When tonight's national championship game tips off at approximately 9:26 p.m., CBS viewers will witness two of the country's hottest teams trying to ride contrasting styles to a national championship. UConn last appeared in the national title game in 2004, relying on the talents of Ben Gordon and Emeka Okafor to the school's second championship. That UConn team would be the last Big East team to bring home the hardware. Butler will be making its second consecutive appearance in the title game -- an incredible feat considering that last year's star, Gordon Hayward, departed school early for the NBA. The Bulldogs are in search of their first national championship.
Again, WVU fans' intrigue in this game is attenuated at best. Do you root for UConn because they hail from the Big East? Or do you secretly hope Kemba Walker turns an ankle early in the second half so the arrogant Husky fans know what we felt like last year when Da'Sean Butler went down with a knee injury? Maybe you're a fan of Brad Stevens and his youthful, business-like candor. Or perhaps trying to say the name Shelvin Mack after several beers is just too difficult. We can't decide for you. We can only lay out the facts and let you make up your own mind.
Mascot: UConn (Huskies) v. Butler (Bulldogs)
A husky is a dog native to Alaska notorious for participating in the arctic's grueling sled race, the Iditarod. It is resourceful, durable, courageous and fierce. A bulldog is a fat, slobbering, weak-legged pooch native to England. The early edge appears to go to UConn, but upon further investigation, the UConn husky has been revealed to engage in, uh...suspect behaviors. Edge: Butler.
School Colors: UConn (Navy, White, Red) v. Butler (Black, Blue, White)
Okay, so maybe UConn doesn't incorporate that much red into their uniforms. But it's freakin' Red, White, and Blue, dude. Straight up American bad-ass style. You can't mess with that. Butler is black and blue. As in, the color of the bruises that would be covering their bodies if they played in a real conference like the Big East. Edge: UConn.
Location: UConn (East Hartford, CT) v. Butler (Indianapolis, IN)
I've actually been to both places. Hartford is a depressed northeastern town with an abundance of seedy strip joints abutting pristine row-homes. The weather sucks, but at least the city isn't too far away from other, real cities like Boston and New York. Hartford also gets a nod for its City Steam Brewery downtown that serves a delicious Naughty Nurse Pale Ale. Indianapolis is a younger, up-and coming city home to former WVU kicker/punter Pat McAfee. It isn't close to anything except corn, and I'm still mad at Indy because I couldn't get a hotel room closer than 30 miles away on Final Four weekend. However, Indiana is the Hoosier State, and Butler does play in Hinkle Fieldhouse, which was featured in the movie Hoosiers. Edge: Butler.
Record against WVU in 2011: UConn (0-1) v. Butler (0-0)
You may not remember, but WVU actually beat UConn earlier this season, 65-56, on March 2 in Morgantown. WVU survived 22 points from Kemba Walker and 18 from Shabazz Napier to hold UConn to only 2 field goals over the final 10 minutes and pull away with the win. Butler didn't play WVU this year, but lost to Louisville, swept a pair of games against Cleveland State, and beat Pitt in the second round of the tournament. Based on comparative results and the fact that WVU was a 5 seed while Butler was an 8 seed, WVU would probably beat Butler by 34 on a neutral court. Edge: UConn.
Celebrity Look-alike: UConn (Kemba Walker as John Wall) v. Butler (Matt Howard as Andy Samberg)
The similarities between Walker and Wall are eerie. Both superstar point guards. Both brash and arrogant. Both lost to WVU in their final collegiate season. We're not the only, or even the first, blog to compare Howard to Samberg. But we are the best. And we're pretty sure that they are, in fact, the same person. Obviously anyone who writes and records "I'm on a Boat" in collaboration with T-Pain is not to be trifled with. Edge: Butler, by a mile.
Overall Edge: Butler, 63-61.