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2012 Final Four: Jeff Withey A Big Part Of Kansas' Success

The Kansas Jayhawks are headed back to the national title game for the first time since 2008, when Bill Self's Jayhawks beat John Calipari's* Memphis Tigers in a thrilling title game. Now, Self's Jayhawks will facie another Calipari team, this time in the form of the top-seeded Kentucky Wildcats.

And, according to SI's Stewart Mandel, Jeff Withey is a big reason why.

Withey, who now has a school-record 136 blocks on the season, soundly rejected Craft, allowing Kansas to set up an uncontested layup by Travis Releford to cut the deficit to single digits just as the half ended. Still, only one team in Final Four history had overcome a larger halftime deficit in a semifinal game than the one facing the Jayhawks.

But Withey set the tone again shortly into the second half when he blocked three shots from Ohio State All-American Jared Sullinger within a 35-second span. The first set up a fast-break opportunity for Elijah Johnson, whose jumper cut the score to 36-29. The next two came on both an initial jump shot and put-back attempt by the 6-9, 280-pound Sullinger. The clearly affected Buckeyes star would finish just 5-of-19 from the field.

Mandel's entire article is well worth the read. Hopefully for Jayhawks fans, Withey will be at his best again on Monday night -- and he'll need to be as the Jayhawks will be against Anthony Davis and Terrence Jones.

For more on all things Kansas Jayhawks, be sure to check out Rock Chalk Talk.