NCAA Championship 2012: Kentucky v. Kansas

University of Kentucky head coach John Calipari talks with Kyle Wiltjer (33) during the second half of play against the University of Chattanooga in their NCAA basketball game at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky, December 17, 2011. REUTERS/John Sommers II (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)

      

By James Blackburn

Kentucky wins 67- 59
Starters
Kentucky: Terrence Jones, Michael Kidd- Gilchrist, Anthony Davis, Doron Lamb, Marquis Teague
Kansas: Thomas Robinson, Jeff Withey, Tyshawn Taylor, Elijah Johnson, Travis Releford

Game Notes/ Thoughts

1st Half
Kansas wins the jump
Taylor with the first basket of the game with a driving lay-in- great sign for Kansas to get him started off well.
Withey, probably the second best shot blocker in the nation, with an early block on T. Jones that sent a statement.
MKG goes down awkwardly on a hard foul on Kansas in first minute and half- got up and knocked in his first FT.
Kansas better figure out a way to stop Kentucky in transition or its going to be a long night for the Jayhawks.
Teague starting to get hot.
Jones is letting Robinson establish way too deep position multiple times.
Fast pace for both teams- looking for a break in the action.
The officials are letting them play this game- physical play both ways.
Withey answers a 14-4 run by UK with 3-point way.
Kentucky is finishing with scores in the lane and Kansas is not- UK with the 23- 14 lead with 10 minutes left.
Kansas must improve its help defense- no one is helping but Withey.
This game might become a blowout if Kansas can’t get to 35 points by half.
Kentucky is starting to heat up from the 3 point line- bad news for Kansas.
Kansas is clearly frustrated- UK winning the rebound battle big- UK is giving up anything easy.
Good finish to the half for Kansas but heads into the break down 14.

2nd Half
Sloppy start to the second half for both teams.
Kansas is settling offensively- not converting inside- missing opportunities.
TO’s are starting to hurt Kansas.
Freshman mistakes are hurting UK- KU only down 10.
UK hitting the 3- pushing the lead back to 16.
Back to back 3 point plays for KU after the block on Davis. Taylor has played a solid game and has kept Kansas in the game. Kansas down 7 – pressure on Kentucky- how will the freshman handle this?
A huge 3 for Teague- thought it sealed it till Kansas hit a 3 to answer.
UK is looking shaky- Did the officials miss the walk?
That’s twice now that Kansas has turned the ball over in the end, once without even getting a shot- cant do that and expect to win.
Too much time spent on last possession and then the walk….Game over.
Kentucky wins 67-59

Scouting Reports

Thomas Robinson (6’10”, F, Junior, Kansas)

Strengths

Established deep post position several times tonight- very strong player- defensive rebounder- rebounds the ball hard. Showed a high release and good footwork on an early 1 dribble pull-up from top of key. Takes the ball up strong with 2 hands. Showed solid post footwork and a nice hook shot. Good P/R player. Nice FT stroke- flicks wrist, good rotation. Has a solid base and good body control in air. Beast in the paint- fights for rebounds and positioning. Clutch- wants the ball in crunch time- knocked down 2 huge FT’s with a minute and a half to go to pull with in 5.

Weaknesses

Slow lateral movement guarding perimeter- struggled to stay in front of Jones. Even though he was getting very deep in the post- struggled to finish because of lack of athleticism and length. Glued to man on the defensive end- needs to improve defensive positioning and shot blocking. Gets in a hurry when performing his post moves and doesn’t finish like he should- rushes. Has a tendency to pick up cheap fouls.

Overview

Struggled for the most part this game. Matched up with Terrence Jones on each end tonight and struggled to guard and score throughout. Physically he is ready for the pounding and grind of an 82- game NBA season, but he is a tweener position wise. Not long or athletic enough to play the center position- cant guard or score over a taller and stronger player- and is not quick enough to guard a PF away from the rim. I saw glimpses tonight of perimeter offensive play, but for the most part he likes to bully his way inside for easy scores. Plays hard and competes throughout the game. Could be a player similar to a DeJuan Blair for San Antonio or a Glenn Davis- a player who can step out and hit the midrange jump shot and is strong enough to play inside. He should be a top 10 pick in the upcoming draft- will be a solid role player for a long time in the L.

Anthony Davis (6’10”, F, Freshman, Kentucky)

Strengths

Extremely long and athletic. Tremendous rebounder- rebounds ball with 2 hands and at rim level or above. Excellent weak side shot blocker- good timing- keeps the ball in play and creates transition opportunities for team. Does a great job with the dribble hand-off. Influences shots he doesn’t block. Active on the offensive glass. Loves to go baseline on offensive end in the post. Has the ability to face the basket and make a move, whether it be the up and under or the hook shot- still could stand to improve offensively- shows the ability to be a solid offensive player. Nice shooting stroke out to about 18’. Very good body language- stoic facial expression.

Weaknesses

Will need to work on shading out on screens- didn’t see him do it this game. Must get stronger in the upper body- got the ball taken from him on a couple of rebounds b/c of lack of strength. Struggled offensively- had a handful of solid offensive possessions and moves, but otherwise struggled with balance and finishing.

Overview

Well played game tonight for Davis, who solidified his rank as the number 1 pick in the upcoming NBA draft. Even though he struggled to score tonight- he was still a threat and drew players away from the help side to keep a body on him and to keep him from catching lobs and tipping in missed shots. He makes a difference even when is not scoring- draws so much attention. A player that coaches have to change and make new game plans because of him. He is active on the glass on both ends and is unselfish and plays team basketball. Game changer on the defensive end- blocks shots and alters those he does not block. It is tough to compare his game to an NBA player- DeAndre Jordan might be the best comparison as a player who makes a difference on both ends. Other shot blockers do not have the offensive repertoire that Davis has. He will need to add another 30 lbs. or so to his frame and once he does he will be an All-Star player for years to come.

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