With the college basketball season finally on the horizon, the game that's been overlooked by many in conference realignment will once again have the center stage. Perennial contenders will once again make a run at a national title while some new faces will pop up as well. The first four-part preview will focus on the conferences, and more specifically who will win each of the 32 leagues.
In the latest installment in his "Coaching Greats" interview series CHN writer Jon Teitel spent some time with both former Wright State head coach Ralph Underhill and his long-time assistant Jim Brown (Underhill was dealing with some medical issues at the time of the original interview). In 18 seasons at the Dayton school, Coach Underhill won 356 games, a Division II national title and led the Raiders to an appearance in the 1993 NCAA Tournament.
The end of the college basketball season is here, for better or worse, and the national title game matches a pair of teams few expected to get to this point on Selection Sunday much less at any point during the regular season. The Butler Bulldogs are back where they saw their season end a year ago, and if Gordon Hayward's half-court shot were a few centimeters to the left we're talking about a possible repeat.
In the first game of the night in Houston, Butler was able to withstand an early barrage of VCU three pointers to take a six-point lead into the intermission. After an even start the Bulldogs allowed themselves to be drawn into the Rams' hectic style of play, breaking the pressure for three pointers instead of attacking the rim.
How they got here
VCU (Southwest Region champions)
W 59-46 over USC (First Four)
W 74-56 over (6) Georgetown
W 94-76 over (3) Purdue
W 72-71 over (10) Florida State
W 71-61 over (1) Kansas
Butler (Southeast Region champions)
W 60-58 over (9) Old Dominion
W 71-70 over (1) Pittsburgh
W 61-54 over (4) Wisconsin
W 74-71 (OT) over (2) Florida