There certainly have been some great moments this past March. Once again, college basketball has shown it has one of the greatest playoff systems in all of sports.
This tournament has had it all, great upsets, early exits, and tons of games going down to the wire with a lot of back and forth action. But, as we approach the final game of the NCAA basketball season and all the smoke has cleared, the two teams that have proven that they had what it takes are finally revealed.
Kansas will take on Kentucky in what is sure to be a memorable final game in New Orleans. After the road that each team has taken to get here, that title will be given to a deserving team no matter the outcome.
One has to look at the Kentucky Wildcats and believe that it is their title to win, after all they have blown through their competition all season long, earning their top seed in the tournament with ease and have so far looked like a powerhouse of a team throughout the month behind Anthony Davis and the rest of the Wildcats. You would have to be foolish to pick against them right?
Not so fast.
Despite having a number two seed, the Jayhawks have been the underdog and overlooked throughout this tournament. At times, during the past two contests, many expected the Kansas to be watching the Elite Eight, Final Four, or Finals at home on their couches. But the team fought through, and took care of business when it counted.
In the next round, the Jayhawks were set up to face off against a very strong Ohio State team. The Buckeyes took an early lead, and were up in the first half by as much as 13 points. Many would have written off Kansas’ chances of winning right then and there, but once again the team relied on their strong defensive play to kick in during the second half and wound up knocking off Ohio State 64-62.
But what does any of this matter? Simply put, everything!
What one can see by looking at statistics is that Kansas has a very good defense, ranked fourth during the season in efficiency, and that they have great playmakers in Thomas Robinson and Tyshawn Taylor. But all that can be overshadowed by the amount of high octane offense Kentucky has on their side of the ball and the talent that this team possesses in Davis, Terrence Jones and Marquis Teague.
But although you can make your predictions based on the numbers, if one learns anything from watching college basketball, it is that heart can make all the difference. And while Kentucky has breezed through the competition in impressive fashion, perhaps one needs to be weary of overconfidence and coast into the finals.
Meanwhile, the team that everyone has counted out, the Jayhawks have literally fought their way to the top, taking out top competition along the way to the finals and look to take out another giant on the court.
What the underdog win over Carolina and comeback victory over Ohio State show is that Kansas will continue to fight for what they want. The team has heart. That, combined with that great defense could be enough to steal the title away from the assumed champions, the Kentucky Wildcats.
Beware of the Jayhawks.
Final: Kansas 78 Kentucky 73