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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 11:23pm]
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