Basketball? It’s pure Madness

Butler teammates celebrate the overtime victory over Florida that brought them to the Final Four. (photo by David J. Phillip)

Jordan Cannava

To start the tournament, there were 64; now, they’re down to four. Virginia Commonwealth University, Butler University, the University of Kentucky, and the University of Connecticut are the last four teams left in this year’s March madness. I don’t think that anyone could have predicted this as the final four.

The first game will pit Butler against VCU on April 2 at 6:09 p.m. in Houston, Texas. When these teams were selected, the top analysts all said that VCU would be out in the first round, and that Butler wouldn’t make it further than the Sweet 16.

Yet just a year ago, Butler was a last-second half-court shot away from beating the powerhouse that is Duke University. They are a very well coached team and play very good defense, and mistake-free offense. VCU, on the other hand, has never before made it past the first round. They are also a very well coached team and play great defense. The only difference between these teams could be the deciding factor: VCU is very good from the three-point line. Still, I am going to have to go with Butler on this game; they have been here before and know how to win here. Also, there is a reason they have been to the final four two years in a row. I have Butler winning this game 77-68.

The second game, between the University of Kentucky and the University of Connecticut, will be played on April 2 at 8:49 p.m. in Houston. Unlike Butler and VCU, these teams didn’t surprise the analysts when they made it to the Final Four. UConn hasn’t lost a tournament this year, including the Maui and the very competitive Big East. Kentucky, on the other hand, stayed quiet this year. They weren’t a very dominant team, but won the big games when they needed to.

No analyst felt that Kentucky was going to be this good again after losing three of their starting five players to the first round in the NBA draft.  But Kentucky looks like a very different team from last season; they play very good offense all are, all around, a very balanced team. Also, they have one of the top five coaches in the game in John Calipari. He has taken three different teams, including UMass Amherst, to the Final Four.

UConn also has an unbelievable coach in Jim Calhoun, who won the March Madness tournament in 2004. But there’s more: UConn also has perhaps the greatest player, Kemba Walker. There hasn’t been a team that has been able to shut him down at all this year. That is the reason I have to go with Uconn in this game, winning 81-79.

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