Final Four Welcomes Butler To Its Own Hometown In the NCAA men's basketball tournament, half of the Final Four is set. Joining West Virginia University is a school some people may not have heard of. Butler is an Indianapolis school that will make its first-ever appearance in the national semifinals, which, coincidentally, will be played in Indianapolis. Host Liane Hansen talks with NPR sports correspondent Mike Pesca about Saturday's games and Sunday's matchups.
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Final Four Welcomes Butler To Its Own Hometown

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Final Four Welcomes Butler To Its Own Hometown

Final Four Welcomes Butler To Its Own Hometown

Final Four Welcomes Butler To Its Own Hometown

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In the NCAA men's basketball tournament, half of the Final Four is set. Joining West Virginia University is a school some people may not have heard of. Butler is an Indianapolis school that will make its first-ever appearance in the national semifinals, which, coincidentally, will be played in Indianapolis. Host Liane Hansen talks with NPR sports correspondent Mike Pesca about Saturday's games and Sunday's matchups.

LIANE HANSEN, Host:

NPR's Mike Pesca joins us now to talk about yesterday's game and today's matchups. The clock is ticking. Good morning, Mike.

MIKE PESCA: Hello.

HANSEN: So how did Butler manage to upset second-seeded Kansas State yesterday?

PESCA: One statistic to note is that now 10 teams in a row coming off overtime wins have lost the next day. So this is a physically grueling tournament and Kansas State was perhaps tired. But all credit to Butler, who's going back to Indianapolis. This will be a story that's going to capture a lot of peoples' imaginations because they're a small school from a small conference, and they're proving they're just as good as the biggest names in college basketball.

HANSEN: All right. Well, talk a little bit about West Virginia, who's also made the Final Four. And this is their first trip to the national semifinals since 1959. What was their route to the Final Four?

PESCA: Well, in 1959 it was Jerry West. But this year...

HANSEN: Yeah.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

PESCA: And in the second half, West Virginia got rolling again. They really have good defense. And as good as West Virginia was at three-pointers, Kentucky missed their first 20 in a row. And the three-point shot is the big equalizer in college basketball. And West Virginia, I think, also had a better coached teamed or at least a team that played and stuck to their game plan a little better.

HANSEN: Address the idea that's going around that in the NCAA the 30th best team is very nearly as good as the number one.

PESCA: Now, that doesn't mean that there isn't such a thing as an upset and upsets do happen. But more than in recent years, we're really seeing that a lot of different teams have a shot at the national championship.

HANSEN: Right. And, of course, we have today's games - Tennessee vs. Michigan State and Duke vs. Baylor. I guess we're going to have to wait till the games begin. NPR's Mike Pesca, thanks, and enjoy the basketball. It's been a lot of fun.

PESCA: I will.

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