2011 NCAA Final Four: The madness is what makes March great

UCONN, Kentucky, Butler, and VCU.

Wow. Wow. Wow. Only two out of the 5.9 million people playing the Bracket Challenge on ESPN picked the correct Final Four and this is exactly why we call it March Madness.

While VCU and Butler seem like the two most unlikely teams to be in the Final Four, all four of these teams are here against the odds.

This year's final four was the epitome of March Madness and showed exactly why the NCAA Tournament is the most exciting championship event in sports. No one knows what will happen and sometimes knowing a lot is a complete disadvantage.

People that were informed about college basketball would have likely picked a completely different final four. Those that are considered experts or opinion leaders probably said that UCONN would be tired after a grueling five games in five days in the Big East Tournament. They probably said that Kentucky was a young team who lost a lot of talent last year and would not be able to get past Jared Sullinger and Ohio State.

There was no way that a mid-major school like Butler could reach the Final Four for the second year in a row, especially after they lost their best player from a year ago. VCU, well they did not even deserve to be in the tournament (which is something I still believe), and would certainly not beat USC, Georgetown, Purdue, Florida State and Kansas.

This is exactly what is perfect about March Madness. The unpredictability and the fact that anyone can beat anyone is what makes it so enjoyable. A team has to play their best for six straight games because any one off-day can end their season.

Winning in March requires more than just basketball skill. Teams often need to display their mental toughness, resiliency and execution.

This year, more than any year in recent memory, it seemed as if there were a lot of games lost by teams who simply failed to execute down the stretch.

We witnessed teams lose because they were unable to inbound the ball in five seconds, because they got inexplicable backcourt violations and because of inexplicable late-game fouls (yes, I am talking to you Pittsburgh, but Butler, we did not forget that you made the same bone-headed mistake just seconds earlier).

Major sporting events usually come down to late game execution, but the frequency and significance of the crucial sequences make March the most enjoyable month of the year.

Butler and UCONN will be favored in the Final Four this weekend, but as we have learned throughout this tournament, being favored means absolutely nothing.

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