After one of the wildest NCAA tournaments in recent history, the national champion will be crowed after the Kentucky Wildcats square off against the Kansas Jayhawks.
With both schools known as college basketball Meccas, this is the kind of matchup that diehard college basketball fans dream of. This is college basketball’s version of the Dallas Cowboys vs. the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Where: Mercedes Benz Superdome, New Orleans, LA
When: Monday, April 2, 9:23 p.m. ET
Listen: ESPN Radio
Betting Line: Covers
Over/Under: 139.5, Spread: Kentucky -6.5
While the national title game isn’t always closely contested, the idea of the game is to get two of the best teams to square off in a meeting of equally matched teams. That is this case this year between Kansas and Kentucky, and betting on it is very hard. I would not bet on this game at all, but if I had to, I would take the under and Kansas getting 6.5 points.
Injuries: USA Today
Jon Hood, G, Out indefinitely
Sam Malone, G, Out for season
Ben McLemore, G, Out for season
Jamari Traylor, F, Out for season
Starting Lineups: ESPN
Terrence Jones, F
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, F
Anthony Davis, F
Doron Lamb, G
Marquis Teague, G
Jeff Withey, C
Travis Releford, G
Tyshawn Taylor, G
Elijah Johnson, G
What They’re Saying
CBS Sports tweeted about the lifetime record of the two winningest programs in NCAA basketball history:
Winningest program of all-time (Kentucky, 2,089 wins) faces the second-winningest (Kansas, 2,070) for a national title. cbsprt.co/H6GGr8— CBSSports.com (@CBSSports) April 1, 2012
Senior writer for the Big Ten Network Tom Dienhart is reporting about the magnitude of this feud:
Kentucky-Kansas! This is like Dodgers-Yankees; Celts-Lakers; Steelers-Cowboys; Pepsi-Coke; hotdogs-hamburgers; Walmart-Costco; paper-plastic— Tom Dienhart (@BTNTomDienhart) April 1, 2012
ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi talks about the oddity that the two winningest teams in college basketball have only met twice before in the NCAA tournament:
P.S.: Hard to believe Kansas and Kentucky have only met twice perviously in the NCAA tournament (1999, 2007), both second-round games.— Joe Lunardi (@ESPNLunardi) April 1, 2012
Key Matchup: Thomas Robinson vs. Anthony Davis
In what will become the focal point of the game and the center of what both team base their offensive game plan on, the NCAA national title will be won or lost at the power forward position. Kentucky has the unibrowed sensation Anthony Davis who does everything well, but he has never faced a test like Thomas Robinson.
Robinson just shut down Jared Sullinger and Ohio State in the Final Four, so expect the battle in the low post between Davis and Robinson to be the battle that ultimately decides who walks away victorious.
Prediction: Kentucky 71, Kansas 66
With neither team having a real advantage at any position, this will be a hotly-contested game that will look much more like the Kansas vs. Ohio State Final Four game more than anything else. This game will be amazing, so anyone with even a sliver of interest needs to imbibe.
Check back for more on the NCAA national title game as it comes, and check out Bleacher Report’s College Basketball Page to get your fill of college basketball.