Once again, this BRACKET BLOG also will serve as an open discussion thread for tonight's national championship game. A game preview follows after the jump.
- First Four
- East Region
- Southeast Region
- Southwest Region
- West Region
- Third Round
- Sweet Sixteen
- Elite Eight
- Final Four
- No. 3 seed Connecticut Huskies
- No. 8 seed Butler Bulldogs
- Houston, Texas
The Road Ends Here
No. 3 Connecticut (31-9) vs. No. 8 Butler (28-9)
April 4 | 8:23 p.m. CST | Houston | CBS
Jim Nantz | Clark Kellogg | Steve Kerr
How They Got Here:
No. 3 UConn 56, No. 4 Kentucky 55
No. 8 Butler 70, No. 11 VCU 62
Kemba and the Miracles run headway into The Butler Way tonight. Which will prevail?
If Kemba Walker leads his team to a third tournament championship this year, he'll go down as one of the most impactful players in college basketball history. You could fill an hour-long DVD highlight reel with his exploits this year.
If Butler wins, it will be the greatest Cinderella story since Villanova won it all in 1985 or when Jim Valvano cut down the nets. Brad Stevens will be enshrined as the hottest young coach in America, a neo-John Wooden, if you will.
Game-wise, the key to the game is not whether Butler can slow down Walker. Nobody can do that. The key is whether the Bulldogs can keep supplemental players like Jeremy Lamb and Shabazz Napier from going off, as well. Arizona and Kentucky failed in that regard.
Meanwhile, Butler has shown some weaknesses against pressing defenses throughout this tournament run. While UConn lacks sufficient depth to press, the Huskies are long and athletic. The only comparable team Butler has faced in The Big Dance is Pittsburgh, and the Bulldogs were damn lucky to win that game.
This will be a tough, physical game. I think it will be tightly contested for 35 minutes, with the winner pulling away late.
GAMER: UConn 69, Butler 66
Pomeroy: UConn 69, Butler 65
Sagarin: UConn 67, Butler 63