Monday, April 4, 2011

March Madness Ends in April

Tonight is the final game in the NCAA Tournament.  And what a tournament it has been.  Butler University and University of Connecticut will play for the championship.  Relatively few people even knew about Butler until last year whey they became the Cinderella team of the tournament.

For several years Butler has been a household word in our home with coffee mugs and other items with the Butler logo.  Our son graduated from Butler University.  He met our wonderful daughter-in-law there.  So we have a personal interest in tonight's outcome.  Besides that, how can you not love their adorable mascot and youthful, charming and unbelievably poised coach?

[All photos from the Internet]

The Team

Matt Howard

Matt Howard is a star player on the Butler team.  His father is a mail carrier in a small town (Connersville) in Indiana and Matt is one of ten children.  His father's work ethic is such that he has missed only one day of work in 33 years.  Everyone in town knows the Howards and everyone in town is delighted that one of their own is playing for the national title tonight.

Last year the Final Four was held in Indianapolis.  This year Texas hosted the final games.  The people in Connersville knew that the Howards were people of modest means and did not have enough money for travel and lodging and would have to watch their son's games on television along with the rest of us.  So the small town decided to band together and send the family to watch the Final Four.  The people of Connersville (population 13,481 in the 2010 census), held bake sales, car washes, and did every sort of fund-raising activities they could think of.  Almost every little store. restaurant, and gas station had a big jug for collections.  And they did it!  You can see an interview with the family here.  It is such a heart-warming story of small town America coming together.

The Butler team was not allowed to bring their mascot, a bulldog named Blue II, to the early round games.  But the NCAA officials said that if the team made the Final Four, Blue would be allowed on the floor.  And sure the Final Four games there was Blue.

Blue II, the Butler Mascot

I hope you enjoy college basketball as much as we do.  We have gone through some nail-biters during this tournament.  And we are delighted that the Butler Bulldogs are playing in the final game tonight.  And we are glad the Howards will be watching their son.  And we're glad Blue will be there as well.

Enjoy the game!


The Bug said...

Oh we'll be glued to the tv tonight - & pulling for Butler. It's just so cool to have them make it this far!

Rudee said...

I'm set to record the game while I work tonight. I'm rooting for Butler, too. We've been treated to an amazing month of college hoops.

Melissa Weisbard said...

I absolutely LOVE basketball. My team is the University of Louisville Cardinals (my Alma Matter). I try to catch every game when they play. I was really sad that they couldn't proceed further in the tournament, but it was a rough year for them. They had a ton of injuries and I'm surprised they did as well as they did this season. I also like the University of Kentucky Wildcats, but I don't regularly watch their games. UL and UK are fierce rivals and in Kentucky you either bleed RED (UL) or bleed BLUE (UK). I'm totally bummed that the season is over and I'll be counting the days to next October (when UL starts playing exhibition games).

Good luck to your Butler Bulldogs! I'll be rooting for them as well.

Anonymous said...

Not only are they good, they're so darned NICE, according to my Indiana grandsons. The boys met them during their weeks at summer Butler Basketball Camp and the Father/Son basketball weekends.

My daughter sent me a picture of Norad and one of the grandsons when they were at the Butler hill, sledding. (How's that for down-to-earth?!)

Even Blue II is nice--the little guys pet him after the games. And you're right - who wouldn't like Brad Stevens?!

NYT has several articles in today's paper about them. Thanks for writing this. I love reading about good guys!

Now, GO, BUTLER!!!

PS. Don't forget to mention that the fieldhouse was the setting for Hoosiers movie. People may not have heard of the school, but may have seen their gym. Funny, huh?!

KB said...

I have found myself following the women's tournament more closely than the men's this year. It has been amazingly exciting too!

But now, you've made up my mind about which team to root for tonight. Blue and his Butler team!!!!

Chrissykat said...

I'm so glad I stopped by your blog to read this story. Now I have a reason to have an interest about either team. What a truly fantastic thing that town did to get the Howard's to the games. Wonderful.

George said...

As a former Hoosier, I know where Butler is and have been on campus. We will certainly be cheering them on.

George said...

As a former Hoosier, I know where Butler is and have been on campus. We will certainly be cheering them on.

Elora said...

Go, BUTLER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What an incredible tournament it's been!

Elora and MM!!

Carolina Linthead said...

I know a number of Hoosiers...not sure any of them are really "former" even though they no longer live in Indiana. Butler has my attention and support tonight, for sure! Love the down-home players, the adorable, brilliant coach, and the small school sticking it to the big more to go. And I adore Blue II!

Busy Bee Suz said...

What a wonderful feel good story. I HOPE they ROCK it tonight!!!!

Nellie from Beyond My Garden said...

I enjoy basketball, but don't watch it much any more. Your sweet story makes me want to watch this one. Go Blue! ( I just checked and we don't get the channel)

carolina nana said...

Go Butler,I had already decided to pull for them because I def don't want Uconn to win and now after your story I'll cheer even louder.
Have a blessed basketball evening !!

Taradharma said...

too bad it was such a lousy game!!! Both, never have I seen so many missed shots in all my life!! Sorry Butler lost...what a weird game.

Vicki Lane said...

Alas, it was not to be for Butler. Of course, for my husband, March Madness ended when Carolina lost...