Updated: Apr 2
By: Kevin Butler
Every March 64 college basketball teams prepare for the moments of their lives in competing for an NCAA title. Year after year it feels like there is always an underdog that makes their mark, a blue blood that under performs, and a team that dominates everyone. This time around we had teams like Princeton make it to the Sweet Sixteen and Fairleigh Dickinson beating a #1 seed, but the biggest surprise of the year must be Florida Atlantic University. After losing only three games all year, the NCAA ranked them as a #9 seed, but despite the average ranking, the owls started off the tournament hot with a win over Penny Hardaway’s Memphis Tigers. Next game they beat #16 seed FDU, followed by a major upset win over Tennessee. The FAU Owls had done something no other team had done, after only being in the tournament once before, they are in the Final Four after their amazing win versus Kansas State last night.
This year I had the opportunity to play Intramural basketball at Stetson where I played with a group of young men who I had known in passing or from playing pick up with them at the school’s recreational center. We had a great regular season, only losing 2 games, despite this we were ranked as a #5 seed out of 15 teams. To me this felt underwhelming as I knew our group was far more talented than the teams ahead of us. So, what did we do? Going into the playoffs, we emphasized that every game could be our last, and to always play like we were down regardless of whatever the scoreboard said. After a couple easy matchups, we made it to the final four, where we played the #1 seeded team who had beat us at the beginning of the year. Playing the game like it is your last really sets a precedence of being focused, making smart decisions under pressure, and always giving 100%. We played very smart basketball and beat them. Going into the championship game, we were still riding the high of our upset win the week before, which put us in a mentality that was not up to our standard. At halftime we were down by 12 points and had put up our worst offensive half the whole season. Now, normally being down teams sort of roll over and give up, but we were not about finding excuses, we were going to find a way to win. After battling back, we had won 44-40. My experience really makes me resonate with the FAU Owls, beating teams we weren’t supposed to beat and playing with a fire that no other teams had. As they make way to their first ever final four and potential championship game, you know who I’ll be rooting for. HOOT HOOT!!
Pictured below: Kevin Butler and team posing after their intramural championship win