Kentucky vs Louisville: Breaking Down the Biggest Impact Players in Final Four

Jessica MarieCorrespondent IIMarch 27, 2012

ATLANTA, GA - MARCH 25:  Anthony Davis #23 of the Kentucky Wildcats cuts down the net after they defeated the Baylor Bears 82 to 70 during the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball South Regional Final at the Georgia Dome on March 25, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

When you look at the caliber of talent on this year's Final Four squads, it's not difficult to see how these teams got to where they are.

When you look at Kentucky and Louisville, however, it's clear that the talent level is vastly different.

That's not surprising, given John Calipari's magical ways when it comes to recruiting (ehem), and it's even more of a testament to Rick Pitino for populating his roster with impact players who have flown under the radar, to some degree.

Or maybe it's strategy.

Thad Matta, head coach of Final Four-bound Ohio State, told the Associated Press' Eddie Pells that coaching a team chock full of talent can be trying:

A lot of coaches would agree that, at times, coaching teams with a ton of talent is probably more difficult because you're constantly trying to get the maximum out of them. It's so much easier to get to the top than stay at the top. A lot of times when you have a team that's loaded, you fight a lot more adversity on the outside than when you're scraping to get to the top.

Whether or not underdog Louisville or stacked Kentucky will have the advantage next weekend remains to be seen, but they both have players that are capable of taking over the game. Here's a look at them:

Anthony Davis, F, Kentucky

Davis is an All-American freshman who, should he leave the Wildcats at the end of this season, could be the first overall selection in the NBA Draft. This year, he averaged 14.3 points, 10.1 rebounds and 4.6 blocks in 31.7 minutes per game, shooting .633 from the field. He had a scary moment in the Elite Eight against Baylor when he collided with Perry Jones III, suffering a knee contusion—but his refusal to stay off the bench is a testament to the kind of player he is. He finished the game with 18 points, 11 rebounds and six blocks.

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, F, Kentucky

Also slated to be a top pick in this year's NBA Draft if he leaves Kentucky (and sources say he will), the freshman averaged 12.0 points, 7.6 rebounds (second on the team) and 1.9 assists this season. Against Indiana in the Sweet 16, he took over the game, leading the Wildcats with 24 points and adding 10 rebounds in a 102-90 victory over one of the two teams that beat them this year.

Peyton Siva, G, Louisville

Though the Cardinals don't have a member of the AP first team or a projected first-round lottery pick in this year's draft, this junior is a crucial presence running the floor for Louisville, leading the team with 5.5 assists per game. Though he's had issues with foul trouble in this year's tournament, he tallied nine points, eight assists, a steal, two rebounds and just one turnover in a thrilling 72-68 win over Florida in the Elite Eight.

Chane Behanan, F, Louisville

The freshman flew under the radar until Saturday's win over Florida, when he took over after Peyton Siva fouled out. He hit the go-ahead basket with just over a minute remaining in that matchup and finished the night with 14 points, seven boards, two blocks and a steal. He was the team's second-leading rebounder this season with 7.4 per game.