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Kansas, Kentucky ready for a rematch with a title on the line

Apr 1, 2012, 3:11 AM EDT

spt-120331-KU-UK AP

It wouldn’t be the 2012 Final Four without a rematch. Added bonus? It features the two winningest programs in NCAA history.

Kentucky (2,089 victories) and Kansas (2,070) will play Monday night for the 2012 title. The Wildcats are big favorites, stemming from their superior talent and performance this season, which started with a 75-65 win back on Nov. 15. That game saw the Wildcats (37-2) pull away in the second half and behind superior defense, most notably 13 blocks.

The Jayhawks (32-6) weren’t awful, but it was clear a few spurts was all Kentucky needed.

“We didn’t play that bad the last time they beat us,” Kansas coach Bill Self said. “We went brain-dead there for about five minutes, and they capitalized. That’s when they went on their run.”

Will Monday be the same? Self isn’t so sure.

“I understand they’re really talented, well-coached, they play hard,” he said. “But I say the same about us.”

Neither team features a deep bench. Both rely on their star big men, quick point guards and athletic, versatile wings to make plays in the open court.

A rematch might not have been what was expected when the NCAA tournament began, but it’s turned out that way. And Kansas will give it a run.

“I think we match up well,” Kansas senior Tyshawn Taylor said. “Any five we put out there can match up with any five they put out there, for sure. I’m kind of going into this game really confident.

“I’m really excited to be here. I came this far. Might as well go home with the ’ship.”

You also can follow me on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.

  1. jumbossportsblog - Apr 1, 2012 at 6:20 AM

    Reblogged this on jumbossportsblog.

  2. 1historian - Apr 1, 2012 at 7:19 AM

    On pure talent – Kentucky.

    2 questions:

    Are they tough enough? Yes – they showed it last week against Baylor.

    Do they have experienced senior leadership down the stretch when it gets TIGHT – yes. Darius Miller stepped up last night when Louisville made their run.

    Kentucky by 7

  3. passerby23 - Apr 1, 2012 at 3:14 PM

    Agreed. I admire Kansas’ confidence, but their propensity for turning the ball over is going to hurt them against Kentucky. I think this game looks a lot like the Ohio St.-Florida final of 2007: a competitive, but relatively comfortable victory for Kentucky.

    Kentucky 71 Kansas 63

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