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January 19, 2012

01/19/2012 - 3:37pm

A short week ago, I said I believed that Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was the best freshman at the nation at the halfway mark. Since than, Kentucky's other player in the running for the award, Anthony Davis, has already re-taken the lead. After an incredible 27 point and 14 rebound performance against Arkansas, Davis has leapt over the freshman wall with a vengeance. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist still is a fantastic freshman, but Anthony Davis has been a menace in SEC play and has rightfully moved to the top of my (and I am sure many others) rankings of the top first year guys in the nation.

Davis' most recent accomplishment was breaking the Wildcats record for blocked shots. Mind you, there is still more than half a season left to play! Davis is averaging 4.7 bpg, enough to claim the nations lead in swats. His 89 blocks would be 35th in the nation, that is if he formed Anthony Davis University. On top of his incredible defensive acumen, Davis is averaging 13.8 ppg and 10.4 rpg, while shooting a fantastic 65.8% FG moving up to 70% FT as well. The way Davis is playing, expect the argument of who the first pick in the draft to rage on and for packs of Davis believers to be as united as his eyebrow(s).

01/19/2012 - 3:17pm

After his massive showing against Baylor yesterday, it seems like Thomas Robinson has separated himself from the pack in the NCAA National Player of the Year race. Kansas lost twins Marcus and Markieff Morris to the NBA and had a number of key freshmen denied eligibility by the NCAA. Still, led by the powerful PF Robinson, they have remained one of the best teams in the nation and have gotten off to a 5-0 start to possibly win their eighth straight Big 12 title.

My pre-season NPOY was Jared Sullinger, who is still a strong candidate, but I think Robinson is taking the lead. We still have quite a bit of season left, but Sullinger will have to really wow voters to surpass what Robinson has done. Sullinger has better shooting percentages than Robinson and is averaging 17.3 ppg and 9.3 rpg for a 16-3 Ohio State squad, but the fact that he suffered through early season injuries definitely hurts him for the award. If he had been able to play in Ohio State's match-up with Kansas, than it might be a different story. Instead, Sullinger sat and Robinson put up another marquee performance in a Jayhawks win.

Right now, in this CBS Sports write-up, Robinson is the leader and Sullinger is in third. Runner-up right now is a mid-major putting up high major numbers in Creighton's Doug McDermott. Only a sophomore, McDermott has already topped the 1,000 point mark in his college career and has Creighton at 16-2 on the year. He is the nations 2nd leading scorer at 24.3 ppg while shooting an incredible 62% FG, 53% 3PT and 84.4% FT. The coaches son also averages 8.5 rpg for good measure. North Carolina's John Henson and Kentucky freshmen Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist round out the top 6 in this POY list.

01/19/2012 - 2:05pm

It was a huge contest at Allen Fieldhouse on Martin Luther King Jr. Monday as two top 10 Big 12 rivals were on display. Baylor had won their first 17 contests and wanted to make a statement that they were amongst the elite by keep a perfect record with a major road victory over Kansas. Tyshawn Taylor and Thomas Robinson both had huge performances to make sure Kansas kept the inside track for an eighth straight conference title in a 92-74 beatdown.

This was a night where Tyshawn Taylor, a senior guard who has struggled with ball control and consistency, had a career performance. He scored 11 points and assisted on the only other bucket during a 13-0 run that gave Kansas a 39-29 lead going into the half. Taylor scored a career high 28 points and dished out 6 assists, using his lightning speed to outduel Baylor's guards.

Meanwhile, junior PF Thomas Robinson provided the thunder of the duo. Robinson is one of the more physically impressive players in college basketball and used this to control the paint on his way to a 27 point and 14 rebound performance. Considered a fringe lottery to mid-first round prospect had he entered the draft last year, he is now turning scouts heads with one of the best seasons of anyone currently in college basketball. Averaging 17.8 ppg and currently the nations runner-up with 12.3 rpg, Robinson has proven himself as a leader of this Jayhawks team.

Baylor, who has two likely lottery picks on their roster, was dominated by Kansas' strength and physicality. Their star player Perry Jones III had 18 points while top freshman Quincy Miller added 17, but they were outrebounded by the Jayhawks 36-21. Kansas center Jeff Withey had 9 offensive rebounds to finish with a double-double of his own, as this game will undoubtedly lead to questions about Baylor as a possible NCAA Tournament contender. The Bear's spark plug, guard Pierre Jackson had 11 points and 11 assists, but Kansas made a major statement in this definitive win.