Reporting Tim Kephart
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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – It’s been four years since the Kansas Jayhawks took the floor to play for the national championship. During that game, a point guard hit a buzzer-beating 3-point shot to force overtime.
Since then, Mario Chalmers went from national championship game savior to the starting point guard alongside the Big Three of the Miami Heat. Chalmers actually spent much of last offseason working out in Lawrence with most of the players Kansas will put on the floor Monday night against Kentucky.
The Jayhawks survived a close game against Ohio State on Saturday to make it to the championship game Monday night, which can be seen exclusively on CBS4 starting at 9 p.m. (tip time is set for 9:23 p.m.).
Chalmers told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel he gave teammate LeBron James a hard time after Kansas came back to win against James’ favorite college team. James also has a past relationship with John Calipari and the Kentucky Wildcats, so Chalmers may get to do it all over again Monday night.
For the Jayhawks, the championship game could culminate a season that many thought the Jayhawks might have a less than stellar season. But head coach Bill Self, along with superstar Thomas Robinson, wouldn’t let that happen.
Kansas truly took off after a late season come from behind win over arch-rival Missouri. The Jayhawks stumbled in the Big XII Tournament, but came back strong in the NCAA’s before starting out the Final Four with about as bad of a first half as a team could play.
But Self and Robinson brought the Jayhawks back from the specter of losing in the Final Four to having the team on the cusp of another national championship.
To get the elusive national title, the Jayhawks will have to upset arguably the most talented team in the country, Kentucky. The Wildcats are loaded with NBA prospects including possibly the number one and two picks in the NBA Draft in Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.
The game will also be a matchup of a team full of one-and-done players using a single-season of college as prep time for the NBA and the Jayhawks who have a team full of veritable veterans in the world of college basketball.
The game will likely shape the legacy of Calipari at UK. He’s left a stained program everywhere he’s been and while UK fans have enjoyed the success, Calipari’s track record in the big game hasn’t been great. If Coach Cal can’t win it this season, many will question whether he can win it at all.
Kentucky and Kansas have a tip time of 9:23 p.m. Eastern Time Monday night and the game can only be seen on CBS4.