Butler did it again!!

Now we are down to two. The NCAA Division 1 Basketball Tournament, which started with 68 teams 19 days ago…is down to the Final Two. The #3 seed Connecticut Huskies will face the #8 seed Butler Bulldogs on Monday night to determine the National Champion. For the second year in a row a mid-major team is in the Championship Game.  Butler is the lowest seed to play for the National Title since Villanova won it as an 8 seed in 1985.  Somewhere John Thompson II just threw a towel in disgust.
This year’s Final Four included the highest combination of seeds in tournament history. Over the last 25 years the average seed of a Final Four team is 2.5. This year? 6.5, the highest ever.

This year’s Final Four had an 11th seeded VCU team that was looking at it’s 6th straight upset including a play-in game just to get into the tournament. They lost 5 of their last 8 regular season games. Their inclusion in the tournament field was met by more scathing hatred than the ticket holders for Charlie Sheen’s first live show in Detroit last night.
#4 seed Kentucky had a better team LAST season, but 4 of those guys were first round NBA draft picks.
#3 seed UCONN finished NINTH in their conference this year.
#8 seed Butler made the championship game LAST year and came within one half court shot of winning the whole thing. But their superstar was drafted ninth overall into the NBA.

The first semifinal game was VCU against Butler.  The nation hasn’t seen a bigger underdog since Susan Boyle.  Butler’s defense was too much for VCU to handle as the Bulldogs triumphed 70 to 62.  Even though VCU star Jamie Skeen posted a 27/6/3 line, Butler held VCU to 39% shooting and 12 points under their tournament average.  Their 34-28 halftime deficit was the first time they were behind at half in the tournament.

Although VCU quickly went on a run to start the second half, Butler’s Zack Hahn came off the bench to score all 8 of his points in a 90 second stretch that helped Butler pull away.  Bradford Burgess hit 3 3-pointers in the first 7 minutes of the game, but only 1 three the rest of the game to finish with 15 points.  Shane Mack paced the Bulldogs with 24 points and 6 rebounds.  VCU finished with a record 61 3s in the tournament, but they were only 8-22 from 3-point range on Saturday.  The fact that they were outrebounded 48-32 didn’t help either.

So now Butler takes it’s 14 straight wins in the championship game where they hope they are 1 shot better than last year.  They haven’t lost since February 3rd, and they play their home games in the same arena where Hoosiers was filmed.  Maybe Jimmy Chitwood will be watching?  So the 1954 Milan team that the movie Hoosiers is based didn’t win the Indiana state title the first time, but they did win their second time around.

The second semifinal game Saturday night pitted a Kentucky team that is the all time winningest program in college basketball.  Their 105 tournament wins tie them with North Carolina for the most all time.  Their opponents, the UCONN Huskies, haven’t lost since their last regular season game against Notre Dame.

Back in November, these teams met in the Maui Invitational with the Huskies winning 84-67.  This game would be much closer.  UCONN prevailed 56 to 55.  The combined 111 points is the 3rd lowest ever since the shot clock was instituted in tournament play back in 1986.  Kentucky is a young team that was led by freshman Terrence Jones and his 11 points, 15 rebounds and 4 steals, but as a team

shot 33.9% from the field and had a scoreless stretch of 5:39 in the second half.  Their first half wasn’t much better….their worst 1st half all year had them down 31-21 at halftime.  Things could be worse…you still have Ashley Judd on your side, not Lindsay Lohan.

Junior Kemba Walker led the Huskies with 18 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 assists.  They head into the championship game Monday night on a 10 game winning streak.  5 wins in 5 nights in the Big East Tournament and 5 wins in this tournament so far.  Counting the 3 tournaments UCONN has entered this year (Maui Invitational, Big East, NCAA) they are currently 13-0.

Last but not least..Jim Calhoun won National Titles in 1999 & 2004 emerging from the West region.  Guess where they were sent this year?  Yep..the West.

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Comments
  1. Sean Haverty says:

    Look for clam chowder Jim to step down if we wins Monday night. The Nate Miles investigation into his illegal recruitment at UConn is about to blow up.

  2. frankthetank44 says:

    Yeah I heard Miles is going to finally talk to the investigators. Should be interesting. Glad it wasn’t Calhoun vs Calipari in the Finals.

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