DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) -My bracket has long been so much toilet paper since the opening weekend that Florida State bowed out. I did have Kentucky in the final game, as if that’s any consolation.
After a pretty mundane version of madness – only one overtime game the entire tournament – tonight we crown the next men’s college basketball champ. It’ll be UK over KU, as in Kentucky to beat Kansas.
Intriguing matchup at a historical joint. The four previous Final Fours at the New Orleans Superdome have included freshman Michael Jordan’s shot lifting North Carolina to the title in ’82, Keith Smart’s jumper vaulting Indiana in ’87, Chris Webber’s infamous timeout that cost the Fab Five Wolverines a chance against the Tar Heels in ’93 and a freshman named Carmelo Anthony giving Syracuse a championship in ’03.
This tournament, in retrospect, will belong to a couple more freshmen – Kentucky’s Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. In June those two will likely go 1-2 in the NBA Draft. On April 2 they will lift the Wildcats to a title. Davis, a pogo-stick shot-blocker, dominated Louisville in Saturday’s semifinals with 18 points, 14 rebounds and 5 blocked shots. Kansas, a team that has struggled to survive three different games in the tournament, erased a 13-point deficit against Ohio State and won, 64-62.
Davis is college basketball’s player of the year, while Kansas’ Bill Self is the coach of the year. To me that’s Kansas’ only edge tonight. Remember, John Calipari somehow lost separate title games with point guards named Derrick Rose and John Wall. The Jayhawks have nice college players in Tyshawn Taylor and Thomas Robinson, but Kentucky has elite, unique players.
The Wildcats have been the best team all season. They were better than Kansas when they Davis had 14 points and 7 rebounds and UK won by 10 on Nov. 15 in Madison Square Garden. And they’ll be the best tonight.
It’s a marquee matchup. College basketball’s two winningest programs. But in the end, it won’t be a signature game.
Kentucky 84, Kansas 69.
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