Kentucky and Kansas meet for the 2012 NCAA men's basketball championship in a classic matchup of traditional powers.
Basketball isn't just in Kansas anymore. The commonwealth of Kentucky boasts so much hoops talent that it had a national semifinal all to itself. Of course, basketball dominance did make its way to the Bluegrass State by way of the Kansas Jayhawks' vaunted program, founded by James Naismith.
Long before John Calipari, or even Rick Pitino, was calling the shots for the Wildcats, Adolph Rupp patroled the home sideline in Lexington. As a player, Rupp learned the game in Lawrence, Kansas, under the tutelage of legendary Jayhawks coach Phog Allen and his assistant, Naismith.
The No. 1 overall seed in the entire tournament, Kentucky enters the national championship game as the betting favorite over a Kansas squad that has lived dangerously throughout March. Led by outstanding (presumably) one-and-done freshmen Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, the Wildcats are the most physically dynamic team in the nation. They rolled through the SEC regular season without a loss and broke the century mark in a Sweet 16 rematch with one of the two teams to defeat them before the NCAA tournament.
At the other end of the floor, the Jayhawks may be the most mentally tough team from the field of 68. Poise and passion have kept the Jayhawks advancing through the tournament even when their shooting deserted them. Kansas' rally past Ohio State in the "other game" in the Final Four was just the latest amazing result that has this team believing it's a team of destiny.
Can Bill Self best John Calipari on the college game's biggest stage? Will Jeff Withey be able to throw off Davis? Does Kentucky have anyone ready to withstand Thomas Robinson? Or will an unexpected x-factor player decide the 2012 national championship?
STAY TUNED FOR LIVE UPDATES THROUGHOUT THE GAME:
Will Davis get snubbed due to having just one field goal? Lamb scored 22 and hit a pair of HUGE threes to hold the Jayhawks at bay.
He has a national championship on his resume and his team of youngsters secured it by hitting free throws with Bill Self on the sideline. Are the demons of 2008 exorcised?
Lamb hit them both. 17.5 seconds to go..
Lamb will shoot a pair. Davis' eyes are wide and a smiling is peaking out from beneath that unibrow as the Wildcats huddle. 17.5 seconds. He hits the first..
But Johnson is whistled for a travel.. with Davis running out.
He's out after fouling Teague with 35.7 to play. Free throws on tap..
Kansas is out of timeouts and down to 39.8 seconds. Steal attempt and then foul is the recipe here.
Kansas taking too much time... Taylor drives and gets a runner to fall. Kansas timeout.
Teague hits front end after Kansas fouls. Game is under a minute and it figures to a free throw shooting affair. Can Kentucky make their way to the title?
MKG blocks Taylor and then Kansas loses possession out of bounds.
It drops off after ball is inbounded..
Kansas has the ball and one timeout. Kentucky has a pair.
Kentucky leads Kansas, 63-57.
Flashbacks to Memphis.. Davis misses the first free throw. He hits the second. Kentucky leads 63-57.
Kentucky nearly loses it to Kansas pressure but they save possession. Davis fouled (4 on Releford) and heads to line..
Robinson hits both and it's a five-point game with 1:37 to play. Kansas showing press.
After a Teague miss late in shot clock. Kansas with a chance to pull closer. Withey unloads to Robinson down low and he muscles up a shot attempt as he is fouled. It rolls around.. and then off. He's at the line.
Johnson answers with a three for Kansas!
Kentucky still running half court set slowly... tick tock.. THREE FOR TEAGUE! It's a ten point lead.
Lamb works inside-out with Davis but the shot doesn't fall. Kansas gifts it right back after Johnson dribbles into a blind alley.
Robinson hits the front end and the second to cut lead to 59-52 with 3:51 to play. It's an 8-0 run.
|@ PeteThamelNYT : The Kentucky lead is 9. Memphis only needed 2:12 to squander that to Kansas. #sothere'sachance? That's 4 on Jones.|
Withey blocks Davis at one and and Taylor comes hard down the floor. Hoop plus the harm! Kansas has cut the lead to 9 points as we approach 4 minutes.
Taylor sinks a much-needed three for Kansas to pull them within a dozen as we're under 5 minutes..
Davis gets his first points from open play..
Robinson, again, got himself deep post position. He had his hands to an offensive rebound but he stepped out as he was drawn into a battle for possession. Kentucky ball. Again, they're taking their time.. tick.. tock..
Jones overpowers Young, drawing a foul. That's three on Young. Jones misses the first but hits the second. 57-44 with 6 minutes to play.
Robinson misses yet another chip shot for Kansas. Ball is back to Kentucky an they're taking their time in the half court.
Trailing, 56-44, with 6:50 to play, Kansas needs a mini-run to set up that last, big push. And they need Doron Lamb to stop hitting threes.