Butler Captures NCAA Southeast Regional Championship
Saturday, March 26, 2011
In a fitting cap to a thrilling weekend at the New Orleans Arena, the eighth-seeded Butler Bulldogs upended the second-seeded Florida Gators in overtime to win the 2011 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Southeast Regional and advance to their second consecutive Final Four. Two of the three games in New Orleans went to overtime, while the third featured a late rally that allowed announcer Gus Johnson to be at his best for each contest.
Butler was led by Shelvin Mack's 27 points, while Matt Howard added 14 points. Mack, who drilled a key three with 1:21 left in overtime to give the Bulldogs the lead for good, earned Regional Most Outstanding Player honors. Florida was led by 25 points from big man Vernon Macklin, who was less of a factor in the second half as he battled foul trouble.
In the Sweet Sixteen round, Butler held off a late Wisconsin rally to win 61-54, while the Gators needed overtime to offset a 32-point performance by Cougar star Jimmer Fredette. Florida dominated the OT in the 83-74 victory.
The Allstate Sugar Bowl is part of the hosting committee for this year's Southeast Regional, the 11th Regional Championship for New Orleans, as well as for the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball Final Four. The Sugar Bowl is part of the support group for host school Tulane University. The 2012 Final Four, to be played in the Louisiana Superdome, will be the fifth Final Four for the Crescent City.
The previous four Final Fours in New Orleans have all been among the most memorable in the event's grand history. In 1982, Dean Smith captured his first National Championship as a freshman named Michael Jordan buried the game-winning shot to upend Georgetown. In 1987, it was Bobby Knight and Indiana defeating Syracuse on a baseline jumper by Keith Smart. Smith was back again in 1993, as his North Carolina team defeated the Fab Five from Michigan. And in 2003, Jim Boeheim made up for his 1987 loss as freshman Carmelo Anthony led Syracuse to a win over Kansas.
The Allstate Sugar Bowl has a rich history with the sport of basketball, as well as football. Dating back as far as 1936, the Sugar Bowl has sponsored basketball events in conjunction with the annual football classic. In addition, the Bowl has been a sponsor for multiple local events in the sport.
Following the 2012 event being awarded to New Orleans, Atlanta will host 2013, Dallas will host 2014, Indianapolis will host 2015 and Houston collected the 2016 event.
The NCAA awarded the 2013 Women's Final Four to New Orleans as well, but the two bids are unrelated.