Kentucky vs. Kansas: Elijah Johnson and More Championship Game X-Factors

Alex KayCorrespondent IApril 2, 2012

ST LOUIS, MO - MARCH 25:  Elijah Johnson #15 of the Kansas Jayhawks attempts a shot against P.J. Hairston #15 of the North Carolina Tar Heels as head coach Bill Self of the Kansas Jayhawks looks on during the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball Midwest Regional Final at Edward Jones Dome on March 25, 2012 in St Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

The 2012 NCAA Tournament is concluding tonight with an epic championship game between two of the all-time greatest schools in college basketball.

Kentucky is a heavy favorite because of Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and its other superstar freshman, but Kansas has the experience and heart to pull off an upset on the shoulders of Thomas Robinson.

Let’s take a look at a few X-factors who must come up big if they want to insure their respective team a chance to win. 

 

Kentucky

Doron Lamb

NEW ORLEANS, LA - MARCH 31:  Doron Lamb #20 of the Kentucky Wildcats looks on while taking on the Louisville Cardinals during the National Semifinal game of the 2012 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on March 31,
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Lamb has the ability to fill it up from outside, as evidenced by his five of eight performance from three against Iowa State in the Wildcats’ second tournament game.

However, he has only hit two long-range shots since that March 17 game and should be looking to find his stroke against Kansas.

If he does, Kentucky will have no problem winning this thing.

 

Darius Miler

Miller is the rare senior logging significant minutes on a team full of youthful superstars.

He’s been providing much-needed leadership and veteran savvy off the bench and must continue that role tonight to finish his collegiate career off right.

 

Kansas

Elijah Johnson

Johnson has finally harnessed the talent that the Jayhawks knew he had inside of him.

Against Ohio State, he came up with 10 huge rebounds to go along with his 13 points on 66.7 percent shooting.

If Johnson can continue stroking the rock with great accuracy and play bigger than his 6’4” frame, his team may just get the upset victory.

 

Travis Releford

The junior guard played nearly the entire game against the Buckeyes and did not disappoint.

He chipped in an unexpected 15 points, six rebounds, two steals and an assist while burying a three-pointer for good measure.

You cannot ask for more, and Releford has to repeat that performance if the Jayhawks want to keep it close.