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The game within a game: Blocked shots by Davis, Withey

NCAA Men's Championship Game - Kansas v Kentucky

NEW ORLEANS, LA - APRIL 02: Thomas Robinson #0 of the Kansas Jayhawks goes up for a shot against Terrence Jones #3 and Anthony Davis #23 of the Kentucky Wildcats in the first half in the National Championship Game of the 2012 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on April 2, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

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Blocked shots. Swats. Rejections. Whatever you call them, this game featured a lot. Kentucky blocked 11 shots. Kansas blocked 5. And there were definitely a few that went uncredited.

But everyone knew that this game would feature blocks. Anthony Davis blocks 13.8% of the shots when he’s on the floor. Jeff Withey is even better, blocking 15.4%. Predicting blocks was about as informative as predicting World Wide Wes would be hugging Kentucky players after the game.

Both Davis and Withey played defense at an elite level tonight. Mostly guarding one another, the two combined to shoot 3-18 from the floor.

Though with blocked shots it’s not always the ones credited in the box scores that deserve all the attention. It also matters which team does a better job altering shots - not simply playing good defense - but causing players to completely change the arc of their shot midway through the course of taking it. Both the Kentucky and Kansas gameplan featured players attacking off the dribble, which gives chances for opportunistic shots blockers like Davis and Withey.

And in that battle, Davis was better than Withey.

Withey played 32 minutes. Davis played 36. Withey blocked four shots. Davis blocked six. But when it comes to altering shots, Davis was the champ. By my count he caused Kansas players to alter their shots eight times that didn’t result in blocks. Kansas attempted 62 shots, which means Davis affected 23 percent of those attempts

Withey? Just three shot alterations.

Had Withey altered more shots, it wouldn’t have changed the outcome of the game. But it would have been a lot closer.