Monday, April 5, 2010

The Butler did it, so put your Duke up

It all comes down to 40 minutes of hoop action tonight in Indianapolis. After a field of 62 other potential winners was whittled down to a final two left standing, the NCAA college basketball champion will be crowned tonight. As the nation has always pulled for the underdog (remember the Saints?), the sentimental favorite will be tiny upstart Butler University, an Indiana school with fewer than 4,500 students. The oddsmakers say the smart money will be on Duke, the only surviving #1 seed from the four regions that began the tournament several weeks ago. Butler is more than just a Cinderella team, as many sportswriters have called it. The Butler Bulldogs have won 25 straight games, which puts them in some pretty distinguished company and they are playing fantastic defense. The last team to hold as many tournament opponents under 60 points was Villanova in 1985, the year the Wildcats clinched the national championship. There is little doubt that the home field advantage will go to Butler, whose gymnasium was the film site for the heralded movie "Hoosiers." Partially based on the high school championship won by Milan High School in 1954, the 1986 film featured a fictional Indiana team and some have called it the greatest sports movie of all time. Brad Stevens, an Indiana native in his third year as head coach at Butler, will also ignite fellow Hoosiers' desires in his battle against seasoned foe, Mike Krzyzewski, playing in his eighth national title contest at Duke. While the Blue Devils from Duke have been criticized for failing to have played substantial foes, the fact remains they have not fallen from their ultimate perch. Duke has played smart ball. Their players seem to be the more healthy of the two teams, but when it comes down to these final minutes of college basketball play, all available members on both teams will play. It looks like it will be a close game with a dramatic ending and it should be one for the record books.

No comments: