Kansas and Kentucky, two of the most recognized names in college basketball, will play for it all tonight in front of a packed Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana. This evening’s National Championship contest is scheduled for a 9:23pm ET start on CBS. The latest NCAA Point Spreads have the top ranked Wildcats listed as a -6.5 against the spread favorite; the Over/Under is set at 137.5 points.
Bill Self’s Jayahwks have yet to put together a complete game performance in the NCAA Tournament, but that has not stopped them from leaving their competition in the proverbial dust. Kansas dispatched Detroit, Purdue, NC State, and North Carolina to garner a trip to the Final Four and a second showdown with Ohio State.
Most NCAA Basketball Picks Experts felt the Jayhawks would head back to Lawrence for good after the favored Buckeyes got through with them and that certainly appeared to be the case after 20 minutes of play on Saturday. Kansas looked horrible in every sense of the word as Ohio State went into the break with a 34-25 lead. But, per the Jayhawks custom, they did not let a sloppy start keep them from getting thing under control in the second half.
Kansas out-paced the Buckeyes 39-28 after the half to secure a 64-62 victory. Thomas Robinson, a consensus first team All-American, led Kansas with 19 points on 8-of-18 shooting, but the big man got plenty of help on both ends of the floor. Center Jeff Withey, who finished with just four points, was brilliant defensively, blocking seven shots and grabbing seven defensive boards. Travis Releford also made a number of big plays on offense and defense in the second half; he finished the game with 15 points, two steals, and six rebounds.
Kentucky endured no such drama in its National Semifinal battle, beating in-state rival Louisville 69-61. While the result did mark the Wildcats closest finish of the tournament, the game provided little evidence that the Cardinals could actually pull off the upset.
Kentucky out-shot Louisville 57 to 35 percent the Cardinals had no answer for Anthony Davis at either end of the floor. Davis, who will almost certainly win M.O.P. honors should Kentucky win this evening, scored 18 points, grabbed 14 rebounds, and blocked five shots in leading the Wildcats to victory.
There is no question Kentucky has been the most impressive team all season long and the Wildcats have had no equal in the NCAA Tournament either. John Calipari’s troops have made good teams look ordinary and, on occasion, even bad. All of those things point toward a UK National Championship celebration tonight. But it would be foolhardy to discount the Jayahwks ability to keep this game close and, perhaps, pull off the upset. Kansas has shown time and again an almost super human resilience, especially in the most dire of circumstances.