NCAA Finals: Kentucky vs. Kansas Preview
By Adam McGill
Game: (1) Kentucky vs. (2) Kansas 4/ 2 9:23 PM ET
Game Analysis: The one-seeded Kentucky Wildcats are one game away from ending a dream season and bringing their record eighth championship back to Lexington. The team ran through the SEC, got the number one seed in their side of the bracket, and made it all the way to the finals. The Wildcats are playing amazingly as a team and are not afraid to slow the game down. Kentucky keeps rolling on game after game and will be heavily favored on Monday night. They will meet a Kansas team that outscored Ohio State 39-28 in the second half of last night’s game to hold on for a 64-62 win over the heavily favored Buckeyes. The Jayhawks are much more physical then people think and will at times stifle Kentucky defensively.
Matchup to Watch: PG Marquis Teague, Kentucky vs. PG Tyshawn Taylor, Kansas – Watching Teague play in the last couple of games, it has been hard to believe that he is only a freshman. Teague has been hitting big shots time after time and is really complementing the team’s star forwards, Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, well in the later parts of the tournament. Teague has an extremely fast first step, but has been known to turn the ball over in transition. On the other hand, Taylor is a natural creator on offense. He scored 10 points in Kansas’ win over Ohio State, but had his biggest impact distributing the ball with 9 assists. Taylor repeatedly showed up Buckeye, Aaron Craft last night and will really test the freshman defensively. Taylor has been a streaky shooter throughout his career, so expect him to throw up a couple bricks once in a while. Advantage: Kansas
Matchup to Watch: F Anthony Davis, Kentucky vs. F Thomas Robinson, Kansas – Davis again showed why he is the most physically imposing player in the nation last night with 18 points, 14 rebounds, and 5 blocks. The freshman has a freakishly long wingspan and coupled with his six-foot-ten frame, makes him impossible for opposing teams to shoot the ball over. Davis will get to matchup against the second best forward in the nation in Kansas’ Thomas Robinson. “T-Bone” has been a double-double machine this season and has a pro-ready body already at age 21. Davis may be the more athletic of the two, but Robinson is by far the more natural low-post player. The two will be battling each other in the game, in what will no doubt be the matchup of the finals. Advantage: Kentucky
The Difference Maker: G Doron Lamb, Kentucky – With all the attention that the “Tucky Three” draw, Doron Lamb seems to be the odd man out during post-game interviews. The sophomore has averaged 15.4 points in the tournament, which is ironically more than then popular freshmen, Marquis Teague (13.2 points) and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (12.6). Lamb gets open shots by the handful, so expect another big game from the unheralded sophomore.
Prediction: Kentucky 70 – Kansas 64