Busting Brackets

Donovan Clingan's double block has fans dreaming of UConn vs. Zach Edey

There's nobody like him. Well, maybe one body.
NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament - Second Round - Northwestern v UConn
NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament - Second Round - Northwestern v UConn / Elsa/GettyImages

Donovan Clingan is a very large man and exceptional college basketball player who's taken a part-time job as a Human Eraser

In Sunday night's second-round NCAA Tournament matchup between top overall seed UConn and the ninth-seeded Northwestern Wildcats, the absence of NU big man Matthew Nicholson was even more apparent than usual.

Something tells us, though, that even if the better matchup for Clingan had been available to counteract UConn's heft, it woildn't have mattered much.

There are very few people on earth who can impact a game in the paint as plainly as the 7'2" Clingan, who showed off his unique ability to fill space by swatting not one, but two consecutive attempts under the basket, then palming the basketball and starting the break as Northwestern's shot click expired.

There's almost nobody like Clingan. Well, maybe one body. And he resides on the other side of the bracket.

UConn vs. Northwestern has fans dreaming of Donovan Clingan locking horns with Zach Edey

Plenty would have to go very right for this year's bracket to deliver a UConn/Purdue matchup, putting 7'4" mammoth Zach Edey opposite Clingan in a forceful rejection-off. These two exceptional bigs have no way of locking horns prior to a hypothetical national final, one game for all the marbles.

Clingan finished the season shooting 64.6% from the floor, while Edey "paled in comparison" by converting 62% of his buckets. It's on the defensive end where both prodigious dunkers shine most, though, both averaging 2.2 blocks per game (which feels a little light).

After all, Clingan nearly matched that average in one fell swoop on Sunday.

It doesn't feel right to dismiss opponents outright after one half of basketball, but both Duke and UConn swatted away JMU and Northwestern to the point where they felt like sparring partners rather than gladiators playing the same sport.

Eight years ago, when this tournament last came to Brooklyn in 2016, Villanova shook off their late-season rust at the Barclays Center, launching a championship run. This weekend, Dan Hurley's Connecticut club looked to blaze a similar path -- one that just might lead to an all-time throwback big man matchup in a game dominated by guards and shooting prowess.