Even though the season has ended for the Jayhawks, the NCAA still feels it necessary to continue playing for some reason. Guess all that money that went into designing the logo for Houston can't be wasted. Anyway, the teams have arrived in Houston and are ready for the big show. Some of us will skip the whole thing without the good guys to cheer on but some of us will continue to watch because we just can't turn away from college basketball. Before the games begin though, I thought I'd go through the teams to help everyone decide which team to support.
First up, the VCU Rams. Not going to be a popular pick around the state of Kansas for obvious reasons. Though I do think there might be a few legitimate reasons to back the Rams in Houston, hear me out before you start calling me names. First, some people just like the Cinderella story. Those people have the right to cheer however they'd like, they just need to remember there's another low seed that qualifies and I'd recommend them first. Another decent reason might be due to the hate VCU received on Selection Sunday. The more they win, the worse the talking heads and anyone else that had an opinion on Sunday looks. And lets face it, everybody loves seeing others with a little egg on their face.
There's a third and (to me) a much more compelling reason to cheer for VCU this weekend. There's a certain team to the east that is looking for a coach and might be getting just a little desperate after this last week. Shaka Smart has already put his name on many lists for the offseason coaching carousel but another win would just up the price a bit. This could do great things for Kansas. It would force the school to the east to pay just a little bit more to a coach that hasn't proven any recruiting chops and could use an insane run to set himself up for life. Would anyone be scared of this coach getting a 7 year contract at 1.5 per in the Big 12? In my opinion, bring him on.
Discussion of the other teams below the jump.
The Butler Bulldogs are in their second Final Four in a row, pretty amazing for many reasons. Not the least of which is that they lost their best player from last season and struggled a bit for the first two months of this season. The Bulldogs were 14-9 overall and 6-5 in the HORIZON League in the first week of February. Of course, they haven't lost since February 3. They've got a coach that uses and talks about advanced stats, admitting he checked out Kenpom's Duke page before they played last year in the championship. Butler not only has the coach story, the back again story, the put the season together story, they also have the Cinderella story. As Kansas fans, we know how hard it is to make the Final Four. They've done it as a five seed and now an eight seed. This is my pick for the weekend, they deserve another shot after falling just short against Duke last year.
On the other side of the bracket, it's really a no-brainer that neither team should garner much support. Jim Calhoun has battled some pretty serious health problems over the last couple of years. between battling different types of cancer and an undisclosed medical leave this year, so a little sympathy here isn't unwarranted. On the flip side of that, UCONN has had an interesting year in dealing with the NCAA. Following a Yahoo! report about the recruitment of Nate Miles, Calhoun has been suspended for three games for next season. The program was also dinged with a scholarship reduction, recruiting restrictions, and probation. The worst part of all this, Calhoun used his assistants as shields from the NCAA. A guy that famously said "he'd never give a dime back" when asked about his salary also wouldn't help his assistants when the NCAA came calling. Pass.
Rounding out the teams, we come to the Kentucky Wildcats. Do I even need to discuss this? Not really, so I'll just give a warning: Just know that if you cheer for Kentucky this year, there's a decent chance that your season will not exist in a few years.