Originally written on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 2/27/12

(Photo by www2.ljworld.com)

The race for National Player of the Year in college basketball has clearly become a two man race based on the performances this past weekend by Kentucky’s Anthony Davis and Kansas’ Thomas Robinson.  Anthony Davis hit big shot after big shot as the shot clock expired in the Wildcats’ 83-74 victory over Vanderbilt, while Robinson was instrumental with an “and one” to tie the game, and a game saving block, to send his team to an eventual victorious overtime against #3 ranked Missouri on Saturday.  Based on season averages alone, there is no clear winner.  Robinson is averaging 17.8 points, 11.9 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.1 steals and 1.1 blocks per game.  Davis is averaging 14.3 points, 9.8 rebounds, an astounding 4.8 blocks, .9 assists and 1.5 steals a game.  Davis’ numbers don’t do justice because he can affect an opponents’ offense like no one in recent history, and Robinson’s accomplishments seem more impressive because he affects an opponents defense unlike Davis does at Kentucky.  Robinson is the primary concern of every defense that he plays against and often scores and rebounds out of double and triple teams.  But, until the “eye test” can be more scientifically graded, numbers must be taken into account.  To more fairly evaluate the numbers, we must look at who each of these unbelievable players got these numbers against.  Kentucky has played against 4 ranked teams and have a SOS of 56, while Kansas has played 8 Top 25 teams and have the second toughest SOS, according to KenPom.

In the 4 games that Davis played in, his numbers were impressive averaging 13.75 pts, 7.75 reb, and 4.75 blks
#11 Kansas 14 pts,  6 reb, 7 blks
#5   UNC        7 pts,  9 reb, 2 blks
#4  UL          18 pts, 10 reb, 4 blks
#7 FLA         16 pts,   6 reb, 4 blks

In the 8 games that Robinson played against Top 25 teams, he averaged 19.75 pts, 12.25 reb, and .75 blks
#2 UK          11 pts, 12 reb, 1 blk
#6 Duke      16 pts, 15 reb, 1 blk
#2 OSU        21 pts,  7 reb, 0 blk
#22 KSU     15 pts, 14 reb, 1 blk
#3 Baylor  27 pts, 14 reb, 1 blk
#4 Mizz      25 pts, 13 reb, 0 blk
#6 Baylor 15 pts, 11 reb,  1 blk
#3 Mizz     28 pts, 12 reb, 1 blk

Robinson has more impressive numbers against the better competition, and is probably the more valuable player to his team, but Davis’ presence on the defensive end cannot be discounted.  So, even with looking at the numbers in depth, little has been proven, and this may be a situation where the two will share the award.  Here is your chance to tell us who you believe will ultimately win National Player of the Year in 2012.  Write your pick and why you believe they will be NPOY in the comments section below.

Follow me on twitter:  https://twitter.com/#!/isportswebchris

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