Game 7-105: NCAA National Championship--The Mid-Majority
Season in Review: Top 15 Storylines From 2010-11--Rush The Court
2. A Tourney to Remember, a Championship to Forget. On the opening Thursday of the NCAA Tournament, still the first “real” day of the Dance to most people, five of the first eight games of the day ended on the final possession. In addition to close games, there were upsets aplenty in the first weekend, as Butler (knocking out #1 seed Pittsburgh), VCU, Marquette, Florida State and Richmond all broke through as double-digit seeds into the Sweet Sixteen. The fun didn’t stop there, wither Arizona and Kentucky beating #1s Duke and Ohio State, respectively, in the Sweet Sixteen, followed by VCU shocking the world with its destruction of #1 Kansas in the Elite Eight. The combined seed total of #3 Connecticut, #4 Kentucky, #8 Butler and #11 VCU was the highest ever in a Final Four, and although the two semifinal games were hard-fought and exciting, the 53-41 championship tilt between UConn and Butler was widely regarded as an ugly finish to what had been a tremendous tournament. Butler’s 18% shooting for the game was the worst-ever in a championship, and the meme that the national sports media was that such a dud represented some kind of fault in the sport itself. Last year’s Duke-Butler championship and 2008′s Memphis-Kansas games were awesome — where were those people then?
7. Butler Pulls Another Butler. In ESPN’s Tournament Challenge this year, only 0.2% of over 5.9 million brackets submitted picked Brad Steven’s Butler Bulldogs to get back to the national title game. And yet there they were last Monday night, after having vanquished Old Dominion, Pittsburgh, Wisconsin, Florida and VCU in succession on its way to another chance at the championship. Unlike last year’s game against Duke, though, there would be no halfcourt heartbreaker this year as the Butler shooters all went cold en masse and UConn ran away from the Bulldogs in the second half. Still, the odds of a mid-major program such as Butler (having lost lottery pick, Gordon Hayward) making it to consecutive national championship games is astronomically small, even in an era suggestive of more parity than ever. Brad Stevens has shown every sign that he he is committed to remaining in Indianapolis, but the true mark of his success there will be the long-term sustainability of BU as a national player after the core group of Matt Howard, Shelvin Mack and Hayward are gone.
13. Don’t Believe the Midseason Hype. At the midseason point, several brand name teams appeared in the midst of a spiral that would leave them on the outside looking in come March. Notably, perennial powers such as Gonzaga, Kansas State, Butler and Michigan State looked like teams headed to the NIT or worse. K-State star Jacob Pullen even noted in a January interview that he had no interest in playing in a postseason tournament without the letters N-C-A-A in it. Partially because of a weak at-large field this season but mostly because each team found itself down the stretch of the season, all four rallied to make the NCAAs, and in Butler’s case, produce another scintillating run at the national title. The lesson here is that sometimes it may take a little longer for excellent coaches to make wine from water, but they usually find a way, as Mark Few, Frank Martin, Brad Stevens and Tom Izzo all did this year.
The Point Guard Conundrum: Should Shelvin Mack Enter The NBA Draft?--Mid-Major Madness
Utah Jazz gameday--Deseret News
A third wheel is a good thing at UIC--ChicagoNow.com
Loyola hires men’s basketball assistant--Daily Herald
Rodell Davis Named Assistant Men's Basketball Coach At Loyola--LoyolaRamblers.com
UWGB basketball: Phoenix-Packers steak fry fundraiser is April 19--Green Bay Press Gazette
Women's basketball: Candidate list for UW job changes--Green Bay Press Gazette
Phoenix-Packers steak fry date set--UWGB Basketball
Tetschlag and Hoewisch Named to NACDA DI-AAA Scholar-Athlete Team--uwgbathletics.com
A Few Final Men's Basketball Numbers--Panther Blog Zone
Meier Named Division I-AAA Athletics Directors Association Scholar-Athlete--uwmpanthers.com
FYI: Basketball Team Banquet--Section EE
Valpo Men’s Basketball Banquet to Be Held April 25--valpoathletics.com
Meier Earns Place on Division I-AAA ADA Scholar-Athlete Team--Horizon League Network
Hoewisch and Tetschlag Named to NACDA DI-AAA Scholar-Athlete Team, Tetschlag Scholar-Athlete of the Year--Horizon League Network