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Tuesday, March 6, 2012
National POY Straw Poll: The final tally

By Mike Rothstein

Robinson/Davis
Kentucky's Anthony Davis, left, and Kansas' Thomas Robinson remain locked in a virtual dead heat for player of the year honors.
With ballots already due or with deadlines within the next week, the National Player of the Year race remains way too close to call.

Kentucky freshman forward Anthony Davis and Kansas junior Thomas Robinson are still in a virtual tie in the final ESPN.com Player of the Year poll. Robinson led the first three straw polls and was overtaken in the fourth by Davis.

The latter increased his lead -- barely -- in the final poll, which is composed of actual POY voters. After a three-point lead in last week’s vote, Davis now leads Robinson by seven points, 134-127.

The rules for the poll are a first-place vote gets three points, a second-place vote gets two points and a third-place vote gets one vote.

Davis and Robinson, who were named on all 53 ballots received for the final poll, are separated by nine first-place votes. But considering there are four different awards that have four different due dates, it still means there is a better-than-decent chance there is either a split in Player of the Year awards or the award is shared in some instances.

The Robertson ballots were due Sunday. The Naismith is due Friday and Associated Press this coming Sunday. The Wooden ballots are due following the first weekend of the NCAA tournament.

In 2002-03, there was a split award when Xavier’s David West won the Robertson and Associated Press Player of the Year awards and Texas guard T.J. Ford won the Naismith and Wooden.

The Naismith and Wooden awards haven’t been split since 1994-95, when Maryland’s Joe Smith won the Naismith and AP and UCLA’s Ed O’Bannon won the Wooden and Robertson. The only time a major award was shared was in 2005-06, when Gonzaga’s Adam Morrison and Duke’s J.J. Redick shared the Robertson Award.

So depending what happens over the next two weeks, there still could be enough fluctuation for ballots to change.

That said, here’s a look at the 53 ballots that comprise the closest POY race in recent memory:


Poll Analysis:

-- Davis continued inching ahead of Robinson, but not by much. Green solidified himself in the No. 3 position and the Big Ten Player of the Year is a likely All-American.

-- The final poll had a season-low nine players listed. Those nine players were from six conferences -- ACC, Big East, Big 12, Big Ten, Missouri Valley and SEC. One team, Kentucky, had two players mentioned on the final ballot.

-- This ballot was the first all season that did not have a single guard listed.

-- Six players from the fourth ballot dropped off before the final one -- Murray State guard Isaiah Canaan, Marquette guard Darius Johnson-Odom, UNLV forward Mike Moser, Duke guard Austin Rivers, Iona guard Scott Machado and Missouri guard Marcus Denmon. Two players, Kidd-Gilchrist and Jones, made a return to the final ballot after falling off prior ones.

-- The top five vote-getters in the final poll were listed on every poll this season and were the top five vote-getters in the past two polls.