Maryland Basketball: Can Alex Len Prove His Strong Kentucky Game Was No Fluke?

Ryan SatskyContributor IIINovember 12, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 09:  Alex Len #25 (L) of Maryland looks to drive around while being defended by Willie Cauley-Stein #15 of the Kentucky Wildcats during the Barclays Center Classic at the Barclays Center on November 9, 2012 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Jason Szenes/Getty Images)
Jason Szenes/Getty Images

If you watched Maryland's season-opening thriller against the defending national champion Kentucky Wildcats, it was nearly impossible to overlook the dazzling display of interior dominance by Maryland center Alex Len.

On the offensive end, Len continually outmatched Kentucky's lengthy, highly-touted centers Nerlens Noel and Willie Cauley-Stein and turned routine post passes into easy finishes possession after possession.

As a defender, the Ukrainian sophomore swatted four shots and held Noel, the consensus No. 1 freshman in the land, to just four points.

Despite losing the game, Maryland certainly boasted the most impressive player that night. Len's final stat line read 23 points, 12 rebounds (seven offensive), and four blocks.

Not too shabby for a player who posted modest averages of six points and five rebounds per game as a freshman.

Following such an unforgettable season debut on a national stage, Len must answer the question ringing inside the heads of not only Maryland fans, but all fans throughout the country:

Can Alex Len prove that his strong effort against No. 3 Kentucky was no fluke?

After Len's impressive showing, numerous experts raved about Len's future on Twitter, including CBS' Seth Davis and ESPN's Chad Ford.

Everyone is buying into the Len hype, and deservedly so. No player in the ACC can physically match up with the 7'1'' center.

Len, who stands taller than any starter in the conference, is more than just a large body. He can stretch the floor out to the three-point line, which is rare for someone of his height.

Len is also very coordinated for his lanky, towering frame. He runs the floor nicely and has solid hands in the post.

Neither of NC State's big men—C.J. Leslie and Richard Howell—have the height to defend Len. Miami's Reggie Johnson doesn't possess enough mobility to contain Len's versatility.

Duke's Mason Plumlee isn't strong enough to muscle with Len in the post, while North Carolina's James Michael McAdoo and Joel James haven't proven that they can guard top-notch big men just yet.

From a physical perspective, Len is unguardable. Factor in his inside-outside skill level, and you can forget about stopping him.

Len can absolutely back up his strong effort against Kentucky. If there was one team that had the pieces to slow down Len, it was Kentucky, and the Wildcats didn't even come close to containing him.

If the most difficult opponent that Len will face holds him to 23 points and 12 rebounds, then the future is looking pretty frightening for the rest of the ACC, as Maryland carries the conference's most uncontainable player.