One more game. One more more point. And one last chest bump.
Coach Brad Stevens and his Butler team hope to celebrate a win, cut down the nets and be crowned 2011 NCAA Champions.
Everything has been written and everything has been said. Finally in a couple of hours, the NCAA Championship game will tip-off from Houston—at 9:23 p.m. EST on CBS.
Nothing says big time like Jim Nantz, Clark Kellogg, and Steve Kerr on the broadcast. It’s a shame CBS tries to please west coast viewers with such a late start. Both Butler and UConn are on eastern time. You think a kid in elementary or middle school is going to be able to stay up and enjoy the madness. Not a chance.
These Bulldogs have done the unthinkable, making it back to the championship game for the first time in a row. A team I thought, along with many others that were out of it in January.
Starting 14-9, a team that lost to Evansville, Wright State, Milwaukee and Youngstown State are on the verge of history. The Dawgs have rallied to win 14 straight and now are determined to end the season with a special 15th win in a row.
It’s hard not to catch the Butler fever. Unlike Indiana, Purdue or Notre Dame, the Bulldogs don’t have any enemies. Butler has been the ignored younger brother because of his older brothers successes. It’s a historic night win or lose.
Brad Stevens is 2-1 in April. Read that again. 2-1 in April—meaning the Final Four. It’s a rare opportunity for the majority of NCAA teams to make the tournament, nonetheless be amongst the final four. Coach Stevens, 34, is finishing up his fourth season as head coach and already has played in two NCAA Championship games. That matches some hall of fame careers. Wow.
There have been an abundance of speculation in regards to the future of Coach Stevens at Butler. Dan Wetzel said it best in his Yahoo.com article saying, “He’s already home.” Like many others have discussed, I don’t see him leaving except for a top-five job—Duke, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky and North Carolina.
The Butler Way cannot be defined, it cannot be mistaken. Teamwork, perseverance and desire are a few of the characteristics that make up Butler teams.
UConn and Butler. Major and mid-major. Veteran coach and up-and-coming. Good vs. evil.
It only seems fitting that Bulldogs comes away victorious tonight. They have battled through adversity, stuck together and are downright a fun team. No matter the outcome, we will all remember this special run that captured the hearts of basketball fans throughout Indiana.
Should they win, this would be a storybook ending destined for a movie.
They were the little engine that could. Now, Butler has turned into a prominent basketball contender year in and year out.
The players are not only representing Butler but the state of Indiana. Ten of the 14 players on the dogs roster are from the basketball state. Hustle and heart. It’s Indiana basketball.
And after all is said and done, around midnight, one of the best parts of the tournament is on display – One Shining Moment. It puts a wrap on the college basketball season and depicts key highlights from yet another memorable tournament. Take a listen.
Here’s to a great game, great finish and an ensuing parade in Indianapolis should Butler come away victorious.