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To UConn, with love

Anna Boarini | Monday, April 4, 2011

Dear UConn,

Be ready. Tonight, you will have to do more than rely on Kemba Walker. Tonight you will have to play ball old school style. Remember the movie “Hoosiers?” Remember how they were that little team going up against the big boys? Tonight, that is your life.

So you think that Butler is just another little team that you can squash with your big school budget and conference. Think again boys — Pitt thought the same thing. And they’re going to watch this game from their couches at home. Get cocky. See if it will stop Matt Howard, Shelvin Mack or Sean Vanzant. You might get a lead. You might start to outscore the Dawgs. But don’t rest on your laurels. The minute you do, well, you can kiss that title goodbye.

You might have a bigger and better team, UConn. You might have the more experienced coach. But the Bulldogs have something else. They have some unfinished business. Last year, they lost the title in their home city. Their home city. Think about that for a minute, UConn. How would that make you feel? Tonight the dawgs are out for blood. They want nothing more than this title. This title is more than just a national championship for them. It’s validation. It will stop the naysayers. It will finally make people see them as the threat they are.

People always pay attention to you, UConn. It’s just a fact of life. Not many people actually watch Butler outside of tournament play. They aren’t in a big conference and they don’t always play big schools. But that doesn’t matter. The Dawgs have proven that they are more than just a “Cinderella” school. They are the real deal.

So go ahead. Make your jokes. Don’t see them as a threat. Say that Brad Stevens is just too young to actually coach at this stage. Say that the Bulldogs are just too little. Just keep thinking all those things. What you don’t realize is that it doesn’t matter what you or the rest of the country thinks.

The Dawgs are here, at the final game in the tournament for the second year in a row. They made it the same way they made it last year. They worked hard and more importantly, they want it. They don’t just want it for themselves, or their school or their fans. The Bulldogs want to win this title for the entire state of Indiana. It’s been a while since we’ve had a national title, and we want it too. And tonight, the Bulldogs are going to bring the national title back to it’s rightful home.

So be ready UConn. It’s going to be a long night. Be ready for real, Indiana, corn-fed, junkyard basketball, not some of this Big East, big school crap you call the game. I don’t care that you have Kemba Walker. One guy doesn’t make a team. Just watch your back, UConn — Brad Stevens and the Bulldogs are ready.

The views expressed in this Inside Column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

Contact Anna Boarini at [email protected]