SI.com: Kemba Factor, Spurs snap winless streak, Earnhardt Jr. doesn't
Kemba Walker celebrates Saturday after the UConn Huskies beat the Kentucky Wildcats for a shot at the title.
April 4th, 2011
12:45 PM ET

SI.com: Kemba Factor, Spurs snap winless streak, Earnhardt Jr. doesn't

After weeks of hard-fought battles, stunning upsets and unbelievable Cinderella stories, it all comes down to tonight’s NCAA Tournament championship.

Pitting Brad Stevens-led Butler against UConn, the title matchup rounds out a remarkable tournament that saw the impossible become possible. The Butler Bulldogs will be making their second consecutive title game appearance, after missing a shot in the last seconds against Duke in 2010.

The UConn Huskies will be returning for a shot at the title for the first time since their 2004 national championship. As SI.com’s Luke Winn points out, no matter the outcome, both of these teams have clawed their way to amazing tournament runs.

But despite the incredible skill and determination both teams showed, who is this year’s underdog?

“Despite the fact that the Bulldogs began the season ranked in the AP poll, and UConn did not, and despite the fact that Butler has a roster full of players with title-game experience, and the Huskies do not, Las Vegas had the Bulldogs listed as 3.5-point underdogs late on Saturday night,” Winn writes. “UConn, after all, has Kemba Walker, whom coach Jim Calhoun correctly calls ‘the best player in college basketball,’ and Butler does not.”

The Kemba Factor will certainly be one of the Bulldogs' greatest obstacles to overcome when they take the court in Houston, Texas. Walker has been remarkable during the tournament, never leaving the court during the Huskies’ Final Four battle against Kentucky and scoring 18 points for his team in the process. Walker aside, Butler will look to capitalize on its tactical edge. Removed from the emotions that last year’s championship carried, the team is generally more focused and acclimated to the high pressure of a title game. Will it be enough to deliver them the championship that they came so close to claiming last year?

Up tonight:

UConn vs. Butler (9 p.m. ET)

By The Numbers

36 – Number of points UConn player Maya Moore scored in her last game as a Husky. She finished her college career with an astonishing 150-4 record.

99 – Number of races that Dale Earnhardt Jr. has gone without a trip to Victory Lane. He came close this weekend at Martinsville, but lost in the final laps to Kevin Harvick. SI.com’s Bruce Martin talks a wild weekend of racing.

29 – Number of points George Hill scored in the San Antonio Spurs' 114-97 win over the Phoenix Suns. The victory ended the team's six-game losing streak.

Post by:
Filed under: College basketball • Connecticut • Indiana • Sports • U.S.
soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. RUFFNUTT

    Dale Earnhardt Jr. is only half the man his father was..

    the other half comes from his mom..

    April 4, 2011 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • BigGameJames

      I know one thing. The man Dale Sr. would whip all your asses for talking down to his son. Jr. cares about not winning. Saw an interview of him after the race Sunday and he was more disappointed that he couldn't deliver a win for his TEAM instead of for himself. Let the guy live outside the shadow.

      April 4, 2011 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Daavid

    don't know much about dale jr. or nascar. but shazamm that little beauty danica patrick REVS my engines.....

    April 4, 2011 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Joel Raes

    Sports, sports and more sports!

    Thanks,

    Joel Raes

    April 4, 2011 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
  4. VillagePeople

    NASCAR is for rednecks

    April 4, 2011 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • RUFFNUTT

      Non Athletic Sport Centered Around Rednecks

      April 4, 2011 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Herbert

    *****sneeze*****

    April 4, 2011 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jeff Frank - Ohio

    $4 dollar gas is here. Don't buy gas on Fridays.

    April 4, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
  7. MadMatt

    Just because you don't "get" the sport, or do not understand it, does not mean it is for rednecks and rednecks alone. Seeing as how it is the second most watched sport in the United States (behind the NFL) and now has sanctioned races in Canada and Mexico, as well as other nations holding exhibition races and in talks with NASCAR to bring the sport there, I'd say it is anything but a sport for "rednecks".

    But, sadly, Jr. will never be half the driver his father was.

    April 4, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Blog For Schmucks

    Dale Sr. Sux Dale Jr sux too. The intimidator and his spawn are losers. How's that big game james? *spit* 🙂

    April 4, 2011 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • MadMatt

      7 championships, 76 career wins, 281 top 5 finishes, 428 top 10 finishes, 22 poles, 25684 laps led and an average career finishing position of 11.1, not to mention the most merchandise sold, which is still out-selling everyone else 10 years after his death. Doesn't sound like he sucks to me.

      April 5, 2011 at 7:36 am | Report abuse |