Kentucky will win the national championship Monday.
It's that simple.
The Wildcats have been the nation's best team since its NBA-in-waiting lineup arrived on campus last fall. That they lost twice this season just means they're human.
Kansas will become a footnote in the final, the team served up before Kentucky dons the crown. Maybe Wildcats coach John Calipari will smile a little knowing he can avenge a loss to Jayhawks coach Bill Self, who won the 2008 national crown over Calipari and Memphis. Of course, those Tigers were stripped of their Final Four appearance when guard Derrick Rose was ruled ineligible over a questionable SAT score.
This time Calipari will get the title. There won't be another heartbreaking loss like the one in the 1996 Final Four, in which his Massachusetts team lost to Kentucky (that appearance was vacated, too). Calipari avenged that loss Saturday when the Wildcats ousted Louisville and coach Rick Pitino.
Kentucky is a 6-point favorite and beat Kansas 75-65 on Nov. 15. While Kansas' defense, which let it slip past Ohio State on Saturday, is outstanding, nothing matches Kentucky's quickness.
The Wildcats certainly will be running. Adrenaline rules the first 30 minutes of a national championship game before each side reconsiders its strategy.
Kentucky offers blue bloods from the bluegrass with three NBA lottery picks and five first-rounders on the court. Yes, the Wildcats could beat the Washington Wizards, which was the biggest speculation around town last week -- other than Mega Millions lottery numbers.
Anthony Davis is the nation's best player, but Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is dominant as well. The Wildcats often scored one-on-three inside against Louisville on Saturday because of laser passes and quickness. Kentucky was past defenders before they knew it. It was only the in-state rivalry and Louisville's passion for offensive rebounds that kept the game close.
Louisville did Kentucky a favor by mounting two serious challenges in the game. The Cardinals hardened the Wildcats by forcing Kentucky's best effort. Now instead of a letdown following the impassioned rivalry game -- which prompted fans to burn couches in the streets of Lexington, Ky., afterward -- the Wildcats are ready for the Jayhawks.
Indeed, Kansas may be the team worn out by the Final Four semifinal. Ohio State led by 13 early, and it took everything Kansas possessed to win 64-62. The Jayhawks led for less than four minutes. That has to leave them gasping against a team that will run early and often. There's no way Kansas can repeat that kind of comeback against Kentucky.
Calipari knows favorites can lose in the final. The odds slightly favored his Memphis team against Kansas four years ago. But Kentucky is better than those Tigers, and Kansas isn't as good as it was in 2008.
The nation's best team all season will end with the crown. It seems only fitting.