The Final Four

Everyone’s talking about, and most rooting for, the hometown Butler Bulldogs, who will play today a few miles from their campus at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indy, Peyton Manning’s home field.

Many are aware of the connection between Butler and the true story of Milan (Ind.) High, the inspiration for Hoosiers.  Milan’s now-famous win in the Indiana High School Championship game in 1954 was played at Butler (now Hinkle ) Fieldhouse.

A few other, lesser-known tidbits:

  • Although a monumental victory for little Milan High, they actually lost in the state semis in 1953, so they were expected to be a good team in 1954.
  • In the 1954 state quarterfinals, they beat Crispus Attucks High, featuring a talented sophomore named Oscar Robertson.
  • Oscar and Attucks went on to win the Indiana state title in both 1955 and 1956.

On to today’s games.  Make no mistake, Butler is no Cinderella underdog (they’re actually favored in the game).   They feature three players from the US National 19-and-under team and have been in and around the Top 20 since the preseason.  It’s a typical Michigan State team based on defense and rebounding that will try to overpower Butler.  I’m not sure the “home court” deal really favors Butler; I think it might actually put too much pressure on them.   That said, they performed quite well under pressure throughout the tourney.  I’m saying Butler 71, MSU 66.

West Virginia had a great Big East season, a tremendous Big East Tournament and a great two weeks so far.  Butler and Ebanks are an excellent tandem and Joe Mazzulla killed Kentucky.  This is a good-but-not-great, balanced Duke team which plays ferocious defense and dominated on the offensive boards last week.  I say the Mountaineers get a big, late three and hit their foul shots:  West Virginia 83, Duke 74.   

Of course, what the hell do I know?  I picked both MSU and Duke to lose last week.   It would be disappointing, but not surprising, if both traditional powers advance to Monday.  Let’s hope at least one of them do not.

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2 Responses to “The Final Four”

  1. Meghan Merriman Says:

    Yeah Butler! Hoping for Duke at this point but still a half to play Glad to see you have come to Day 3 Everyday is a step in the right direction

  2. jerseyyankee Says:

    Yeah is right! Second game didn’t quite pan out as well, but it does make for a great match tomorrow night. I’m hanging in, thanks for support.

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