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Sports This is the NCAA national title game we all deserved

19:51  06 april  2020
19:51  06 april  2020 Source:   usatoday.com

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a group of people posing for the camera: Udoka Azubuike of the Kansas Jayhawks holds the Big 12 Championship Trophy alongside teammates after defeating the TCU Horned Frogs to win the game at Allen Fieldhouse on March 4. © Jamie Squire, Getty Images Udoka Azubuike of the Kansas Jayhawks holds the Big 12 Championship Trophy alongside teammates after defeating the TCU Horned Frogs to win the game at Allen Fieldhouse on March 4.

The 2020 college basketball season will always be marked with an asterisk. 

The NCAA Tournament was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, leaving teams and fans without a "One Shining Moment" montage that would've been playing Monday night after the national championship game. 

Last year's overtime thriller between Virginia and Texas Tech was just the latest in epic title games. But this one had the chance to deliver one as well.

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In USA TODAY Sports' simulated bracket, the 29-2 Dayton Flyers faced off against the 28-3 Kansas Jayhawks in the championship game. Even though it would've pitted two No. 1 seeds against each other, it would have put an underrated program (Dayton) up against an ultimate blue-blood — and the top overall seed in the tournament (Kansas). 

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a group of people wearing costumes: Kansas Jayhawks guard Devon Dotson (1) shoots against Dayton Flyers guard Jalen Crutcher (10) in the first half during the championship game of the Maui Jim Maui Invitational at the Lahaina Civic Center. © Brian Spurlock, USA TODAY Sports Kansas Jayhawks guard Devon Dotson (1) shoots against Dayton Flyers guard Jalen Crutcher (10) in the first half during the championship game of the Maui Jim Maui Invitational at the Lahaina Civic Center.

While it's a title game that could've been, it's a matchup we got to see a glimpse of Nov. 27 in the Maui Invitational – an 90-84 overtime victory for KU. It's important to note two things from that game: It took All-Americans Udoku Azubuike and Devon Dotson scoring 60 combined points to pull off the win and Obi Toppin, USA TODAY Sports' national player of the year, didn't dominate – finishing with 18 points on 6-for-11 shooting. 

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Before the 2019 season started, members of the LSU football team, knowing the national championship game would be in New Orleans, made a resolution: They would not be denied.

Kansas won 17 of 18 games in a grueling Big 12 slate behind Azubuike, Dotson and Big 12 defensive player of the year Marcus Garrett. "Nobody had a better season than we did," coach Bill Self said on a March teleconference. "This team deserves as much credit as any team I've ever coached." 

Dayton was likewise impressive, going 18-0 in Atlantic 10 play and only losing twice all season – both in overtime – to KU and then Colorado in December. Toppin hogged a ton of the spotlight for his highlight-reel dunking and clutch playmaking, but coach Anthony Grant had a veteran-laden team that was deep. Similar to Virginia last year, Dayton seemed like it was on a mission to do something special. 

If Dayton vs. Kansas 2.0 happened, the Flyers would need to game plan better against Azubuike. Self utilized the big man to perfection in his offense, with Azubuike creating for guards and other frontcourt players. But if Dayton could manage with big men off the bench and keep the 6-9 Toppin out of foul trouble, then it would've come down to perimeter shot-making. 

"Our greatest strength is that we're not just one guy," Toppin told USA TODAY Sports in March. "What makes us such a dangerous team is that we believe we could beat anybody in the country. We believe we can cut down the nets." 

But as dominant as Kansas was this season, a national title could've come down to one or two baskets.

We had Kansas winning 66-65 on a last-second bucket.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: This is the NCAA national title game we all deserved

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