2012 NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
(2) Kansas (32-6) vs. (1) Kentucky (37-2)
8:23 p.m. at Superdome in New Orleans • TV: Ch. 4 (Jim Nantz, Clark Kellogg and Steve Kerr will call the game) • Line: Kentucky by 6
KENTUCKY'S ROAD TO TITLE GAME
Second round, Louisville, Ky.: def. No. 16 Western Kentucky 81-65 (leading scorer: Terrence Jones, 22 points)
Third round, Louisville, Ky.: def. No. 8 Iowa State 87-71 (Marquis Teague, 24)
Regional semifinal, Atlanta: def. No. 4 Indiana 102-90 (Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, 24)
Regional final, Atlanta: def. No. 3 Baylor 82-70 (Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, 19)
Final Four semifinal, New Orleans: def. No. 4 Louisville 69-61 (Anthony Davis, 18)
KANSAS' ROAD TO TITLE GAME
Round Site Result Leading scorer
Second round, Omaha: def. No. 15 Detroit 65-50 (Thomas Robinson, 16)
Third round, Omaha: def. No. 10 Purdue 63-60 (Elijah Johnson, 18)
Regional semifinal, St. Louis: def. No. 11 N.C. State 60-57 (Thomas Robinson, 18)
Regional final, St. Louis: def. No. 1 North Carolina 80-67 (Tyshawn Taylor, 22)
Final Four semifinal, New Orleans: def. No. 2 Ohio State 64-62 (Thomas Robinson, 19)
The two winningest programs in college basketball history will square off tonight:Wins: Kentucky 2,089, Kansas 2,070
Regular-season conference titles Kentucky 51, Kansas 55
NCAA tournament wins: Kentucky 112, Kansas 93
Final Fours: Kentucky 15, Kansas14
Final Four games: Kentucky 25, Kansas 24
Final Four wins: Kentucky 18, Kansas 12
National finals record: Kentucky 7-3, Kansas 3-5
Last title game: Kentucky 1998, Kansas 2008
Last title: Kentucky 1998, Kansas 2008
HEAD-TO-HEAD SERIES HISTORY
Kentucky leads 20-6, but Kansas has won three of past four meetings. The series dates back to 1950.
Kentucky and Kansas have met only twice in the NCAA tournament. Kentucky won 92-88 in overtime in 1999. Kansas won 88-76 in 2007. Both were second-round games.
The last time
Kentucky beat Kansas earlier this season, 75-65 on Nov. 15, at New York's Madison Square Garden. All five Kentucky starters scored in double figures. The victory was John Calipari's first in four games against Kansas, where he began his coaching career as a volunteer assistant in 1982.
DID YOU KNOW?
Kansas set a school record for points in a game in a 150-95 victory over Kentucky on Dec. 9, 1989, in Lawrence, Kan.
ABOUT THE GAME
The nation's best player -- Kentucky's Anthony Davis -- and the runner-up -- Kansas' Thomas Robinson -- will have plenty of close-up moments in the post. But this matchup will come down to more than a single showdown. While Kentucky had its moments of fending off Louisville on Saturday, many of the Cardinals' shots came so easily it appeared the Wildcats were still in pregame warmups. Davis scored 18 points against Louisville and has averaged 15.2 in the tournament. Forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is another offense presence the Jayhawks need to worry about along with four other unselfish Wildcats who average double digits and can break teams down with their speed and transition game.
Kansas turns the heat up after the break, holding opponents to about 10 points fewer in the second half of tournament games than the first. The Jayhawks have nearly cut opponents' shooting percentage in half after the half as well. While few players -- arguably none -- can stop Davis, Kansas center Jeff Withey is more apt than many. While Davis blocks 4.6 shots per game, Withey isn't shabby at 3.6. He set a Final Four record with seven blocks Saturday against Ohio State. Kentucky's ability to affect shots with its length is frightening, but Kansas knows this is its strength and needs to play to it.
Watch Kansas on the boards, specifically on the offensive end. The Jayhawks punished both North Carolina and Ohio State in the rebounding battle, finishing with a plus-6 margin over UNC and plus-12 against Ohio State. For the season, Kansas outrebounds foes by almost six per game and Kentucky outrebounds its opponents by almost seven per game. But Kentucky surprisingly gives up as many offensive rebounds per game (12.2) as it grabs itself. When these teams met in November, Kansas won the battle of the boards 39-34 and grabbed 14 offensive rebounds to Kentucky's eight. Kansas must win decisively the battle of second-chance points tonight.