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:
04/02/2012 11:44 PM EDT
Most Outstanding Player?
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.
04/02/2012 11:42 PM EDT
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?
04/02/2012 11:40 PM EDT
04/02/2012 11:39 PM EDT
Kentucky 67 - 59 Kansas
Lamb hit them both. 17.5 seconds to go..
04/02/2012 11:39 PM EDT
More Free Throws
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..
04/02/2012 11:38 PM EDT
But Johnson is whistled for a travel.. with Davis running out.
04/02/2012 11:37 PM EDT
He's out after fouling Teague with 35.7 to play. Free throws on tap..
04/02/2012 11:36 PM EDT
Kentucky 65 - 59 Kansas
Kansas is out of timeouts and down to 39.8 seconds. Steal attempt and then foul is the recipe here.
04/02/2012 11:35 PM EDT
Kansas taking too much time... Taylor drives and gets a runner to fall. Kansas timeout.
04/02/2012 11:34 PM EDT
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?