"They've got a great will to win," Kentucky coach John Calipari marveled. "They're a veteran team. They've got juniors and seniors, and they have a great will to win. It's been amazing."
Taylor, the Jayhawks' fearless senior guard, recalled a sense of calm against the Buckeyes in the national semifinals. Kansas couldn't splash a shot in Lake Pontchartrain, and Ohio State was having its way inside, but there was a feeling all along that Kansas was just fine.
"We know that getting down five points, 10 points, it isn't the end of the world; and being up five or 10 points doesn't mean the game is over," he said. "We've been through so many situations like that this year. Being up and being down doesn't mean the game is over."
Self claims to be having a "blast" leading his team through these nip-and-tuck games.
He could have fooled about 73,000 fans Saturday night.
Despite having one national title already on his resume, Self still stomped and twirled and gesticulated like a wild man on the elevated court inside the Superdome, theatrics at their best on college basketball's biggest stage.
Later he appeared cool and relaxed, perhaps because the same story had played out so many times before.
"You look at our last four tournament games, Purdue has us down and out, N.C. State to a one-possession game, North Carolina to a one-possession game. ... It's been amazing how they've grown to trust each other," Self said. "It's been a blast to watch."
Regardless of whether you believe in fate, that's where most people would agree.
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