Kentucky vs. Kansas: Live Analysis of 2012 NBA Draft Prospects in Tonight's Game
With Kentucky and Kansas squaring off tonight for a chance to be crowned the top dog in college basketball, we fans have quite a treat in store for us. Not only do we get to see two superb teams play with it all on the line, but we also get to witness no fewer than nine standout NBA prospects doing their thing on the biggest stage in the sport.
Lining up for the Wildcats, we've got six future NBA players in the form of Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Terrence Jones, Marquis Teague, Doron Lamb and Darius Miller.
From the Jayhawks, future NBA ballers include Thomas Robinson, Jeff Withey and Tyshawn Taylor. To see where they all fit into the draft picture right now, check out my latest mock draft, but remember that tonight's inevitable standout performances may shift it around.
Check back at tipoff at 9:23 PM ET for live analysis of these prospects' performances, including halftime and postgame grades for all nine.
Anthony Davis: 1-10 field goals, 4-6 free throws, 6 points, 16 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals, 6 blocks, 3 turnovers
The fact that I'm considering The Unibrow the player of the game despite a 1-of-10 shooting performance from the field should speak volumes. He tied Joakim Noah's record with six blocks and altered at least a half-dozen more.
On offense, his passing ability really helped out his teammates as well. So despite the 1-of-10...
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist: 4-7 field goals, 3-4 free throws, 6 rebounds, 1 assist, 0 steals, 1 block, 1 turnover
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist slowed down in the second half, but he was still active in all facets of the game.
His defensive ability was on display all night, particularly when he was quick and athletic enough to block Tyshawn Taylor's layup attempt after getting beat on the cut.
Doron Lamb: 7-12 field goals, 5-6 free throws, 22 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists, 0 steals, 0 blocks, 1 turnover
The two three-pointers that Doron Lamb hit in a span of 38 seconds proved to be crucial as the Wildcats extended their lead in a tough second half.
Lamb had the quietest 22 points you'll ever see in a championship game.
Marquis Teague: 5-14 field goals, 2-3 free throws, 14 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists, 0 steals, 0 blocks, 2 turnovers
The point guard for the Kentucky Wildcats was supposed to be the weak link. But he hit big shot after big shot, including the dagger from the top of the key, while he really limited his turnovers.
Darius Miller: 2-5 field goals, 0-0 free throws, 5 points, 6 rebounds, 0 assists, 0 steals, 2 blocks, 2 turnovers
I expected Darius Miller to have a big game and feed of the size mismatches he creates, but he wasn't all that involved in this game, particularly on the offensive end.
The senior's one saving grace during the first half was his six-rebound total, but he didn't add any in the second half.
Terrence Jones: 4-7 field goals, 1-2 free throws, 9 points, 7 rebounds, 0 assists, 1 steal, 2 blocks, 2 turnovers
Terrence Jones decided to make good but not great Terrence show up tonight.
He contributed across the board and made some nice hustle plays, but he failed to truly stand out.
Thomas Robinson: 6-17 field goals, 6-7 free throws, 18 points, 17 rebounds, 1 assist, 0 steals, 0 blocks, 1 turnover
Thomas Robinson overcame a tough first half and stepped up his game during the final 20 minutes of the championship game.
He played his heart out and there was never a play when he didn't exert himself with all-out effort. More than any numbers, I'm impressed with his athleticism, quickness and desire.
Tyshawn Taylor: 8-17 field goals, 2-3 free throws, 19 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, 0 blocks, 5 turnovers
Tyshawn Taylor had some sensational stretches coupled with boneheaded plays during the second half. He can have runs like his six-straight points (detailed below) and follow it up by overpenetrating and kicking the ball out to empty space.
The point guard's quickness was quite evident and he most likely kept his draft stock just north of the No. 20 pick.
Jeff Withey: 2-8 field goals, 1-1 free throws, 5 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals, 4 blocks, 1 turnover
How often do you have four blocks and not have the game-high total?
Jeff WIthey may have struggled on offense, but his defense was incredible. He was the main reason that Anthony Davis struggled from the field for what seemed like the first time all year.
I've said it before and I'll say it again: this seven-footer is more than a shot-blocker on defense.
Tremendous recover by Michael Kidd-Gilchrist to get the block after Tyshawn Taylor killed him on the cut.
That play that resulted in a foul on Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was a perfect example of Anthony Davis' weakness on defense.
The Unibrow was so intent on getting a block that he charged out to the three-point line to challenge a jumper and left Jeff Withey wide open on a cut to the basket. MKG had to foul to prevent an easy layup.
And there's Bad Tyshawn. Too much overpenetration.
Please don't ever call Anthony Davis "A.D." again. That is not creative at all.
Tyshawn Taylor is taking over!
First, he hit a three-pointer from the top of the key over the outstretched abnormally-long arms of Anthony Davis and then he made a tough layup and completed the three-point play at the line. That's six straight points to cut the deficit to single digits for the first time in forever.
Exactly what you want from your senior leader.
DAVIS MADE A SHOT
No one has played harder in this game than Thomas Robinson. For what it's worth.
Jeff WIthey has completely shut down Anthony Davis today. Really impressed with his defensive ability in the post. The seven-footer is way more than just a shot-blocker.
How dangerous would the Chicago Bulls be next year if they could add Doron Lamb during the draft?
They're a shooting guard away from being the unquestioned favorites for the 2013 NBA title and Lamb fits perfectly with the Chicago system. He's a pure scorer who doesn't need the ball in his hands to do damage.
Doron Lamb is a great shooter and these Wildcats are so incredibly unselfish.
Another nice exchange as Darius Miller shows off his size and elevation abilities before Tyshawn Taylor blazes down the court for the response.
Another great hustle play by Thomas Robinson. He beat everyone down the court and established great position deep in the paint against Terrence Jones, forcing the Kentucky forward to pick up his third foul.
Don't look now, but the margin is down to only 10 points,
Jeff Withey has been a really solid defensive presence in the second half even though he hasn't added a third block yet.
More observations from the sidelines: "whichever nba team gets thomas robinson is going to be rewarded nicely. i like what i see from him"
I really couldn't agree more. T-Rob and Anthony Davis are having impressive games despite not scoring.
Robinson in particular has struggled from the field so far, but he's still making a number of good moves in all facets of the game.
Elijah Johnson may not have made that put-back dunk, but it still looked really good. Even better than Terrence Jone's made dunk on the other end.
I haven't been able to verify it, but Anthony Davis just topped A.J. Bramlett's record for most blocked shots in a championship game. He had four back in 1997.
Anthony Davis' arms are made out of slinkies.
One more grade:
Johnny Depp: 8 commercials, 0 redeeming value
Seriously, can't this guy pick better roles than more Tim Burton movies?
That girl is right Johnny, you do look a little bit weird in those commercials.
Anthony Davis: 0-4 field goals, 0-0 free throws, 0 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal, 3 blocks, 1 turnover
Has any player ever had a more productive half in a championship game without making a mark on the scoreboard? The Unibrow has been sensational on the glass and swatted or altered a ton of shots while making good passes on the offensive end.
His one turnover came on a questionable charge call and the only knock thus far has been his early tendency to force up shots, perhaps letting the stage get to him a little bit.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist: 4-5 field goals, 3-4 free throws, 11 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 0 steals, 0 blocks, 0 turnovers
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has been absolutely sensational and has already made up for his letdown against Louisville.
The talented small forward may be firmly elevating his stock to No. 2 with the constant displays of ridiculous strength and athleticism. Not too many players can go from nearly tripping to finishing at the rim while surrounded by Thomas Robinson and Jeff Withey. Plus, he even hit a jump shot!
Terrence Jones: 3-5 field goals, 0-0 free throws, 6 points, 2 rebounds, 0 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, 1 turnover
As per usual, Terrence Jones has contributed across the board, but he's seemed to be more of a supporting cast member than a future lottery pick. To be fair, that could be because of the sensational first halves for some of his teammates.
The biggest news for Jones in the first half was how he avoided what could have been an ugly ankle injury on a fast break opportunity when he collapsed for what originally seemed to be no reason.
Darius Miller: 1-2 field goals, 0-0 free throws, 3 points, 6 rebounds, 0 assists, 0 steals, 1 block, 2 turnovers
The first man off the bench, Darius MIller hasn't had much of a chance to make an impact on the offensive end of the court, but he's been tenacious on the glass thus far.
Expect for Miller to knock down at least one more three-pointer while utilizing his excellent size advantage.
Marquis Teague: 4-8 field goals, 0-0 free throws, 9 points, 0 rebounds, 2 assists, 0 steals, 0 blocks, 0 turnovers
I'm most impressed with Marquis Teague's big fat zero in the turnover column of the box score. That's something he's struggled with all year but he's keeping a good handle on the ball while still pushing the pace.
Teague has blown by the defense numerous times during this game so far and has shown a fearlessness around the basket, particularly when he challenged Jeff Withey and finished with a sensational reverse layup.
Doron Lamb: 4-6 field goals, 3-4 free throws, 12 points, 1 rebound, 2 assists, 0 steals, 0 blocks, 1 turnover
Doron Lamb is the leading scorer in the game so far, but it doesn't seem like he's had that large a role. It's a true testament to the smoothness of his game.
Lamb has been efficient in every area, he's just not as glamorous as some of the other guys on this Kentucky squad.
Thomas Robinson: 3-11 field goals, 2-3 free throws, 8 points, 6 rebounds, 0 assists, 0 steals, 0 blocks, 0 turnovers
Thomas Robinson has disappeared during stretches of this game and he's truly struggled from the field against the terrific defensive frontcourt of the Kentucky Wildcats.
True to his nature though, he's worked his butt off and picked up some slack on the glass with his six rebounds. He also had one excellent driving layup from the right wing that showed off his athleticism and quickness.
From a statistical standpoint, Robinson has been pretty bad so far, but he's shown quite a few good things as well from a scouting perspective.
Jeff Withey: 2-6 field goals, 1-1 free throws, 5 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals, 2 blocks, 1 turnover
Even though he's struggled from the field as well, I've been impressed with Jeff Withey so far.
He's been a presence on both ends of the court and seems particularly hell-bent on asserting himself against the Wildcat defense. That just hasn't worked yet.
Tyshawn Taylor: 4-8 field goals, 0-0 free throws, 8 points, 1 rebound, 2 assists, 0 steals, 0 blocks, 2 turnovers
Tyshawn Taylor has been the most explosive player for the Kansas Jayhawks so far and he went into the locker room tied with Thomas Robinson for the high-scorer on this team.
This game has been fairly typical for the senior point guard. He's driven the ball well and created a number of shots for himself, but he has also been a bit too reckless at times.
This just in: unibrows can cause problems with contacts.
Anybody else felt like Thomas Robinson hasn't had any sort of presence in this game?
I really do love the way that Tyshawn Taylor plays the game. Even though he's projected to go in the 20s, I fully expect for him to become a solid guard at the NBA level.
He plays with reckless abandon and that can be both a good and bad thing. But the guy is an absolutely fearless basketball player with an incredible ability to penetrate into the lane.
Has any player in NCAA Championship Game history ever made a bigger impact during the first 15 minutes of a game without scoring than Anthony Davis has so far?
Interesting observation from a friend: "how long before anthony davis shaves his unibrow? I hope he keeps it forever like a cartoon character. #TEAMUNIBROW"
Do we actually think he'll ever shave that wonderful monstrosity off? Seriously though, Anthony Davis no longer has a unibrow. That unibrow has an Anthony Davis.
If he shaved it, he'd not only lose his superpowers, but he'd also lose his identity. When your mom wears a mock unibrow to your game, you aren't allowed to shave/pluck/burn/whatever it.
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