Butler took down No. 1 seed Syracuse last Friday night and No. 2 seed Kansas State two days later to reach the Final Four for the first time in school history. Ten of the 15 players on the roster are from Indiana, as is third-year coach Brad Stevens, 33.
The team's Hoosier roots will be a popular theme, even if the Bulldogs don't remotely resemble the cinematic version of Hickory, whose fictional loss to South Bend Central in the movie Hoosiers was filmed at Butler's Hinkle Fieldhouse (the real-life site of the game on which the movie was based). "I think everyone growing up in Indiana watches that movie," says Hayward. Before the game against Kansas State, Stevens received an e-mail from a friend that said, "One more, Ollie," echoing poignant words from the movie. One more and we're going all the way.
So he would surely understand that for all the uncertainties in the NCAA tournament, 2010 edition, this much is true: The baskets at Lucas Oil Stadium are exactly 10 feet high. Just like the baskets at home.
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For Luke Winn's tournament blog and analysis from Seth Davis go to SI.com/cbb