NCAAB Championship Game: What bettors need to know


Kansas Jayhawks vs. Kentucky Wildcats (-6, 137)

THE STORY: Kentucky is the favorite, loaded with next-level talent throughout the lineup -- and even on the bench. Kansas is the surprise contender, the team that won its eighth consecutive regular-season conference title in what was supposed to be a "down" year. They both made it to New Orleans and survived hard-fought national semifinals to meet for the championship in a rematch for Kansas coach Bill Self and Kentucky coach John Calipari, whose Memphis team lost to Self's Jayhawks in the 2008 title game. The title tilt features two of the nation's best big men in Kentucky freshman Anthony Davis and Kansas junior Thomas Robinson, as well as two of the best defensive teams in the country.

TV: 9:23 p.m. ET, CBS

ABOUT KANSAS (32-6):
The Jayhawks are in the national championship game for the eighth time - and first since 2008 - and this appearance might be their most unlikely since the group nicknamed "Danny and the Miracles" won it all as a No. 6 seed in 1988. Senior guard Tyshawn Taylor (16.5 ppg, 4.8 apg) was the only full-time starter returning for Self at the start of the season, and though it was apparent Robinson (17.7 ppg, 11.7 rpg) had the skills to develop into a dominant post presence, the rest of Kansas' lineup was in flux. But 7-foot center Jeff Withey (9.1 ppg, 6.3 rpg) emerged as an excellent defender. With seven blocks against Ohio State on Saturday, he has a school-record 136 this season. Juniors Elijah Johnson (10.1 ppg, 3.6 apg) and Travis Releford (8.6 ppg) have teamed with Taylor to become a dynamic backcourt group.

ABOUT KENTUCKY (37-2):
College basketball's all-time leader with 2,089 wins is in the national championship game for the 11th time, but amazingly the first since winning the title in 1998. The Wildcats showed they were beatable by losing the SEC tournament title game to Vanderbilt, but they've looked anything but through five games in the NCAA tournament. Saturday's 69-61 win over Louisville was Kentucky's closest test yet, but it was never really in doubt despite swingman Michael Kidd-Gilchrist playing only 23 minutes because of foul trouble and the Cardinals owning a surprising 40-33 rebounding edge. The freshman phenom Davis led the way with 18 points, 14 rebounds and five blocks. Davis needs two blocks to match the national freshman record of 182 set by Marshall's Hassan Whiteside in 2010.

TRENDS


* Kentucky is 3-12-1 ATS in its last 16 non-conference games.
* Kansas is 7-2 ATS in its last nine games against SEC foes.
* Under is 18-4 in Kansas' last 22 NCAA tournament games.
* Over is 4-1 in Kentucky's 2012 NCAA tournament games.

TIP-INS


1. With 26 double-doubles, Robinson leads the nation and has surpassed Drew Gooden for Kansas' single-season record. With 20 double-doubles, Davis has matched DeMarcus Cousins for the Kentucky freshman record.

2.
Johnson had 13 points and 10 rebounds against Ohio State for his first career double-double. He scored 11 of his 13 points in the second half, helping Kansas rally from an early 13-point deficit.

3. Kansas has led at halftime in only one of its five NCAA tournament games. The Jayhawks rallied from halftime deficits against Ohio State, N.C. State and Purdue and was tied at half against North Carolina. Kentucky is 31-0 when leading at halftime.

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Posted by reiper
2 years ago

It's the pace of this game that really makes me like the over. Both teams like to get in transitions for easy buckets. I think this will be the reason the game goes over. Kentucky has taken the 6th most FG attempts this season. Kansas the 12th most . Both teams are one of the worst in the country in keeping opponents shot attempts down per game. It's the pace that will send this game over. The straight up winner of this game will be decided by the play of Tyshawn Taylor, in my opinion, but its too close to call. If he has a big game offensively this game covers by 10+ points, regardless I fully expect it to go over.
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Posted by Scottywin747
2 years ago

Under is the play for me. Both teams are very good defensively. In the last four games Kansas has been able to hold their opponents to 28, 20, 24, and 24 points in the second half. I understand none of those teams are as good as Kentucky. If this under gets busted it will be because of a big first half, free throws at the end or a combination of both. Good luck to all.
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Posted by W8LIFTER
2 years ago

Kansas +6.5 LARGE
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Posted by pacesetterpicks
2 years ago

Being from the south I see plenty of sec(were kentucky went undefeated) bball and I guess most have not watched Kentucky actually play or it would be much different post here. I understand taking the points but to say that Kansas will win is simply crazy. Kentucky will win this one and I would say that covering 6 will not be an issue. They have played at about 85-90% effort wise as they really only play at opponents level but should play @ 110% on this final stage as this team will be broken up by the NBA , not to mention its for a national title. The media talks only about robinson/davis but Kentucky is loaded with talent and Kansas will not be able to come from behind against this team. I believe Kentucky 72-62 !! Kentucky -6 and under 137 is the play. Good Luck to all .
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Posted by oldtexx
2 years ago

Only way coach Cal loses this is by opening it up. That will not happen, and the under is a dead lock. cats and under.....
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Posted by PRClemente21
2 years ago

Kent -3 in the first half and when that line hits 7 before game time, I'll take Kansas.
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Posted by sirrobinhood
2 years ago

kansas 71 kentucky 70. the nightmare continues for coach cal.......
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Posted by julius18
2 years ago

The smart bet is the over 137. Plenty of free throws at the last 2 minutes of the game.
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Top Response

Posted by oldtexx
2 years ago

"Only way coach Cal loses this is by opening it up. That will not happen, and the under is a dead lock. cats and under....."