The stage is set for the 2012 NCAA championship game. The Kentucky Wildcats will take on the Kansas Jayhawks Monday, April 2 at 9:00 p.m. ET.
The Wildcats were challenged by the Louisville Cardinals in the Final Four, but it didn't matter that the Cardinals were able to hold Kentucky to under 70 points—the Wildcats outplayed them on the defensive end as well.
Kansas, meanwhile, had to fight back from a 13-point deficit to top the Ohio State Buckeyes and make it to the championship game. The Jayhawks were able to impose their will on the Buckeyes in the second half, and it ultimately led to their victory.
The matchup between the Wildcats and the Jayhawks will feature the two best big men in the country in Thomas Robinson and Anthony Davis. Look for that to be the battle of the night.
Kentucky is littered with potentially five first-round picks in the upcoming NBA draft, led by Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. John Calipari has a ton of options to go to on offense, and their ability to go to almost any one of their players on the roster night in and night out is a huge advantage.
Robinson will be a tough assignment for the Wildcats defense, and he needs to be the focal point of the Jayhawks offense. He'll have a tough time against a great defender like Davis, simply because the Kansas big man hasn't faced anyone like him this year. And even if Robinson can shut down Davis, Kentucky still has a ton of other weapons to go to. They don't need Davis as much as Kansas needs Robinson.
Kansas' offense is built to run the floor, as was proved in their victory over Thad Matta's Buckeyes Saturday night. But with the Wildcats' athleticism and defensive prowess, they may find it harder to play at the type of fast pace they want.
It remains to be seen if Kansas can keep up with the Kentucky's offensive firepower. It also remains to be seen if Kansas can shoot consistently enough to better their opponent's defensive effort.
Kentucky has proven it isn't just about shutting their offense down, because, as their opponent, you have to be wary of being shut down yourself. Kentucky is the best in the country at finding a way to win on even their worst night.
If Kansas plays like they did in the Final Four, it will be a rough night for Bill Self and Co.
In the end, the Wildcats will be too much on both ends of the court, and the Jayhawks will succumb to an immensely talented team, proving that, sometimes, it is all about talent.
Prediction: Kentucky 79, Kansas 72
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