Logan: Hollywood ending in store for Butler?
That's the address of Butler's famed Hinkle Fieldhouse, where the climactic scenes of the movie "Hoosiers" were shot. You can bet media and fans alike will be making a pilgrimage not only to praise the Bulldogs for making their first Final Four but for inspiration for what promises to be the wild conclusion of one of the most unpredictable NCAA Tournaments ever.
The Final Four has marquee names in the form of Michigan State coach Tom Izzo and Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, and in such a wide-open tournament, their experience might make the difference. But West Virginia, the last Big East team standing, is every bit as tough as the Duke team it faces in the semifinals Saturday night, and Butler will ride into its semifinal against the Spartans on a 24-game winning streak and a seismic wave of emotion in its hometown.
I don't know about you, but I haven't got a clue as to what's going to happen after failing to predict a single Final Four team for the only time I can remember in my life. While we won't get to see the game many hoped for - Syracuse's Wesley Johnson vs. Kentucky's John Wall - we have to watch to find out the surprise ending to this Madness.
If there is a common theme uniting little guy Butler (32-4) with Michigan State (28-8), Duke (33-5) and West Virginia (31-6), it's that these four truly scratched and clawed their way to Indianapolis, and you can make a good case for any of them to emerge as champion.
So, here goes:
Butler: Bulldogs coach Brad Stevens should bus his team six miles south to Lucas Oil Stadium, take out a tape measure and run it from the floor to the ceiling to point out how this stage dwarfs Hinkle Fieldhouse. But the baskets are still 10 feet. Butler last lost to Alabama-Birmingham on Dec. 22, and it traveled the toughest road home, upsetting Syracuse and Kansas State in the West Regional. Gordon Hayward, Shelvin Mack and Co. have proven they're not easily written off.
Michigan State: If you say it quickly, Korie Lucious sounds almost like Kalin Lucas, the Spartans' injured star. Lucious has filled in admirably, demonstrating his athletic gifts, and he's surrounded by a talented cast that lost the championship game last year and found a way back.
Duke: With its talent, Baylor should have won the South Regional Sunday, but Duke prevailed with defense, offensive rebounding and clutch three-point and foul shooting. Jon Scheyer and Kyle Singler aren't the best shooters in the world until they need a bucket.
West Virginia: Whatever you think of Duke's toughness goes double for these guys. Who ever heard of a team failing to make a two-point shot for 21:52 and then leading by 16, as WVU did to Kentucky? Duke's size portends trouble, and its perimeter defenders are relentless. Will Da'Sean Butler, Devin Ebanks and Kevin Jones devise a way to win? Hard to bet against them.