Written for your enjoyment by: Ray Curren
Pigs flying through the sky. Hitting the lottery. Me managing the Yankees.
All things I thought had a bigger chance of happening than Butler playing in the Final Four this season.
I saw them play, saw their numbers, saw them picked into Syracuse's bracket and thought it was a great matchup for them. Butler, out of the mighty Horizon League, didn't see many zones and didn't see anyone with the size of the Orange.
Wrong, wrong, and horribly wrong.
The point is that predicting the future - and that includes sports - is darn near impossible, despite what the ghost of Jimmy the Greek will tell you.
For approximately the 35th straight year, Butler is a team I had out in the first round that will play in the Final Four.
And they should have been out. UTEP had a big lead on them at halftime on the first day of the tournament when I had to leave to go to soccer practice. When I came back, Butler had won by 19. In the second round, Murray State had them dead to rights, but Butler pulled it out in the end.
With a few days to prepare for the Syracuse zone, the rest is history. As a logical person, these types of things anger me. Syracuse is supposed to win the game against Butler because they have a better team.
But tournaments (and sports in general), don't work that way. As Herb Brooks said, "Nine times out of 10, they beat you. But not tonight." I'm sure Northern Iowa could have given the same speech before they beat Kansas. that's the beauty of the underdog.
Unless you're not the underdog.
And although I come off as bitter (because I am), all credit to Butler, who played the better game last week. They were better prepared and deserved to win with all the mistakes that Syracuse was making. If Arinze Onuaku could have played, would the result have been different? Probably. But that really doesn't matter now, does it?
The thing about games like this, as a coach or as a fan, is that they happen. Your team gets upset. They should have made this play or that play. The other team makes a 3-pointer that bounces high in the air and goes in.
You can analyze and overanalyze and uberanalyze, but you can't find a reason for everything in sports. That's what makes them so interesting to watch.
A few days later, this one still hurts. In trying to figure out why, I think Syracuse men's basketball is the team I'm most attached to these days in sports.
I've rooted for the Yankees since childhood, but that's almost apologetically these days with the amount of money they spend. I root for Chelsea soccer in England, but I've never actually gone to a game in London. I root for the Giants in football, and they would probably be second.
There's something about your alma mater, though. Especially a likable bunch like this team was.
But they lost. That's life. I'm not going to analyze it any further than that.