Would the 2020-21 Gonzaga Bulldogs Beat The 2011-12 Anthony Davis-Led Kentucky Wildcats?

Published 04/03/2021, 4:00 PM EDT
Mar 20, 2021; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Gonzaga Bulldogs forward Corey Kispert (24) embraces guard Jalen Suggs (1) during the second half against the Norfolk State Spartans in the first round of the 2021 NCAA Tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports


The Gonzaga Bulldogs are easily the best team in the country right now. Their dominance has gone from the regular season into the March Madness tournament. They are now two wins away from finishing the season as undefeated champions. When a team is successful, comparisons with past champions always arise.

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During a recent discussion on ESPN, analysts Stephen A. Smith and Seth Greenberg compared them to the 2011-12 Anthony Davis-led Kentucky Wildcats. Greenberg said, “Anthony Davis and that Kentucky team that won the national championship. They were just different. They had four NBA players across the board.”

“But let’s not undervalue this Gonzaga team. Kispert is a first-round draft choice, Suggs should the number one pick in the draft, Timme is going to be a first-round draft choice. I think Ayayi will be second round. They’re going to have four NBA players on this team.”

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Both teams boast a talented crop of players. But who would come out on top if these two powerhouses faced each other?

Looking at the 2020-21 Gonzaga Bulldogs

The Bulldogs boast having the best offense in the country. Unlike most of the teams in today’s era, the Bulldogs focus their offense on two-pointers and scoring in the paint. But they also have capable three-point shooters, including the best college basketball shooter Corey Kispert.

In Drew Timme, they have a superb paint scorer who is also a capable rebounder. Then they have Jalen Suggs, easily one of the best guards in the country right now. He has floored everyone with his playmaking, shooting, and finishing as well. This forms their highly talented big three, who are flanked by a strong rotation.

Mar 9, 2021; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Gonzaga Bulldogs forward Corey Kispert (24), guard Julian Strawther (0), guard Jalen Suggs (1) and forward Drew Timme (2) celebrate after defeating the the BYU Cougars in the West Coast Conference Tournament championship game at Orleans Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Bulldogs‘ success has been scrutinized because they play in the WCC, but they just need two more wins to be the NCAA tournament champions, which will give them elite status.

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Looking at the 2011-12 Kentucky Wildcats

The Wildcats had no shortage of talent either.

Led by Anthony Davis, Kentucky was the best team in the country by a mile. His two-way excellence made them the best defensive team in the country while also being strong on offense. Davis became the undisputed College Player of the Year after a dominant season. He also had Doron Lamb, Terrence Jones, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist with him, combining to become a solid team.

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Here’s why the Wildcats would win

The Bulldogs pride themselves in being able to outscore anyone they face. But the Wildcats were a defensive menace. When teams entered their paint, they had to think twice before dealing with Davis, who averaged an insane 4.7 blocks that season. So if the Bulldogs main scoring option is to go through the paint, Davis would suffocate their attack.

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Timme is a good defender, but Davis would prove too dominant for him. The Brow’s performance on both ends would most likely decide this hypothetical duel. The Wildcats also have the size advantage.

The Bulldogs may have the advantage on depth and three-point shooting, but ultimately, that might not prove enough. All this points to a win for the Wildcats in this hypothetical matchup.

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Aaron Mathew

1469 articles

Aaron Mathew is a sports analyst at EssentiallySports. A graduate in Mass Media from Xavier’s College, Aaron has been a part of EssentiallySports since May 2020 where he covers both NBA and NCAA basketball news, and has also covered NBA 2K. In the past, Aaron has worked at the Sports Desk of Mumbai Mirror.

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