March 28, 2011
Two Cinderellas, One Ball Game
Virginia Commonwealth University and Butler University both had extremely difficult roads to the NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four in Houston.
Butler is an 8-seed team out of 16 possible seeds in 68 possible teams, putting them around the 32 rank (approximately). The team had been consistently good throughout the school year but suffered a drought near the end of the season, putting them at a lower seed, giving them a much more difficult pathway to the NCAA championship. First, they took down 9-seed Old Dominion, a team they were expected to beat.
Then, they battled their way through 1-seed Pittsburgh, a team that was expected to go at least to the championship game, if not to win it all. Butler took down Pittsburgh with a last-second shot, winning 71-70. Then, the team had to fight against another solid top-10 team, Wisconsin. Next, 2-seed Florida. Now, they take on VCU.
VCU’s road has been arguably more challenging than Butler’s. First, they didn’t even think they’d get into the NCAA tournament at all. Then, it was announced that they would have to play a game against the USC Trojans just to get a spot in the 64-team bracket. They beat USC easily, but they were still at a disadvantage, because not only did they have to play an extra game than every other team, but they had to immediately take on 6-seed Georgetown.
After Georgetown, VCU took on 3-seed Purdue, who was another team expected to go to the Elite 8, if not further. They squashed Purdue, winning 94-76 and building their confidence. After 10-seed Florida State upset 2-seed Notre Dame, VCU had another buzzer-beating game, winning 72-71 and advancing them to the Elite 8 to take on 1-seed Kansas.
Kansas was a team many, many people picked as their champion. It was a close and exciting game, but somehow, VCU managed to pull away with a double-digit advantage, pummeling Kansas with a 71-61 score.
I really hate to see VCU and Butler play each other in the Final Four instead of the championship game. They’re both great Cinderella stories and they both deserve to play in the final match, but unfortunately for them, the fate of the bracket brought them together before the final round, and one of them has to suffer a heartbreaking loss.
Personally, I’m rooting for VCU, but regardless of who wins this game, it’ll be an NCAA tournament that people will remember forever. Make sure to watch VCU vs. Butler on April 2!
Posted by Shaane at 9:33 am