Anthony Davis

March 23, 2012 by staff 

Anthony DavisThe odds makers do not pick Indiana, but they do not know what the Hoosiers do — that in this resurrection season, picking against them just fuels their fire. Will that be enough in Friday night’s rematch with top-seeded Kentucky, with a possible game against the winner between third-seeded Baylor (29-7) and 10th-seeded Xavier (23-12) on Sunday?

Perhaps. “We don’t want to stop playing,” forward Derek Elston says. “We’re planning on two wins — Friday and Sunday. We’re planning on getting to the Final Four. We want to win both games. We’re going to lay it on the line.”

Kentucky is listed as a nine-point favorite in this South Regional Sweet Sixteen matchup in Atlanta. That reflects its 34-2 record and future-pros-loaded lineup. In this view, the Wildcats’ December 73-72 loss at Indiana is more motivation than indication.

No matter, Elston says. No one expected the fourth-seeded Hoosiers (27-8) to make a 15-win turnaround and return to the Sweet Sixteen level for the first time since 2002.

What they’ve really done is earn another shot at college basketball’s most fearsome shot blocker. Freshman Anthony Davis, a 6-10, 220-pound national player of the year winner, roams all over the court blocking shots. His 166 blocks lead the nation, and while he’s unlikely to break the national record of 207, set in 1986 by Navy’s David Robinson, that doesn’t make IU’s job any easier.

“The numbers he puts up are amazing,” Elston says, “but it’s nothing to get worried about or anxious about.”

So how do you beat a shot blocker of this magnitude?

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