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SHOWDOWN TIME IN NCAA

March Madness ends tonight in a showdown between between Utah and Kentucky -- two college basketball teams very much alike on the floor but with very different histories.

The 60th National Collegiate Athletic Association championship game, to be played in San Antonio's Alamo Dome, will be broadcast at 9:18 p.m. on Channel 4 and on WBEN-AM (930).

The Utes and Wildcats both boast balanced scoring, strong rebounding, great defense and coaches striving for their first national championships, Rick Majerus and Tubby Smith.

Kentucky, college basketball's winningest program all-time, is in its third straight NCAA title game and 10th overall. The Wildcats (34-4) are in search of their seventh NCAA title and second in three seasons. In contrast, Utah (30-3) has qualified for its first title game since winning it all in 1944.

The Wildcats also may own a psychological edge. They knocked Utah out of NCAA Tournaments in 1997, 1996 and 1993. Kentucky's average margin of victory in those games is 21 points.

Tonight, Kentucky is favored by three points.

To reach the final, Utah held North Carolina to its second-lowest point output of the season in a 65-59 victory in the Final Four semifinals, while Kentucky used a 16-4 run against Stanford in the second half of their 86-85 overtime victory.

For more on the game, see today's Sports Tab.

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