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Kansas Vs. Kentucky, NCAA Championship 2012: Jayhawks Must Start Strong To Contend

The Kansas Jayhawks have made their mark in this 2012 NCAA Tournament by clawing at the end of games to take over. They did it against Ohio State and in the games that brought them to this point in the Final Four. Now as they stand with one opponent left in the Kentucky Wildcats, the question is whether or not KU can again afford to fall behind.

"In each of Kansas University's last four NCAA tournament wins (Purdue, North Carolina State, U of North Carolina, and Ohio State), the Jayhawks have gotten off to horrible starts in the first half," writes Pat Murphy. "Poor shooting, turnovers, ineffective defense and overall lack of execution put the team in a hole early on. Each time, KU has finally found its rhythm in the second half. What will head coach Bill Self do to get his team engaged early?"

Kentucky is such a dominant presence with so much NBA-caliber talent that it might not be possible for the Jayhawks to climb back into contention if they fall so far back early on. Ohio State had a 9 point lead at halftime, but KU's stellar defense led to the familiar happening once again. This time, Self will likely look to have his team charged and ready from the outset instead of needing 20 minutes to find their rhythm.

Any other way and it might be the Wildcats hoisting a trophy when everything is said and done.

For more on this game, visit Kentucky blog A Sea Of Blue and Kansas blog Rock Chalk Talk. Head over to SB Nation NCAA Basketball. For all your 2012 March Madness needs, stay tuned to SB Nation's dedicated NCAA Tournament hub.