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National Championship Game 2012: 5 Reasons Kansas Will Upset Kentucky

Howard CowanContributor IIIJune 3, 2016

National Championship Game 2012: 5 Reasons Kansas Will Upset Kentucky

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    For the first time in three years, the Butler Bulldogs will not be playing for an NCAA Championship. This year’s championship game will not be the David vs. Goliath matchup we’ve almost grown accustomed to. 

    It’s powerhouse program vs. powerhouse program. Kentucky has won seven National Championships, while Kansas has won three. 

    It’s also a coaching rematch from the 2008 title game, when John Calipari watched Mario Chalmers and Bill Self dash the hopes of his Memphis Tigers. 

    Four years later, the titanic showdown is reborn with new teams and new faces gunning for a title. 

    Kansas is the underdog once again, yet here are five reasons why the Jayhawks will upset the Wildcats, making Calipari wait at least one more year.

Comeback Kids

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    Kansas’ road to the championship game has been paved with, well, speed bumps. Their NCAA tournament resume has not been crisp and clean, but rather riddled, hard-fought, come-from-behind wins. 

    In the second round they fought off a tremendous 26-point performance by Robbie Hummel. The Jayhawks erased an eight-point second-half deficit for a 63-60 win over Purdue.  

    Kansas also battle back to beat North Carolina State by three points (60-57) after an early Wolfpack lead. 

    Yet the best test of character so far was against Ohio State on Saturday, when Kansas overcame the hot shooting of William Buford and a 13-point lead for the chance to play for a fourth national title. 

Thomas Robinson

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    When Kentucky and Kansas played at Madison Square Garden in early November, Thomas Robinson was a non-factor in their 75-65 loss

    Robinson spent the final three-plus minutes on the bench after fouling out with only 11 points to his name. 

    Since then, Robinson has lead the Jayhawks to the Big 12 regular season title and the NCAA Championship game. 

    Look for Robinson to be a bigger threat and the catalyst for a Jayhawk championship. 

Experience

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    If John Calipari’s teams are known for being freshmen-heavy, then the opposite could be said about Bill Self’s Jayhawks.  

    Kansas is lead by tournament-tested senior Tyshwan Taylor, and three juniors Elijah Johnson, Jeff Withey and Thomas Robinson

    The team has tasted adversity throughout the tournament and their big-game experience has proven invaluable during their road to the championship.  

    With the game on the line, upperclassmen leadership will be the key for Kansas and an NCAA Title Game win.

Inside Presence

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    So how do you slow down the AP Player of the Year, Anthony Davis? The same way you slow down Jared Sullenger—you put a body on him, or two if there’s one to spare. 

    In the semifinal matchup, Sullenger struggled to find his game, shooting just 26 percent from the field. 

    Jayhawks center Jeff Withey challenged Sullenger all night, contesting his shots and throwing off his rhythm. Withey finished with seven blocks and eight boards, and along with Robinson, he stood tall in the paint. 

    If Kansas upsets Kentucky, it will be because the Jayhawks' two bigs will challenge Davis to make tough shots and reduce second-chance points for the Wildcats. 

Bill Self

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    He’s already won a title. Why not give him another?

    He’s already beat Calipari in a title game—add another NCAA Championship to his name. 

    He won Naismith Coach of the Year

    It’s easy to name off reasons why Bill Self and the Jayhawks will win, but it’s like citing facts that have no relevance to the argument. Both coaches are great leaders, and winners for that matter. Based on their resumes, this matchup is null. 

    So why take the Jayhawks to win it all? Stick to the misguided conventional wisdom—because at least Bill Self has a championship in his pocket. 

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