West Virginia’s Devin Williams will have a huge game
It still won’t make a difference in the end, but Devin Williams is going to put up some great numbers against Kentucky.
Williams has to have the game of his life to make this a close affair. I think it’s going to be a lot closer than many expect, even if the outcome isn’t one anyone but Kentucky fans and gamblers might be happy about.
West Virginia manhandled Maryland with a fierce press defense which forced the Terrapins into 21 turnovers, including 8 by Dez Wells, who had been a rock upon which this team was built. Wells also struggled to find his stroke and ended the night with just 9 points.
That defense—along with 14 points off free throws—helped lead the Mountaineers to victory, and Williams’ double-double (16 points and 10 rebounds) and his size (6’9”, 255 lbs) were key components to the success.
So expect a lot of Williams Thursday night, as the Mountaineers will rely on him to use his size in the battle for rebounds, inside points and overall defense.
Williams ability to rebound will be especially important on the offensive glass, as Kentucky gives up so few open looks and quality shots that any opportunity at second-chance points is a necessity. It’s going to fall on Williams shoulders to use his size and physicality to get those second chances.
Williams is a real matchup issue for the Wildcats because while they do have taller players, only Karl-Anthony Townes is close to Williams’ size.
The problem—and the reason Williams will do well but it won’t be enough—is that Townes has been outstanding as well and if he can stick on Williams, he could slow Williams down. He could certainly limit Williams impact to just himself and keep Williams from moving the ball to teammates for better shots.
And ultimately, while West Virginia will play hard and Bob Huggins is 8-2 versus Kentucky’s coach John Calipari, that and Kentucky’s overall depth of talent will prove too much for the Mountaineers.
So, yes, Williams will have an outstanding day.
It just won’t get capped off with a huge upset and an Elite 8 berth.
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