No. 1 vs. No. 2

Sure, Arkansas hired John Calipari away from Kentucky, but there's a national title game coming tonight that features the nation's best two teams. Here's what you need to know.

I used to think when Alex Rodriguez was the king of stealing the headlines during a championship event. We have a new king. And his name is John Calipari.

After 15 seasons at Kentucky, news emerged that Calipari will be the next coach at Arkansas, one of the more stunning coaching moves we’ve seen in the last 20 years. It’s a five-year deal for which he’ll reportedly receive between $7.5-$8 million a season. Who are the prime candidates to replace him at Kentucky? Click here.

The introductory press conference will be Tuesday, and this’ll be the story until then. At least until tip-off tonight.

So, let’s get into content for the national title game.

1. This is the game everyone wanted

With apologies to Houston, UConn vs. Purdue is the the rare NCAA Tournament title game where the sport’s two best teams actually meet in the final game.

And if you think fans are the only ones excited by it, you’d be wrong.

"I think it's just great for college basketball,” UConn coach Dan Hurley said. “Us and Purdue, we've clearly been the best two teams in the country the past two years, and it's just great for college basketball to get the two big dogs playing on Monday night."

Purdue coach Matt Painter and all the players echoed those sentiments on Saturday night and on Sunday. They know what’s at stake, and why a win like this would add a little something extra to a title. You win and you beat a team the defending champs or you beat the team with the two-time NPOY? That’s historic.

“This is what we wanted,” Edey said. “We would not have it any other way than this, to have to go up against UConn.”

UConn’s on an all-time tournament heater, outscoring opponents by 125 points this season, which is more than any other team since 2008. And Purdue’s not far behind: 98 points, which would place it behind only ‘16 Nova (124), '2009 UNC (121), ‘23 UConn (120) and ‘18 Nova (106).

Only 2016 ‘Nova faced a team close to its caliber in the title game. Here are the other times No. 1 vs. No. 2 in kenpom faced off.

Subscribe to The Field of 68 Daily to read the rest.

Become a paying subscriber of The Field of 68 Daily to get access to this post and other subscriber-only content.

Already a paying subscriber? Sign In