Now it comes to this. After another dramatic come-from-behind victory on Saturday, versus Ohio State, Kansas has advanced to the championship game to face heavy favorite Kentucky.
These two teams did play each other, earlier this season. Back on November, 15th Kentucky defeated Kansas, 75-65 in the second game of this season for both teams. Kansas guard Tyshon Taylor led all scorers with 22 points. Kentucky was keyed by Doron Lamb and Terrence Jones. Lamb scored 17, and Jones added 15 points. Anthony Davis and Thomas Robinson played to a duel in the middle. Robinson had 14 points and 12 rebounds, while Davis scored 14 points and made seven blocks. The game was played at the Madison Square Arena. The win was John Calipari’s first over Kansas. He had previously lost his first three contests versus Kansas, including the 2008 championship game, when Kansas rallied to defeat Memphis.
Both teams have grown up quite a bit since this early season meeting. Kentucky posted an amazing record of 37-2 on the year, while Kansas comes in at 32-6. They are the top two teams in the land. It is fitting they meet once again, this time in New Orleans.
Kansas is much more then Taylor and Robinson. Sure the two guys score most of the Jayhawks points, but a strong supporting cast is present. Center Jeff Withey in the middle, Travis Relaford and Elijah Johnson are all capable players. Off the bench, Kansas is supported by Connor Teahan and Kevin Young. Even when Taylor has an off-day like he did on Saturday, everybody else stepped up. Relaford and Johnson both posted double-figure scoring outputs.
Kentucky is led by Davis, who just won the Naismith award for the season as the top player in the land. The freshman center is an unstoppable force both on the defensive and offensive side of things. He scored 18 points and 14 rebounds with five blocked shots in the win over Louisville on Saturday. Two other freshman start and are integral pieces to the team. Marcus Teague and Michael-Kidd Gilchrist at any moment can score. Lamb is the seasoned veteran as a sophomore, and key part of last season’s final four team.
Great match-ups all over the court. Davis versus Withey, Jones versus Robinson, Teague and Taylor. The time is here and now. Expect a great game when the two top teams in the country face off on Monday night.