Follow the pattern.
At 9:23 PM on Monday night in New Orleans, we are guaranteed a classic matchup for men’s basketball championship.
The 2008 final, the last time Kansas made the championship game, went into overtime and featured a mixture of horrific shooting from the free throw line and a high water mark of a buzzer-beater for everyone in Lawrence to savor.
The 2009 championship couldn’t have been more of a dud. North Carolina blasted Michigan State in Sparty’s backyard to win the title.
One year later, in Indianapolis, Duke and Butler played out like a modern-day version of the “Hoosiers” final. Hickory High lost on that Monday night, but the lasting image of Gordon Hayward’s shot almost banking in still lingers in all of our memories.
We won’t even talk about the 2011 final. Connecticut won the worst game of college basketball you could possibly imagine.
It’s 2012. Most experts think No. 1 seed Kentucky will receive their scepter and robe this evening at the Superdome. The Wildcats are far and away the most talented team in the entire field and favored to win the 8th national championship in the proud history of Kentucky basketball.
Kansas wants to tear up those headlines and toss the confetti around. The Jayhawks just win basketball games. They have a young coach who will end up in Dr. Naismith’s museum one day in Bill Self. He’s already won a national championship against John Calipari. Self hasn’t hit 50 yet and could take home his second national championship on Monday evening. He will never be confused for John Wooden, but he likely won’t face a number of investigations that would eliminate wins from his program.
John Calipari reminds me of Nick Nolte’s character in the movie “Blue Chips.” He sees the finish line and desperately wants to get to the mark. It’s not about teaching for Coach Cal. John wants championships. Calipari only has one title in his career when he took home the National Invitational Championship in 2002. That could change on Monday night.
Kentucky has the horses. Kansas has the will. We’re due for a dandy at the Dome on college basketball’s biggest night.
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