who he matches up against from the Kentucky bench.

    Miller could be a surprise performer in this game, as Kentucky's defense could focus on Baylor's many other offensive threats—leaving Miller open to put up easy baskets and impact the game in a big way.

No. 10 Kentucky Guard Darius Miller

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    The Kentucky Wildcats have the luxury of bringing someone like Darius Miller off the bench. Miller could easily start for the majority of major college basketball programs, but he is instead the best sixth man in the nation for the Wildcats.

    Miller is everything coach John Calipari wants in a player. He can shoot, pass and defend—and has a non-stop motor and a great attitude.

    Miller isn't even a bench player in my book, he's more like a sixth starter for Kentucky. If Baylor doesn't pay attention to him, Miller will absolutely torch the Bears in this game.

No. 9 Baylor Guard Brady Heslip

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    Baylor's Brady Heslip truly plays into his role as shooting guard—he is one of the best three-point shooters in the country.

    Heslip has the ability to change the outcome of any game in only a couple possessions with his incredible shot from deep.

    Heslip certainly won't be forgotten by the Kentucky defense in this game. Without a doubt, Kentucky Coach John Calipari has told his team to shadow Heslip on every play—or suffer his shooting stroke as punishment.

No. 8 Kentucky Guard Marquis Teague

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    Kentucky floor general Marquis Teague is easily a top point guard in the nation and has to feed the ball to his very talented teammates every game.

    Teague had a solid performance last game against Indiana and I see him carrying that in to this huge matchup with Baylor. Teague is going to have to be at his best as Baylor point guard Pierre Jackson is also in the category of the better point guards in college basketball.

    Teague's ability to force Jackson into mistakes will be key for a Kentucky win. If he can create easy buckets off turnovers from Jackson, this Kentucky team will be tough to beat.

No. 7 Kentucky Guard Doron Lamb

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    Doron Lamb is the sharpshooter that helps keep the Kentucky offense spread, and opens lanes for slashers Terrence Jones and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.

    Lamb is often the go-to scorer for Kentucky when a three-pointer or quick shot is needed, and he rarely disappoints.

    Lamb needs to match the sharp shooting of Baylor guard Brady Heslip in order for Kentucky to keep Baylor's defense from crowding the paint.

No. 6 Baylor Guard Pierre Jackson

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    Baylor point guard Pierre Jackson is responsible for distributing the rock to all the weapons on this team, all the while looking to score for himself. Quite the responsibility if I do say so myself.

    Jackson has all the talent to matchup with Kentucky point guard Marquis Teague and even outduel Teague.

    Jackson's ability to evenly feed the ball to Perry Jones III, Quincy Acy and Brady Heslip will be key to a Baylor victory.

No. 5 Kentucky Forward Terrence Jones

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    Terrence Jones has slipped under the radar this season with the emergence of Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. But Jones is an extremely versatile player who commands the attention of opposing teams.

    Jones might not be the best player on his team or even in this game, but he could be a wild card for a Kentucky win. When he is rolling, Kentucky has the best frontcourt in the country.

    Jones will have to shut down the Baylor big men in order to give Kentucky an advantage in this game.

No. 4 Baylor Forward Quincy Acy

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    Baylor forward Quincy Acy is a classic, hard-working big man that provides big lifts for a good team.

    Acy is the lone starting senior on this Baylor squad and the glue that keeps this team together. His hard-nosed play down low on both ends helps the Bears match up against taller big men and succeed in doing so.

    Acy will do whatever it takes for his Bears to beat the Kentucky Wildcats.

No. 3 Baylor Forward Perry Jones III

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    Perry Jones III is a top-five talent in the nation, but can struggle with consistency and intensity.

    Jones III has the kind of skill set for a 6'11" big man that could make a 6'3" guard jealous. Jones III can handle the ball, rebound, score and pass with great efficiency.

    I don't even think this kid knows how good he could be if he just applied himself on every play. He was talked about being the possible No. 1 draft pick in the 2011 NBA Draft and he didn't have a strong season last year.

    Against the Kentucky Wildcats, Jones III has a great opportunity to put all these questions to rest when he matches up with Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. A focused Jones III would give Baylor a huge advantage in this game, as his length is hard to defend against.

    Jones III will be the most important Baylor player in this matchup and the key to a possible Baylor win.

No. 2 Kentucky Forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist

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    Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is one of those rare players that can do almost anything on the court. And if not for Anthony Davis, Kidd-Gilchrist would easily be the best player in this matchup.

    As the season has progressed, Kidd-Gilchrist has become a huge part of Kentucky's sustained success. He is willing to do the dirty work and a is a more-than-willing defender.

    Kidd-Gilchrist will probably get the matchup of Perry Jones III in this game and will be the most important player for Kentucky. If Kidd-Gilchrist can effectively limit the scoring opportunities of Jones III, Kentucky will be well off.

No. 1 Kentucky Forward Anthony Davis

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    Did you really expect anyone else at the top spot? Anthony Davis is the front runner for the top draft pick in the 2012 NBA Draft and is an absolutely dominant force on the court.

    Davis impacts the game on both sides of the ball with his ridiculous length and will have a huge impact on the outcome of this game.

    If he can stay out of foul trouble against Baylor's aggressive front line, Davis will lead his Kentucky Wildcats to victory.

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