By Keith Antigiovanni
The 2012 NCAA Final will be the Big-12 champion Kansas Jayhawks and the SEC champion Kentucky Wildcats tonight in New Orleans. Its surprisingly these two great programs have never met in an NCAA Final before.
The Wildcats are in the Finals for the 11th time (1948, 1949, 1951, 1958, 1966, 1975, 1978, 1996, 1997 and 1998) and has previously won the NCAA title 7 times (1948, 1949, 1951, 1958, 1978, 1996 and 1998).
The Jayhawks are making their 9th Finals appearance (1940, 1952, 1953, 1957, 1988, 1991, 2003, 2008) and won the championship in 1952, 1988 and 2008.
Ironically, Kentucky Coach John Calipari lost to Kansas only four years ago when he was coaching the Memphis Tigers. Since Calipari left for Lexington after the 2008 championship game he has returned the Wildcat program to prominence the past 4 yrs when he lead them to the their first Final Four last year since the 1998 championship season and tonight has a chance to win the programs' first title in 14 years.
Meanwhile in Lawrence the Jayhawks are making their third Finals' appearance in the past 10 years (2003, 2008, 2012). Current Coach Bill Self replaced Roy Williams when Williams left for UNC just after the 2003 championship game. Self has kept the Jayhawk program on top the past 9 years by winnning 8 straight regular season Big-12 titles and 5 Conference Tournament championships.
Self's Jayhawks defeated Calipari's Tigers 75-68 in overtime to win the 2008 NCAA title.
Ryan Newman won at Martinsville yesterday in the 6th race of the NASCAR season. The win helped Newman jump from 10th in the overall standings to 8th place.
Biffle is still in first place while Stewart, Kenseth and Harvick are tied for third. Bowyer and Johnson moved down to 9th and 10th respectively.
The top 10 in points this week are:
Greg Biffle 226
Tony Stewart 214 2 wins
Matt Kenseth 214 1 win
Kevin Harvick 214
Martin Truex Jr. 214
Denny Hamlin 210 1 win
Ryan Newman 202 1 win
Clint Bowyer 192
Jimmie Johnson 189