Well, I’m sure by now 99% of people’s pools and brackets are all screwed up. The Final Four is an unlikely group of Cinderella Stories, including Virginia Commonwealth Rams, Butler Bulldogs, UConn Huskies and University of Kentucky Wildcats. One of those four teams will take home the coveted championship next Monday, April 4th in Houston at Reliant Stadium. Crazy, huh?
None, let me repeat, NONE of the best sports analysts top picks to win the NCAA Championship Title even made it to the final four. This is the first final four in history that a number 1 or 2 seed did not make it.
What’s even crazier is that neither the Bulldogs nor VCU (one of which WILL play for the title) was a lock to make the tournament at all. Butler in the Horizon league had a record of 6-5 early on. VCU couldn’t bring home the W in any of its final four regular season conference games. However, since Butler won at Milwaukee to win the Horizon League Tournament title and VCU was deemed acceptable by the selection committee, bada bing, bada book…you’re lookin’ at a future NCAA Men’s Basketball Champion.
A point of interest: the Horizon league has won more Final Four Victories (one) in the span than the Big East, whom have not won a game in the final four since Connecticut’s 2004 championship.
Speaking of which, perhaps the Huskies were just plain overshadowed this year? They had quite the impressive record (12-0) but were tied for 9th in the Big East regular season (9-9). UConn won five games in five days in the Big East Tournament. In sum, they’ve been a on a very nice 9 game winning streak.
The Kentucky Wildcats have dealt with quite the upheaval with their team this year. Early on, DeMarcus Cousins, Patrick Patterson and Daniel Orton were all recruited in the NBA draft. This left poor freshman, Enes Kanter, to fill those shoes. Kanter has done a remarkable job. The Cats have been on a winning streak since Florida and Vanderbilt victories. Kentucky has been on a 10-game winning streak. Perhaps their most amazing win to date was when they took down No.1 overall seed and Big Ten regular-season and tournament champ Ohio State and the ACC regular-season champ.
So, in the end, how does that saying go? “It’s not the size of the dog that matters; it’s the amount of fight in the dog.” Well, something like that at any rate. These four teams prove that it’s all about playing a little basketball with a whole lot of heart.
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