As if Kentucky wasn't hard enough to beat as is, it turns out there's an invisible force helping the Wildcats on their quest for a 40-0 season.
Karl-Anthony Towns, the 6-foot-11 freshman and a likely top-three pick in June's NBA draft, has been playing this season with an imaginary friend on his shoulder. That little man's name is Karlito, and his job is to help Towns deal with criticism.
If Towns misses a free throw, Karlito will be sure to give him an earful. If Towns is reprimanded by Kentucky coach John Calipari, Karlito will deal with the criticism so Karl can remain calm.
"He's just trying to help me," the real Towns told USA Today. "I know he loves me. He just wants the best for me. He's looking for a lot out of me. That's all it is. It's not about being mean or anything. It's about knowing he loves me so much he wants to make sure I'm doing the best I can possibly do on the court."
Cameras have caught Towns talking to Karlito on the court:
Karlito has become somewhat of a celebrity among Kentucky fans, and he's even got a humorous Twitter account with more than 3,000 followers.
— Little Karlito (@LittleKarlito) March 21, 2015
— Little Karlito (@LittleKarlito) March 20, 2015
Coach John Calipari remembers seeing Towns talking to his imaginary friend, whom the coaching staff eventually named Karlito.
"He's such a great kid, he doesn't want to talk back to you, so he turns his head to the side and talks to that little man on his shoulder," Calipari told USA Today. "And after he started doing it, I said, 'Who are you talking to?' And I can't remember which of the coaches gave it the nickname: 'He's talking to Karlito.' "
Whatever Karlito is doing, it's helping. Towns averaged 9.7 points, 6.6 rebounds and 1.2 assists during the regular season, earning SEC Freshman of the Year honors. Through two games in the NCAA tournament, Towns has posted 29 points and 18 rebounds.
Karl, Karlito and the Wildcats will face West Virginia on Thursday in the Sweet 16.