(SAN ANTONIO) — How many of you have Butler in your Final Four?..... liars.
Could Butler coach Brad Stevens pretty much just name his price for any opening in the country? It sounds like he’s not interested in cashing in, but wouldn’t it be interesting to see what happens when a Brinks truck pulls up in front of his house in Indianapolis. I’m trying to think of a better story in college basketball—how would you have reacted if someone had told you three years ago that Butler would go to consecutive Final Fours?
It’s little wonder that VCU coach Shaka Smart is the flavor of the moment. First, and foremost, the guy has won four games in the NCAA Tournament. Beyond that, he’s a remarkably bright and charismatic guy. Just 33 years old, he’s the youngest coach in division one. Coming out of high school in Ohio, he turned down Harvard, Brown and Yale of the Ivy League to go to division three Kenyon College because he liked their basketball coach. Raised by his mother, the name Shaka comes from his father who borrowed it from an African king—Shaka Zula. Smart says he likes the name because it evokes the image of a warrior—but it reminds me of Shaka Kahn. Smart says, he’s heard that before, maybe he’s in the midst of changing that perception.
Talking with KU guard Tyshawn Taylor yesterday, he gets why America loves the underdog—and understands that many will be pulling for VCU today, but doesn’t mind being the evil step mother to VCU’s Cinderella. It’s easy to forget that this is as far as many of these Jayhawks have gotten in the tournament—in that, they’re living a fairly tale themselves. Only Brady Morningstar, Tyrell Reed, and redshirt Conner Teahan have reached the Elite Eight..today they get to the Final Four.
VCU deserves all the credit they’re getting, but they’re in against a difficult matchup today. Florida State pounded the Rams on the boards but didn’t shoot the ball well, if they had the ‘Hawks would be playing the Seminoles today. KU will rebound at least as well as FSU and are the top shooting team in the country, I don’t know how the Rams will counter that. Kansas has won three games in the NCAA by an average of 16 points, they approach that margin today in advancing to next week’s Final Four.