The No. 1 seed Kentucky Wildcats are set to take on the No. 2 seed Kansas Jayhawks in the 2012 NCAA tournament’s championship game.
Both teams have put in a ton of work to get here, starting back in the beginning of the season and all the way through this past weekend’s Final Four battle.
Now there is just one game left to decide the best collegiate basketball team in the nation.
Keep reading to find out where to watch this game, what time it is taking place, a look at the point spread and a prediction on which side will win.
Where: Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, LA
When: Monday, April 2 at 9:23 p.m. ET
Live Stream: NCAA.com
Betting Line: Kentucky minus-6 (via ScoresAndOdds.com)
F Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, PRB (Quad)
No major injuries to report.
What's At Stake? The 2012 NCAA tournament championship
That feat alone should be quite enough, but Kentucky is vying to become one of the best teams ever assembled. The only way to prove that they belong in that discussion is to beat Kansas and help to capture coach John Calipari’s first national title.
Rock Chalk Nation has other ideas, hoping that their Jayhawks can pull off a major upset and outright beat their superstar opponents.
They have the experience and depth to do it, but the question still remains as to whether or not Kansas has the skill and athleticism to match Kentucky for 40 minutes up and down the court.
What They're Saying
Eamonn Brennan of ESPN sets the stage perfectly for this matchup.
It is Kentucky and Kansas, the two winningest programs in the history of the sport, the place where the game was invented versus the place that has obsessed over it each and every day since. It is Anthony Davis versus Thomas Robinson, the nation's consensus national player of the year and the player who most closely challenged him for those honors all season.
It is a rematch—a rare national title rematch after two such games in the Final Four—of a mid-November Kentucky win at Madison Square Garden. It is John Calipari and Bill Self—the coach whose 2008 Memphis team frittered away a national title in the final two minutes getting a redemptive crack at the program and coach who beat him. And it is, of course, the Superdome, an epic setting with a knack for producing fittingly monumental games.
Most Important Player to Watch: Anthony Davis
The Kentucky freshman has won nearly every major college basketball award for the 2011-12 season, and definitely earned each and every one of those honors.
He’s the most decorated first-year player in the sport’s history, taking home numerous National Player of the Year awards (all but NABC’s overall Player of the Year) and Defensive Player of the Year honors.
Davis and his infamous unibrow have the ability to impact a game like no one else, and all eyes will be on the likely No. 1 overall NBA draft pick tonight.
Key Matchup: Thomas Robinson vs. Anthony Davis
Both big men are the reason why their team has made it this far.
Robinson, the 6’10”, 237-pound junior forward, is averaging 17.9 points, 11.8 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.1 steals and 0.9 blocks per game.
Davis, similarly sized at 6’10”, 220-pounds but two years younger and much more athletic, has put up 14.3 points, 10.0 rebounds, 4.6 blocks, 1.3 steals and 1.3 assists in 2011-12.
Whoever can dominate the paint and affect the most opposing shots has the best chance of winning the game for their team.
Prediction: Kentucky 72, Kansas 65
The Wildcats are simply too talented and motivated to not win a national championship.
Their roster from top to the bottom is better than the one Bill Self has assembled at Kansas.
Coach Calipari has finally perfected the winning formula of recruiting top talent that he knows will leave after one year. Expect him to continue to make deep runs to the NCAA tournament title for the foreseeable future until a rule change or some other form of intervention stops it.
Look for this one to be close until late, when UK blows it wide open with their superior athleticism, leaving the Jayhawks in the dust.