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Nobody, and I bet nobody, would have thought that this Gordon Hayward-less Butler Bulldogs team would make it back to the Final Four. A team that struggled in their own Horizon League is now back into the Final Four. They are dropping teams like no other: Old Dominion, Pittsburgh, and Wisconsin. And now the next victim? Florida.

I, and surely every other basketball fan, remembers that moment: Hayward taking that half-court shot. Sports Science says he was just a few inches off for the shot to go in. Matt Howard and Shelvin Mack have been the leaders throughout the tournament for this team. Mack continues to pile on points while Howard makes big shots. He got a game-winner, twice.

It was Mack’s turn today. He would hit a solidifying three-pointer to bring Butler up for good, 72-70. Mack would have 27 points, and now Butler is riding back to the Final Four for the second straight season in a row.

“This is a huge deal,” said Zach Hahn. “I don’t know that any other mid-major has ever done this. It’s hardly happened once, let alone twice. It’s an unbelievable feeling.”

Like all the other games, Butler won a game in a suspenseful, surprising finish.

“We just kind of stayed together, stayed the course, figured it out, and just played resiliently,” Butler coach Brad Stevens. “I’m incredibly proud of these guys. They carried their coach in a big way. … Our players did a great job, and (they are) just a special group. We’re really lucky that they’re Butler Bulldogs.”

Butler will either face VCU or Kansas to play for an championship bid appearance.
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Meanwhile, Kemba Walker continues to show that he is the best player in college basketball right now as he continues to lead the Connecticut Huskies. Walker had 20 points and seven rebounds as UConn topped Arizona to advance to the team second Final Four appearance in three years. Jeremy Lamb helped out with 19 points.

UConn won’t stop until they get a net clipped in Houston.

“This is no time to be tired,” Walker said. “We’re trying to get as far as possible. We want to win this whole thing.”

From the get-go, I had UConn winning the Tournament. Right now, I am still very confident that they will. Arizona had a chance to win in the final seconds, but the Wildcats just couldn’t pull through.

“The second one, I thought it was definitely going in,” Lamb said. “When he missed it, I looked at the clock and saw zero-zero, and I just went, ‘Whooooo.’ It’s the best feeling I’ve ever had.”

UConn will have to face either Kentucky or North Carolina to get into the NCAA Championship game.

I am really confident that it will be UConn and Butler in the National Championship. There’s my vote right there. I guess we’ll see what happens.

But a great night in college basketball!


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