The Wildcats hit 35 of 37 attempts in a 102-90 victory in the regional semifinals against Indiana. Since then, they've followed it up by making 30 of 44 against Baylor and 11 of 20 against Louisville for a combined average of 64 percent over the last two games.
"I hate leaving points at the line, especially since it's wide open, no one moving," Kentucky forward Terrence Jones said. "We're usually pretty good down the stretch, especially in close games, when it comes down to it late in the game, knocking down free throws.
"Hopefully it doesn't come down to that, but if we do, I trust my team. We've got a lot of great free throw shooters."
MUST-SEE TV: It's safe to say Bill Self and John Calipari don't like watching the same things.
Take the video of the 2008 NCAA championship game, the one where Calipari's Memphis Tigers missed four free throws down the stretch and blew a late nine-point lead in an overtime loss to Self's Kansas Jayhawks.
Self has watched film of that game so many times he's practically worn his copy out.
"I could recite just about every possession if you want to go through it right now," the Kansas coach said Sunday. "Doing my little elliptical (machine) every day, I watched the game every day. I worked out 50 straight days or something like that."
Calipari, on the other hand, has never seen it.
Not only that, his tape of that game might still be lying along a San Antonio roadway somewhere.
"That tape was flung out the door of the bus as we were going to the plane," said Calipari, now the coach at Kentucky. "I have never looked at that tape, nor will I."
It's not just that loss, though. Calipari doesn't like watching tape of any game his team loses.
"I haven't looked at the Connecticut tape from last year. That was thrown out," he said, referring to Kentucky's loss to the Huskies in the national semifinals. "The only thing I would learn from that thing is, 'Oh, my gosh, we lost.' I'm moving on."
One of the coaches will have something new to add to his viewing queue after Monday night's final. Kentucky plays Kansas for the title in a rematch, of sorts, of that 2008 game.
DUELING DATES: The NCAA and NBA differ on when a player must decide whether he's returning to school or going to the pro ranks.
Last April, the NCAA Division I Legislative Council adopted a proposal that requires student-athletes who declare they're interested in the NBA draft to remove their name from pro consideration before the first day of the spring National Letter of Intent signing period that begins April 11, nearly a month earlier than the previous deadline.
The new deadline gives players just four days to review recommendations from the NBA's undergraduate advisory committee, a group of NBA team executives who offer a private projection of the player's draft status.
NBA teams can't workout underclassmen until they are notified by the league about who is eligible for the draft after the NBA's April 29 deadline for early entry eligibility.
The new dates mean players may be able to say they're returning to school to satisfy the NCAA requirement, only to later declare their eligibility and leave before the NBA's deadline. Kentucky coach John Calipari said recently he's not a fan of the dueling dates and that he's only interested in the NBA one.
"We're not going to worry about the (NCAA) date. Our guys will tell me when they want to tell me ... whenever the date is to make a decision by the NBA standards," Calipari said. "That's the only one we're going to the think about. So if they want to wait to make a decision by the (29th) when they have to by the NBA, that's when they'll make it.
"We're not even_I don't even know the other date, nor do I care."
FRIENDLY WAGER: A trophy and bragging rights are on the line for Kansas and Kentucky's basketball programs. For the governors of the two states it's food.
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback is wagering beef that the Jayhawks will earn their second national championship in four years. Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear has a Kentucky country ham riding on his team's chances. The winning governor will donate the food to a food bank.
Brownback noted that Kentucky coaching legend Adolph Rupp is from Kansas. He played for Phog Allen and coached high school ball before eventually landing at Kentucky.
AP National Writer Nancy Armour and Sports Writer Dave Skretta contributed to this report.
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