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Sunday, April 1, 2012
Elite programs face off in title game

By Dick Vitale
ESPN.com

I cannot wait for Monday night. Two of the elite programs in college basketball history meet here in New Orleans. The Superdome will be rocking and rolling as the Kentucky Wildcats and Kansas Jayhawks square off for the national title.

Bill Self
Bill Self got to cut down the nets against John Calipari in 2008.

Wow, it is a coaching rematch of 2008, when Mario Chalmers hit a dramatic shot and Bill Self's Jayhawks beat John Calipari's Memphis Tigers. Now it is Calipari and his Wildcats, the team that has been the best of the best all season long, looking to cut down the nets.

Right off the bat, I am looking forward to the battle in the paint between a pair of All-Solid Gold performers. Anthony Davis was my National Player of the Year over Thomas Robinson, and now they get to lock horns again. Davis was dominant in the win over Louisville in the national semifinals, putting up 18 points, grabbing 14 boards and blocking five shots.

Robinson did not have his A game when these teams met at Madison Square Garden back in November. Kentucky won that one by 10 points.

Another interesting showdown pits Tyshawn Taylor against diaper dandy Marquis Teague. In the first meeting, Teague turned the ball over too often in the first half and finished with six turnovers.

My friends, Teague is a different player now, making good decisions with the basketball. Taylor will be vital for the Jayhawks and he was 15-of-17 from the foul line in that first meeting.

The bottom line is Kentucky has too many offensive weapons. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist showed a lot after getting two fouls in six-plus minutes against Louisville. Doron Lamb can drive to the basket or hit the jumper. Terrence Jones came back to school with the goal of winning a national title. Darius Miller provides a spark off the bench, as he did with nine of his 13 points in the second half against Louisville.

Kidd-Gilchrist/Davis
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Anthony Davis certainly lived up to their hype last season as star freshmen.

Kansas is a lot more than Robinson and Taylor. Jeff Withey has established himself as a presence in the lane with his shot-blocking ability. Elijah Johnson and Travis Releford have been underrated contributors for Self's squad.

Kansas can also get some quality minutes from Kevin Young off the bench when they need another big body.

The bottom line is simple. Kentucky will make Big Blue Nation happy. Davis will offset Robinson and Calipari will celebrate his first national title.

Wildcats 77, Jayhawks 70.