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"Small" Basketball in the Big Time: Don't think Butler vs. VCU in the Final Four is the greatest thing in sports history? Well, you're kind of a jerk 

For all of you who started paying attention to college basketball sometime at the end of February and are getting all pissy because there are two teams from outside the sacred circle of the BCS fraternity in the Final Four, you really need to shut up.

click to enlarge left-field_brad_stevens_on_butler_sideline.jpg

For all of you who started paying attention to college basketball sometime at the end of February and are getting all pissy because there are two teams from outside the sacred circle of the BCS fraternity in the Final Four, you really need to shut up. Stop calling into sports talk radio shows (no one listens to that stuff anymore), don't bitch about your bracket in public (everyone is screwed, so don't act so special) and if it's that damn hard for you to believe that both Butler and Virginia Commonwealth universities are in the Final Four, you shouldn't be watching college basketball.


Also, you need to work on your belief system because no matter what happens this weekend or on Monday night, pretty much everything you thought you could count on about college basketball has changed. We were told it was a fluke last year when Butler made it to the Final Four... and then the National Championship game... and then almost won the damn thing. Now, this isn't a fluke. Now, this shit is real. Now, this is a sign to all "mid-major" programs (by the way, can we drop the damn "mid-major" label already?) that their appearances in the NCAA Tournament aren't merely sacrifices to the Dukes of the world or maybe a chance for a token feel-good upset or two. Now, everybody is playing for the national championship.

And that's the way it was always supposed to be and yeah, it does feel a little weird. But somehow, the peaks and valleys in college basketball's playing field just got bulldozed and everyone's got a shot, because this is America, damnit! Right?

OK, so you're bummed about your office pool. Whatever. Forget about that. Only two of the six-million people who filled out brackets on ESPN.com got this Final Four correct and those are about the same odds of getting struck by lightning. I'm not saying those two with these four teams still playing are going to get struck by lightning, but... well, you never know. So enjoy the democratic, everyman feel of this year's tournament and relish in the fact that one of the games will feature two coaches born during the Carter administration. Butler's Brad Stevens and VCU's Shaka Smart are probably the future of college basketball. Then, stare quizzically at the other game, which features two coaches who are likely to be remembered for recruiting violations, and may be the past of college basketball.

No matter what, one of these "mid-major" schools is going to be playing for the national championship on Monday night, and that's enough inspiration for me to start believing in Santa Claus again or saying the Pledge of Allegiance every morning. Damn, this is exciting. I'm going to go light off some fireworks or something.

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