Tale Of The Tape For The NCAA Title: Anthony Davis Vs. Thomas Robinson

04.02.12 5 years ago
Thomas Robinson

Thomas Robinson (photo. Jeff Jacobsen/Kansas Athletics)

There’s a little game tonight in New Orleans for the NCAA men’s hoops title. Two big men will have a large say in its final.

Unless you’ve been in a hoops-less cave since October, you know it’s Kentucky’s Anthony Davis and Kansas’ Thomas Robinson we’re talking about. The king of the block against the guy who we’re pretty sure has a master’s degree in alley-oops. Actually, it’s not just us talking — Davis has won the Wooden Award, Naishmith Award and the AP’s player of the year while Robinson was the only unanimous AP All-American. The hype has been fulfilled, and that’s a sentiment that too often isn’t the case with players expected to be dominant.

That’s one of the many ways to describe the freshman (Davis gets 14 points, 10.2 boards and 4.6 blocks per game) and the junior (Robinson gets 17.7 points and 11.7 boards). You have to truly watch these guys to understand why five months after these teams met in Madison Square Garden in November, it’s perfect to watch them go at it for the championship. In a matchup of the two winningest teams of NCAA hoops history, it’s one of the better big man faceoffs in years. Here’s how Davis and Robinson’s best highlights square off.

Davis is the shot blocks national leader with 180, which dwarfs Robinson’s 36 this season. Yet they’ve each contributed two of the defining stuffs of the season. Whose was better?

Robinson stopped Missouri’s Phil Pressey with a huge, literal game-saving block at the Phog right before the Big 12 Tournament. Last possession against one of the best drivers in college this season.
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Davis’ block victim was North Carolina’s John Henson, back in December. Carolina was down one and stayed that way after Davis made up about 10 feet in one bound, blocking a game-winning attempt.

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When Kansas played Baylor it was one of the best games of pure athletes this year. So in a group with Tyshawn Taylor, Deuce Bello, Perry Jones III and Quincy Acy, Robinson went silly with this feed from Taylor.

You probably remember this from Saturday; I can’t forget it, at least. Davis has two pretty oops caught in the flow of the halfcourt game, which serve as reminders that yes, a defense can lose a 7-footer at times.

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These dunks these guys created on their own. I like this one for the Oklahoma connection. Robinson, you see, is the first unanimous AP All-American since Blake Griffin in 2009. Just as Griff used to roam the plains dunking on everything, Robinson paid the favor back against the Sooners from outside the circle.

Yes, this one topped a win against — Kansas. This was the meeting in MSG in November, one finally declared o-va like Vince Carter on a dunk by Davis after catching a pass baseline.

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Show me one person who doesn’t love putback slams and I’ll show you a liar. Davis came up with his share of how-did-he-get-there? putbacks this season and this one has to, actually must, be at the top. It was against Georgia, but Davis seemingly ran in all the way from Georgia to put it down.

Robinson’s had good putbacks, too, but I vote for his dunk on Duke at the Maui Invitational during Thanksgiving as one of his best all season.

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Finally, these didn’t happen in the context of a game, but they’re awesome. Davis, in September, took on a Wildcat fan at an annual fan campout before practices began. There’s the requisite “I know I can’t handle you but I’ll try” joking by the student before Davis gets down to business. I love how he tries to self-deprecate while Davis just stares his down afterward. It’s, um, impressive.

Robinson’s best highlight isn’t from hoops at all. He gained national notoriety when, as a sophomore, his grandmother and grandfather died in three weeks. Five days after his grandfather died, Robinson’s mother died. He took in his sister, Jayla, and turned tragedy into a chance for a title tonight.

Will Kentucky or Kansas win tonight?

Follow Andrew on Twitter at @AndrewGreif.

Follow Dime on Twitter at @DimeMag.

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