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Sit back and enjoy the showPosted Monday, April 5, 2010, at 1:01 AM
As we stare at tonight's NCAA final matchup between Butler and Duke, I'm not exactly telling you something strange when I say my bracket's busted.
Me and the rest of America, right?
My Final Four was Kansas, Syracuse, New Mexico and Villanova, with KU beating 'Nova for the title. That's right, three of my teams were out in the first weekend, and the other fell in the Sweet 16.
But as we look at tonight's matchup, think about this: I picked Butler to fall to UTEP in the first round. The first round!
I thought UTEP was a bad matchup for them with athletic big men working the paint. I was right ... for the first 20 minutes. And then Butler went crazy from behind the arc.
And while they have slowed down since then (notably in Saturday's second half), they haven't stopped winning.
I'd like to say I had great insight about this Duke team, but I'd be lying. I'm pretty sure I said something like, "That's the one No. 1 seed with NO CHANCE of winning it all. No chance!"
The one thing I gave them was I thought they got a favorable draw. While I may have been right about that, they've won the five games that have been set before them, most notably a serious gut-check game down the stretch against Baylor.
I do have to say, though, I'm looking forward to the game. It's good, fundamental basketball between two clean programs. Tonight when the announcers call them "student athletes," I won't be rolling my eyes and snickering. The young men on the floor will truly be student athletes, not the semi-pros we see in places like Lexington.
So who wins it all tonight? I'm the worst man in America to ask. I know I want Butler to win. I'd love to see a second team from this state be able to hoist a championship banner and have it not be Purdue.
But this Duke team scares me. The more I've had the chance to see them, the more frightening they become.
Given my track record, though, I have to pick Duke. I've successfully put the hex on the other three No. 1 seeds, so why stop now?
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Jared Jernagan is a 2003 graduate of Wabash College and has been in journalism since 2005.