Anthony Davis and Thomas Robinson are two of the top interior defenders in the country. Needless to say, scoring in the painted area in tonight’s NCAA National Championship Game between Kentucky and Kansas (9:23 p.m. Eastern, CBS) will be extremely hard to do.
The Wildcats boasts a tremendous amount of talent, but the Jayhawks have proven their mettle in tough, hard-fought contests against heavyweights North Carolina and Ohio State. Kentucky didn’t put Louisville away in the second half on Saturday, and Kansas overcame a 13-point deficit on Saturday to buck the Buckeyes. One advantage Kansas could have is at the point guard position, and Tyshaun Taylor’s experience has to fare better than Marcus Teague for KU to win this game.
Elijah Johnson will have the unenviable task to lock horns with the uber-skilled Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and experienced three-point specialist, and well seasoned senior, Darius Miller. This is likely were Kentucky will show the biggest advantage, and Kansas will have to combat that by controlling the tempo and winning the rebounding battle and points in the paint. The combination of Robinson and Jeff Withey will have to, somehow, overcome Davis and Terrence Jones inside. It’s doable, but is a seemingly Herculean task.
For Kansas to pull the upset, the need to get into the fast break and work the ball inside. They settled for far too many perimeter jump shots in the first half on Saturday and quickly found themselves in a double-digit hole. Kentucky has the sheer talent to bury any team at any time. Kansas has to keep this close throughout. It remains to be seen how Kentucky will fare in a late game situation when they’re really in danger of losing. They were up to the task against Louisville to some extent in the Final Four, but fell to Vanderbilt in a similar spot in the SEC Championship Game.
It’s going to be a close game throughout, and perhaps the most magical March Madness moment was saved for the grandest stage of them all on the first Monday in April.
The morning after Boston’s Northeast Division clinching win over the Rangers, SprungOnSports NHL writer Daniel Friedman answers a few hot topic questions around hockey.
1) Which teams would you not want to play in the first round of the playoffs right now and why?
Pittsburgh. Don’t be fooled by the fact they’ve “cooled off” over the last few games. They’re extremely dangerous, especially with Sidney Crosby back in the lineup.
2) With Vancouver’s hot stretch of late, are they the team to beat in the league going into the postseason? Explain.
They are not the team to beat. Vancouver’s very talented but they have a goaltender who tends to go M.I.A come playoff time. Also, the Sedins haven’t been as dominant as they have been in recent years. They’re a very good team, but there are better ones. I don’t think they are at the same compete level as Detroit or Nashville. And I also don’t think they’re particularly well-coached.
3) What has the chance to be the most compelling first round playoff matchup and why?
The consensus would be Pittsburgh against Philadelphia, but I’ll go with Detroit and Nashville. I think that matchup has “game seven” written all over it. both teams are four lines deep, both teams have premiere defensemen in Shea Weber and Nicklas Lidstrom. both teams are disciplined, both teams are well-coached.
4) Which coach do you think could get the boot with a poor showing in the playoffs and why?
Washington’s Dale Hunter, because he has failed to impress since taking over and, barring a miraculous playoff run, he’s gone. Washington has too much talent for them to be underachieving like this. They have no direction, and it starts at the top.