The Final Four schedule 2011 has been set up for days. But today, the schedule will be put into action at last. Fans have had a week to rehash how one semifinal is all about the Cinderellas, and another is all about the Goliaths. Yet there will finally be something new to talk about tonight, once the semi finals tip off at last.
For those watching on TV, coverage begins on CBS at 4 p.m. EDT. The pregame only lasts two hours, which makes up about one-third the length of the Super Bowl build-up. But the Super Bowl is only one game, whereas today’s lineup has two.
The actual action begins at 6:09 p.m. EDT. At that point, Butler and VCU will start the most unlikely semifinal of all time. Not only are midmajors facing off, eighth-seeded Butler is actually the favorite over 11th seeded VCU — yet favorites have not fared well around these clubs.
Sometime after 8 p.m., one so-called magical story will reach an end, while another has one more chapter on Monday night. But after the Final Four finds its championship David, the next part of the schedule will determine their Goliath.
40 minutes after Butler-VCU ends, Connecticut and Kentucky will tip off. Due to being the only big names left in the tournament, the Huskies and Wildcats make up the marquee game of the doubleheader. But they had to make a late season rally themselves to even get here, as these aren’t the all-powerful UConn and Kentucky teams of the past.
Nevertheless, this is more old hat for the Huskies than it has been for the Wildcats lately. Connecticut last reached this stage in 2009, while Kentucky hasn’t been here since its 1998 championship. In fact, Butler is the most experienced program in this group, since this is their second straight appearance.
Once the schedule ends tonight at around 11 p.m., the Final Four will be down to the last two. At that point, fans only have to wait 48 hours for the next game instead of an entire week. But since Monday night shows the last game of the season, for all the marbles — and with one midmajor underdog guaranteed to show up — it may feel like a longer wait for the audience.
The NCAA tournament has been longer than usual this season, with the “First Four” starting things off two days early — and proving to be more important than expected, thanks to VCU. But no matter when it starts, or how many networks broadcast, it always ends in the same way.
As always, CBS closes everything out, with the traditional Final Four schedule on the first Saturday on April. Then by the end of the first Monday of April, either Butler, VCU, Kentucky or Connecticut will stand all alone.
CBS Sports TV Schedule