Kentucky and Kansas meet for the 2012 NCAA men's basketball championship in a classic matchup of traditional powers.
Basketball isn't just in Kansas anymore. The commonwealth of Kentucky boasts so much hoops talent that it had a national semifinal all to itself. Of course, basketball dominance did make its way to the Bluegrass State by way of the Kansas Jayhawks' vaunted program, founded by James Naismith.
Long before John Calipari, or even Rick Pitino, was calling the shots for the Wildcats, Adolph Rupp patroled the home sideline in Lexington. As a player, Rupp learned the game in Lawrence, Kansas, under the tutelage of legendary Jayhawks coach Phog Allen and his assistant, Naismith.
The No. 1 overall seed in the entire tournament, Kentucky enters the national championship game as the betting favorite over a Kansas squad that has lived dangerously throughout March. Led by outstanding (presumably) one-and-done freshmen Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, the Wildcats are the most physically dynamic team in the nation. They rolled through the SEC regular season without a loss and broke the century mark in a Sweet 16 rematch with one of the two teams to defeat them before the NCAA tournament.
At the other end of the floor, the Jayhawks may be the most mentally tough team from the field of 68. Poise and passion have kept the Jayhawks advancing through the tournament even when their shooting deserted them. Kansas' rally past Ohio State in the "other game" in the Final Four was just the latest amazing result that has this team believing it's a team of destiny.
Can Bill Self best John Calipari on the college game's biggest stage? Will Jeff Withey be able to throw off Davis? Does Kentucky have anyone ready to withstand Thomas Robinson? Or will an unexpected x-factor player decide the 2012 national championship?
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