Kansas managed to dig out another victory. Now they'll play in the last game of the season. Photo courtesy David J. Phillip/Associated Press

Well, folks, the championship game is set. The mighty Kentucky Wildcats will play a surprising Kansas Jayhawks team for the national title tomorrow night. But the focus in the NCAA tournament always seems to be around the Final Four and not the title game itself. Accordingly, who am I to not join in?

Last night’s game weren’t anything too memorable but they are nonetheless worth talking about. Here are some thoughts I had while watching the various regional champions do battle yesterday.

Kansas-Ohio State Was More ‘Spring Training’ Than ‘March Madness’

Following Kansas’ comeback victory last night, a big debate has ensued: was it a miraculous Jayhawk rally or a miserable Buckeye collapse. I, for one, saw the game in a different light. To me, Saturday’s second Final Four game felt more like a baseball game than it did a basketball game with only one team on offense at a time.

In the first half, Ohio State took Kansas completely out of their game. The Buckeyes prevented the fast breaks and held the game up at a tempo they were comfortable with. The result was a visibly frustrated Jayhawk squad that appeared to be fighting to avoid a blowout more than anything else.

Then, in the second half, Ohio State went ice cold. I mean ICE cold. If Flick from A Christmas Story licked Ohio State guard Aaron Craft, his tongue might’ve gotten stuck. Usually if your lineup is struggling to hit decent looks at the basket that badly, it’s a good idea to get some fresh guys in there. Coach Matta clearly didn’t subscribe to that school of thought because his bench only played a COMBINED 29 minutes as the team only played eight men all game.

And so it was; Ohio State went to bat first and Kansas followed. All the while the referees made bizarre call after bizarre call. Both coaches stuck with their opening lineups as the two teams combined for a whopping total of three bench points. This wasn’t a tournament basketball game, it was a 5-on-5 weekend intramural. Competitive, but ugly.

NoLa is Nothing But Majestic as a Final Four Site

Losing hurts all the more when there are 80,000 people to witness it. Photo courtesy David J. Phillip/Associated Press

Can we hold every Final Four in New Orleans from here on out? Even on the “small screen” the visuals of a packed Superdome crowded around an elevated basketball court were nothing short of sensational. When the players headed for the locker rooms it looked more like a journey to Mecca than a halftime jog. Apparently that’s how they roll down in the bayou.

To fully appreciate what I just said, you must first understand two things. To begin with, I’m usually annoyed by elevated courts. The bench is in a subterranean dwelling like an in-house theater orchestra that nobody cares about while the players IN the game look like they might fall off the stage. Second, I usually also think football stadiums make terrible basketball venues. Yes, it’s a bigger site, but who really gets a kick out of seeing the nosebleeds only peppered with a handful of fans that couldn’t afford better seats.

Neither of my traditional gripes apply here. Instead of minimizing everything around it, the elevated court in Louisiana felt like an epic ring for gladiators to do battle. And if there was an empty seat available in that massive dome, my 55-inch television certainly didn’t catch a glimpse of it.

So let’s keep this trend going. Houston was cool last year, but New Orleans has been nothing short of awesome. If we’re going to move the venue, let’s only move it to a bigger, badder locale. But I warn you: in “basketball mode”, the Superdome seats almost 80,000 people. That’s going to be hard to top!

Kentucky Unleashes Its Monster

There are many reasons people have been talking about how talented the Wildcats are as a team. But the discussion hasn’t always included their shining star, Anthony Davis. That’s because, despite his team burning and slashing their way through this tournament, Kentucky’s Anthony Davis has been relatively quiet. But all that changed Saturday evening.

To best some up what DavisĀ  brings to the lineup, one only needs to look at his alley-oop dunk in the second half. Off a perfectly lobbed ball, Anthony Davis didn’t jump so much as he simply materialized in midair, grabbed the ball with one palm, and slammed it home in a single, effortless motion. On a national stage in front of tens of thousands of people, Davis looked like he was practicing on a Fisher-Price toddler basket. THAT is why he was the AP player of the year.

Granted, Davis is still incredibly young and at times can be inconsistent. But when he is on his game, he isn’t just a beast in the paint; he’s the Hulk, The Flash, and Mister Fantastic all rolled into one. Needless to say, that combination could be lethal in the championship against Kansas on Monday night.

A Self-ish Endeavor

Coach Bill Self gets a bum wrap for struggling to win the big games but not nearly enough credit for continuously getting TO said big games. Photo courtesy David J. Phillip/Associated Press

That isn’t meant to be an insult. In fact, I’m now wholly impressed by what Coach Bill Self has done this season. Has Kansas played pretty? No. Did they lose games they should’ve won easily? Yes. But one has to remember that this KU squad was one many thought wasn’t even going to secure an at-large bid into the dance.

Instead, Bill Self has taken a team with substantially less talent than the year before and gone farther into the NCAA tournament. Last year’s star-studded squad was eliminated by a double-digit seed while this year’s club could walk away national champions. Talk about irony.

Even if Bill Self and the Jayhawks lose to Kentucky — even if they get CLOBBERED by the Wildcats — he still deserves a world of credit. They could’ve lost to Purdue. They could’ve conceded against Ohio State. But they didn’t and a roster that, by almost all accounts, was labeled a “down year team” might be remembered as one of the better Jayhawk teams in history.

Louisville Points Out the Holes in Kentucky’s Game

You can run through all the cliche, borderline obligatory things Kentucky’s Coach Cal could’ve said about Louisville after that game. They’re a great team, they made us work for the win, we have to tip our hats to them. Yaddah, yaddah, yaddah. Blah, blah, blah. Here’s what you WON’T hear Calipari admit: Louisville came as close as anyone in this tournament to beating us.

Not only did Louisville make it a game in the second half, they did it the hard way. Rallying from thirteen points down to tie the game 49-49, the only reason the Cardinals didn’t take it down to the wire was the fact that they simply ran out of juice. But Louisville showed, by frustrating Marcus Teague and getting him in foul trouble, you can throw a wrench in the gears of an otherwise well-oiled machine. Also, Kentucky missing their free throws helped a bunch.

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When Bryan isn’t watching basketball, he is on Twitter! Follow him @bclienesch!