Getting to know the 2011 Final Four teams

30 Mar

If you’re a novice college basketball fan, you’ve probably heard of powerhouses like UConn and Kentucky, but may have never heard of VCU or Butler until recently, so lets take a closer look at all four schools.

Butler Guard Shelvin Mack

Butler

Location: Indianapolis, IN

Enrollment: 3,897

Team Mascot: Bulldogs

How they got to Houston: d. Old Dominion (60-58), d. Pittsburgh (61-60), d. Wisconsin (61-54), d. Florida (74-71)

Greatest basketball moment: Coming within centimeters of winning the 2010 national championship.

Why is the school called Butler? The university is named Ovid Butler, an abolitionist newspaper editor who died in 1881.

Take a look at Butler→

VCU Guard Joey Rodriguez

Virginia Commonwealth

Location: Richmond, VA

Enrollment: 21,835 (56.4 percent female)

Team Mascot: Rams

How they got to Houston: d. USC (59-46), d. Georgetown (74-56), d. Purdue (94-76), d. Florida State (72-71), d. Kansas (71-61)

Greatest basketball moment: This. While making the Final Four is the unquestionable highlight of VCU’s history, the school isn’t without its NCAA tournament memories. In 1985, the first year of the 64-team field, the Rams entered March as a No. 2 seed. They didn’t make it out of the first weekend though thanks to an upset loss at the hands of Alabama. The first-round win would be VCU’s last until Eric Maynor hit a 15-footer to upset Duke in 2007.

Reason to root for them: This sign was hung during a rally sending the team off to San Antonio for the southwest regional. It refers to Dick Vitale’s badmouthing of VCU’s at-large bid.

Take a look at VCU→

UConn's Mr. Everthing - Kemba Walker

Connecticut

Location: Storrs, Conn.

Enrollment: 28,372

Team Mascot: Huskies

How they got to Houston: d. Bucknell (81-52), d. Cincinnati (69-58), d. San Diego State (74-67), d. Arizona (65-63)

Greatest basketball moment: The 1999 championship led by Richard Hamilton and Khalid El-Amin completed Connecticut’s transformation from elite regional team to national power.

Fact about Jim Calhoun that may surprise you: This is only his fourth Final Four. Only is a relative term, of course — four Final Fours is a grand achievement only accomplished by 17 coaches in history. I just sort of figured Calhoun’s total was higher than that. Before this year, the UConn coach was tied at three with guys like Steve Fisher, Larry Brown, Ben Howland and Nolan Richardson.

Reason to root for them: Kemba Walker is a joy to watch, plus, in the picture above it looks like he’s trying to bring back the high five.

Take a look at UConn→

Outstanding Kentucky Freshman - Terrence Jones

Kentucky

Location: Lexington, Ky.

Enrollment: 28,037

Team Mascot: Wildcats

How they got to Houston: d. Princeton (59-57), d. West Virginia (71-63), d. Ohio State (62-60), d. North Carolina (76-69)

Greatest basketball moment: Take your pick from any of the seven title teams, but the 1995-1996 squad was the most dominant, finishing 34-2 after rolling through the SEC with a perfect mark and steamrolling opponents in the NCAA tournament.

Famous alumni: Ashley Judd

Famous alumni who didn’t star in “Kiss the Girls”: John Scopes, the defendant in the Scopes trial.

Smart quote to make others think you’ve been following Kentucky all along: “Jorts are the new black.”

What not to say at your Final Four party: “Rick Pitino looks a little different than I remember him, but he still has tremendous hair.”

Take a look at Kentucky→

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