2012 NCAA Tournament Championship Game Most Outstanding Player Award Preview: Favorites, Dark Horses and Sleepers: While the NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player Award is technically supposed to encompass the national semifinals and championship game, it has essentially become an award solely related to a player’s performance in the title game. Granted, every player on the roster for Kentucky and Kansas wants to win a national title first and foremost, but taking home the MOP Award in the process is always nice. Not to mention the fact that winning the award almost certainly means winning the game. In one game to decide it all, any player can step up and be a hero. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few favorites.
The Favorites – 2012 NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player Award Odds and Predictions
He already has the AP Player of the Year Award under his belt, and Kentucky center Anthony Davis could continue to pile up the hardware. The super freshman can impact a game in a variety of ways on both ends up the court. From finishing around the rim to blocking shots at a record-setting pace, the Wildcats are a much better team when Davis is on the court. His ability to stuff the stat sheet and take over a game defensively makes him the frontrunner for MOP honors.
After carrying the Jayhawks into the title game, forward Thomas Robinson will look to continue his strong season on the sport’s biggest stage. Robinson led the country in double-doubles this year, and he is one of the most physical post players around. From controlling the defensive glass to scoring 20-plus on a regular basis, no player is more important to Kansas’ title hopes than Robinson. If he powers the Jayhawks to an upset, Robinson will be a lock to win the MOP Award.
The Dark Horses – 2012 NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player Award Odds and Predictions
Playing in the same frontcourt as Anthony Davis can make it tough to get noticed, but at times, Kentucky forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has been the team’s best player. He is extremely athletic, and his non-stop effort allows him to pick up a ton of offensive rebounds and second-chance points. He typically provides around 15 points and eight rebounds, but he has the potential to score 20-plus points and grab 15 or more rebounds. If Kidd-Gilchrist has one of his monster games left in the tank for Monday’s title showdown, he could hustle his way to MOP honors.
Although he hasn’t been shooting his best in the NCAA tournament thus far, Kansas point guard Tyshawn Taylor has been the team’s best perimeter scorer all season. His blazing speed allows him to penetrate the lane, and he has the ability to finish at the rim or find open teammates. Taylor has yet to get on track from 3-point range, but at his best, he can easily top 20 points. Facing a talented but inexperienced Kentucky backcourt, Taylor should have the edge. If he is able to knock down some jump shots and have a big game offensively, he could walk away with the MOP Award.
Sleeper Special – 2012 NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player Award Odds and Predictions
He has deferred to the freshmen most of the year, but in the most important game of the season, Kentucky sophomore forward Terrence Jones could be the X-factor. With his size, strength and range, he is a matchup nightmare. On most nights, the only player that can stop Jones is himself and his overall lack of aggressiveness. That being said, he has the talent and ability to go for 20 points or more against any opponent. Jones has happily played second fiddle all year, but if the stage gets a little too big for his young teammates, he could rescue the Wildcats and win the MOP Award in the process.
NCAA TOURNAMENT MOST OUTSTANDING PLAYER AWARD ODDS:
Anthony Davis (Kentucky) 2/1
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (Kentucky) 5/1
Jared Sullinger (Ohio St) 6/1
Thomas Robinson (Kansas) 8/1
Desean Thomas (Ohio St) 9/1
Doron Lamb (Kentucky) 12/1
Tyshawn Taylor (Kansas) 15/1
William Buford (Ohio State) 15/1
Peyton Siva (Louisville) 18/1
Marquis Teague (Kentucky) 20/1
Gorgui Dieng (Louisville) 20/1
Terrence Jones (Kentucky) 20/1
Kyle Kuric (Louisville) 25/1
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