What a show the boys have put on for us! The men's Final Four is imminent and will feature the #5 Butler Bulldogs vs. #5 Michigan St. Spartans and #2 West Virginia Mountaineers vs. the last surviving #1 seed, my beloved Duke Blue Devils. How we got to this Final Four, I haven't a clue.
I honestly expected Syracuse in the mix, but they couldn't get past Butler's Willie Veasley in the Elite Eight. Veasley scored 13 points during that matchup, 5 of them during the 11-0 run at the end of that game that drove the nail into the Orange's coffin (and in many ways, my bracket). My good ole Kentucky boys? What can I say? John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins have played good ball, and have received honors as the first freshman teammates to be selected to this year's AP's All-America Team, accordingly. Together, they ended Cornell's surprising run (62-45) and Wall had a freaking fabulous game last weekend, but it just wasn't enough to get them past West Virginia. No, West Virginia played like that was the NCAA title game, securing WVU's first Final Four appearance in 50 years! The Mountaineers are missing their starting PG, Darryl "Truck" Bryant? You'd never know. Not when you got "crazy eyes" Joe Mazzulla scoring a career-high 17 points off the bench. Coach Huggins says that it's "very doubtful" that "Truck" will be on the court Saturday night. But Mazzulla and Da'Sean Butler can hold it down, and if Kevin Jones can score another 18 points like he did against Washington, then my Big 3 (Scheyer, Singler, and Smith) are going to have to be on point to get to the championship game Monday night. The oddsmakers in Vegas say that Duke is the definite favorite to win the title this year, but we need the triple threat to shut it down, or it's gonna be a struggle. At times it felt like we were barely going to get around Baylor (78-71), Singler was ice cold all night—0 points? Nolan Smith stepped up for us--29 points! We haven't been to a Final Four in (gasp) six years! Although Michigan St. made it all the way to the title game last year, to be defeated by North Carolina, the analysts say they're a long shot for the title this year, even though Coach Izzo has a Krzyzewski-esque strong record, taking the Spartans to the Final Four 6 out of 12 seasons. Maybe it's just because I like their chutzpah, maybe it's because I have a crush on their super young (and super cute) head coach, Brad Stevens, maybe it's because I believe their ridiculously-close-to-home-court advantage will give them an extra boost (though they've got to get this ticket scandal squared), but I'm pulling for Butler against the Spartans.
So, I am beyond thrilled say that, after days of waiting for people to get real about ticket prices, I, too, am on the road to the Final Four and will be at Lucas Oil Stadium Saturday night! My vantage point. Paid just a tad above face value for them—not too bad, huh? The boyfriend, who is a diehard West Virginia fan, hailing from Elkins, WV, and I are hoping our relationship makes it through this test. What do you think? We're planning to make the 9 hr drive together, should I book a return flight Tuesday? Either way, one of us won't be a happy camper going home and neither is gracious enough to let it slide. Who are you rooting for?