The past two NCAA tournaments have put college basketball fans in the unusual position of having to weigh competing miracles. What's more astonishing? That four years after George Mason showed mid-majors the way to the Final Four, a Horizon League team did the Patriots one better and made it all the way to the national championship game? That this same Horizon team did the same exact thing the very next year? That a fourth-place CAA team made it to the Final Four? Or that a ninth-place Big East team may win the 2011 national title?
Things were a lot easier, analytically speaking, back in 2008, when all four No. 1 seeds made the Final Four. That seems like a very long time ago. Nevertheless, I'll take a shot at naming the most improbable event of all. I nominate this year's Butler Bulldogs, and their remarkable run to a second consecutive national championship game.
You have heard and will continue to hear a lot about how Butler and Brad Stevens have a proven way of doing things. It is said that the Bulldogs are fundamentally sound and well-coached. They never beat themselves. They play tremendous defense, and keep every game close.