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Can Butler Win The NCAA Championship?

Submitted by on April 4, 2011 – 12:43 pm4 Comments

It appears to be an oxymoron to call Butler a “Cinderella Story” after making it to the NCAA Championship game in back-to-back years. But what else can you call it? Surely nobody thought they would make it to the NCAA title game last year. This year? It was the same exact story. If anybody claims that they saw Butler’s run coming, I’d have to call you a liar.

I mean, seriously, Butler? Again? Yeah right.

But here they are, the tiny 4,500 student campus in Indiana that has become the little engine that could. A Butler team that stomped through the NCAA tournament like they have been through this before because…well…they have. Last year, Butler came inches from toppling Duke to cap off an improbable NCAA title run. This year? Well, they are the veterans when paired up against a UConn team that hasn’t been to the title game since 2004, where they beat Georgia Tech for the title.

Led by Kemba Walker‘s remarkable emergence as a bona fide star and quite possibly the best UConn player to ever touch the court, third-seeded Connecticut is looking to play keep-away with Butler’s glass slipper. But Butler is walking into this game as the darlings of the tourney and will likely have most of America cheering for them.

It’s a tough one to call because neither team should have gotten this far. UConn’s Big East tournament run of five games in five nights surely drained them heading into the tournament. But their will to win (and Walker’s incredible playmaking ability) pushed them into the title game. Butler’s ranking as a #8 seed likely proved their demise from the start. However, the Bulldogs are here after plowing through powerhouses Pittsburgh and Florida to make it to the championship game for the second time in as many years.

It has been unpredictable to say the least. Arguably the most unpredictable tournament in NCAA history. Can Butler cap off this bracket busting tournament with a remarkable win? Or will UConn send the Bulldogs home yet again empty handed. We’ll just have to tune in tonight and see.

This tournament is a testament to how much NCAA men’s basketball has changed over the years. Gone are the monsters that often dominate these tournaments. No Duke, no North Carolina, no Ohio State, no Kansas. It’s Butler who has had the best NCAA tourney run in the past two years. I’m not sure Butler can say they saw this coming. As with most Cinderella stories, the dance only lasts that one year and then you never hear from that team again. But if the slipper fits, wear it.

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