I sounded like a broken record on Sunday afternoon, "what I great story. What a great story. This is just a fantastic, amazing story," I announced over and over again to my father, brother and fiance, who each probably wanted to slap me 10 minutes after the No. 11-seeded Va. Commonwealth Rams upset (should we continue to use the word 'upset' anymore?) No. 1 Kansas Jayhawks, 71-61, in the 2011 NCAA Tournament Southeast Regional finals at the Alamodome in San Antonio, TX.
"Who would have thought it? Wow. Butler is going to play VCU Saturday for a chance to play for a national title on Monday. Heck, either one of those teams could beat Kentucky or UConn. Holy crap. UConn is still playing, that's another great story..."
I think, I continued talking about how the VCU basketball program beat a Pac-10 (USC), Big East (Georgetown), Big Ten (Purdue), ACC (Florida St.) and now a Big 12 conference (Kansas) opponent to become the fifth No. 11 seed in men's basketball history to reach the Final Four. I also muttered something about how the Rams (28-11) became the first team ever to win five March Madness games to reach the Final Four in Houston, TX. (Remember, ESPN's Jay Bilas and Dick Vitale screaming into your television screen about how much of a travesty it was that the basketball program from Richmond, VA. earned a first-round, "play-in" contest against the Trojans?)
Then, I ranted about the No. 8-seeded Butler basketball program that will reach its second straight Final Four under head coach Brad Stevens. By now, everyone knows about the Bulldogs Nation Title-game loss to Duke last year; and how still Stevens and his band of Davids are still composing songs that make Goliaths bow down. This year, the Horizon League Champions (27-9) are pulling off another stunning NCAA Tournament performance, but this time they don't have their "best member" Gordan Hayward, who bolted for the NBA after narrowly missing the game-winning, half-court shot that almost shocked the world last season. "No kidding," I added. "I bet if you were to hop on a plane to Rome, visit the Vatican and proclaim, 'I've witnessed miracles, Bulter made it to back-to-back Final Fours,' they'd buy it."
From there, I mentioned how unreal it is that junior guard Kemba Walker is still doing what he's doing; and that somebody may need to test the Bronx, N.Y., native for some sort of PED (just kidding) because not even Lance Armstrong could keep up with Walker's pace. In a 19-day span that featured nine games, five of which came in consecutive days (that led to a Big East Tournament title), and concluded with the No. 3 Connecticut Huskies (30-9) edging No. 5 Arizona Wildcats, 65-63, Saturday in the NCAA Tournament's West Region finals in Anaheim, Calif. Walker not only played in those games for UConn (30-9), and is still alive, but averaged 26.1 points per game on 45.6 percent shooting. Not too shabby.
I concluded by stating, "love 'em or hate 'em nobody can talk crap about Kentucky's John Calipari now." Why? Because Calipari, who is known more for his slick-haired swagger that gets top-notch recruits to sign on the dotted line than his basketball IQ, and the No. 4 Kentucky Wildcats beat No. 2 North Carolina's legendary head coach Roy Williams, 76-69, on Sunday in the East Regional finals in Newark, N.J. Williams seemed to have the better team heading into the NCAA Tournament, but somehow, some way Calipari got the best out of the Wildcats (29-8).
"The best thing", I said. "Between now and Saturday, there are still more stories to be told."
Over the course of the next three days, SB Nation New York will re-live more stories behind the 2011 NCAA Final Four in this StoryStream. So, please check back throughout the week. For more on our NCAA Tournament coverage visit our March Madness special section.
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