The NCAA bracket results 2011 have an eighth seed playing for the title. No bracket has seen that in over 25 years, yet the results for this NCAA tournament are even more unprecedented than that. When UCLA went to the final as a No. 8, it came several years after their legendary dynasty ended. When Villanova did it in 1985, they took advantage with one of the tournament’s legendary upsets. However, if Butler repeats Villanova’s success, it will be even more unlikely than that famed upset, albeit in different ways.
Regardless of the seeding, few college basketball fans, if any, have seen anything like this. The Bulldogs raised enough eyebrows by getting a shot away from last year’s championship. Doing it again this year, as a No. 8 who started off at 14-9, is almost pushing the limits of believability.
Very few teams, even in power conferences, have done what the Bulldogs have done in the last two Marches. Duke made it to a second straight title game in 1991, after famously avenging their 1990 championship loss to UNLV. The Blue Devils then won it all – unlike Michigan, who lost two straight finales in 1991 and 1992. Kentucky lost the second of their three straight finals in 1997, and got back on top in 1998.
Since then, no one has reached the season’s last Monday night, until this little powerhouse from Indianapolis. It has been decades since the bracket has seen a mid-major, a defending national runner-up, and an eighth seed win it all. So if Butler wins, the 2011 NCAA tournament will be a perfect storm of history.
But one nearly unforeseen run is battling another tomorrow, although UConn has hardly been as shocking. Yet no one saw them as a contender to start the season, or even to start the postseason. However, they haven’t lost to a team outside of the Big East, and have won every tournament game in Maui, New York and the Big Dance. A win would also make the Huskies only the fifth team lower than a No. 2 seed to win it all since 1989.
Yet no program lower than a No. 4 has won the whole thing since Villanova in 1985. Like Butler, they were a No. 8 seed facing a powerful Big East opponent, albeit one more heavily favored in Georgetown. But the Wildcats slowed the game down and took out the Hoyas’ unstoppable stars, as the Bulldogs hope to do against Kemba Walker and the Huskies.
Considering the results in this bracket, and in last year’s, it would seem rather anticlimactic for Butler to lose again. But the NCAA tournament is usually protected from finale upsets, at least in the last two decades. Tomorrow night, the last game of 2011 will either keep that tradition alive, or shatter the last barrier of conventional wisdom.
ESPN- “NCAA Basketball Tournament – Bracket”
CBS Sports- “Seeds in the Final Four”
Boston.com- “Final thought process is different this time for Bulldogs”