Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Butler fans throw Final Four party

Fans cheer on Butler’s Alex Anglin as he carries the Southeast Region championship trophy into Hinkle Fieldhouse.

Associated Press

Fans cheer on Butler’s Alex Anglin as he carries the Southeast Region championship trophy into Hinkle Fieldhouse.

INDIANAPOLIS — Butler prefers old-school basketball and old-style celebrations to all the preseason nonsense.

That's why the Bulldogs wait until late March to hold Midnight Madness.

Hours after earning a second straight Final Four trip, fans moved the party inside historic Hinkle Fieldhouse to get a late-night glimpse of their favorite team, just back from its latest conquest in New Orleans.

"This is better than the Super Bowl," said Suzie McDonald, a Butler grad who brought her 12- and 13-year-old boys and wore a Final Four T-shirt from last year. "We watched guys we knew win the Super Bowl, and this is better because these boys (the Bulldogs) have just been awesome."

Hundreds of fans filtered into the arena between midnight and 1 a.m. Dozens more stayed outside in the cold and wind to trade high-fives and hugs as players got off the bus.

Before that, horns blared through the residential neighborhood and the impromptu pep band played the regular medley of gameday songs.

Why not have some fun?

"We're excited, not by any means satisfied," coach Brad Stevens said. "We're looking forward to next weekend, hope you are. Houston's not that far."

TWICE THE DISMAY: Sitting almost shoulder to shoulder in front of their lockers, Kansas twins Marcus and Markieff Morris never looked over at each other. Markieff picked at a scab on a knuckle. Marcus dropped his head on his forearm.

"I feel like I let everyone down," Marcus said in a low whisper.

He had 20 points and 16 rebounds in Kansas' stunning loss to VCU. Someone pointed out his double double.

"I feel like I let 'em down," Marcus said, his head still dropped.

"We can't take it back," Markieff said, his own voice barely audible. "VCU, they played the better game. They beat us."

The twins are juniors with a decision to make. Asked whether they had decided to declare for the NBA draft or return to Kansas, Markieff said, "I have to sit down and talk to my coaches and family about my future and my brother's future. Whatever happens, it will be the best decision."

HENSON INVISIBLE: During much of North Carolina's loss to Kentucky, the Tar Heels outplayed the Wildcats inside. But they mostly did it without John Henson, the 6-10 forward from Sickles High who was in foul trouble and had only four points.

"This hurts," Henson said. "I feel like I let the team down. There is no consolation in coming this far. For somebody else there might be. We were playing for a championship and this isn't a championship, so there is no consolation."

A NEW FAVORITE: Las Vegas casinos have tabbed Kentucky the latest favorite and are hoping VCU ends its run without a title.

Executive director Jay Kornegay of the Las Vegas Hilton race and sports book said that Kentucky was a 2-point favorite to win its semifinal game against Connecticut, while Butler was a 2½-point favorite over VCU.

Race and sports director Mike Colbert of Cantor Gaming said his books made Kentucky an 8-5 favorite to win the title. Connecticut is next at 11-5, then Butler at 4-1 and VCU at 7-1.

Colbert and Kornegay said a VCU title would be troubling for their casinos given some big bets on the long shots.

OBAMA'S BRACKET: President Barack Obama has come up empty in the Final Four. Like millions of fans, Obama lost his last Final Four team, and his national champion, when Kansas lost to VCU. Obama picked all four No. 1 seeds to reach the Final Four.

MUST BE ALUMS: Two out of ESPN's 5.9 million brackets correctly picked the Final Four of UConn, Kentucky, Butler and VCU. The even more amazing stat? Both have No. 11 seed VCU winning it all.

Butler fans throw Final Four party 03/27/11 [Last modified: Sunday, March 27, 2011 10:23pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. For starters: Rays at Twins, looking for another with Odorizzi starting


    UPDATE, 11:01: No Dickerson today as the Rays go with seven right-handers.

    Here is the lineup:

  2. Why the Lightning would consider trading Jonathan Drouin

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — This summer, the Lightning could trade one of its most dynamic young players ever.

    Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Jonathan Drouin (27) celebrates with his team on the bench after beating Chicago Blackhawks goalie Scott Darling (33) to score his second goal of the period and to tie the score at 4 to 4 during second period action at the Amalie Arena in Tampa Monday evening (03/27/17).
  3. Why the Lightning should keep Jonathan Drouin

    Lightning Strikes

    Keep him.

    Jonathan Drouin is live bait. The Lightning is ready to run the hook through him and cast him out there again. Drouin has enough talent for the Lightning to meet some defensive needs in a deal.

    Keep him.

    Lightning wing Jonathan Drouin celebrates after beating Los Angeles Kings goalie Peter Budaj during the first period of Tuesday's win in Tampa. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times]
  4. This Tampa Bay Lightning wing rides the newest wave of fan interaction

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — There are photos of Lightning fan Shaun Egger as a toddler at center ice at the then-Thunderome, aka Tropicana Field. He's played in the Lightning's high school hockey league for Palm Harbor University. But his closest personal encounter with players had been waving through a crowd after a training camp …

    Tampa Bay Lightning player J.T. Brown wears his anti UV glasses as he talks over the headset with a hockey fan while they play against each other on line in an XBOX NHL video game in Brown's game room at his home in south Tampa. The fan chose to be the Washington Capitals and Brown, of course, was the Tampa Bay Lightning. Brown interacts with fans through video game systems as he streams the games live on Twitch with plans for the proceeds to go to charity.
  5. ‘Biggest fight' behind her, Petra Kvitova returns ahead of schedule


    PARIS — Five months after a home invader's knife sliced into her left hand, Petra Kvitova will return to competitive tennis at the French Open, a last-minute decision to make her comeback earlier than expected.

    Petra Kvitova adjusts her hair during a news conference at Roland Garros Stadium, where she will make her tennis return at the French Open. Kvitova's left hand was badly injured by a knife-wielding intruder in December; she has recovered ahead of schedule. [Associated Press]