Sunday, March 27, 2011
VCU, Kansas know this story well
By Pat Forde
SAN ANTONIO -- With a few minor alterations to the plot, history is repeating itself here this weekend.
Virginia Commonwealth is the modern version of George Mason, 2006: a No. 11 seed from the Colonial Athletic Association that barely squeezed into the NCAA tournament, amid protest from the punditry. Now, after a startling run of upsets, the Rams face a seemingly unconquerable No. 1 seed for the right to go to the Final Four.
Kansas is the modern version of itself, 2008: a No. 1 seed blessed with a broken bracket and three mismatches on its way to a regional final date with a seemingly overmatched Cinderella.
Mason shocked the world in the '06 Elite Eight, beating Connecticut in double overtime to advance to the Final Four. It was the biggest underdog story in decades in college basketball.
Kansas survived its '08 regional final against No. 10 seed Davidson, 59-57, advancing to the Final Four here in San Antonio and winning its first national title in 20 years.
Sunday, the plotline ends for one of the two and continues for the other. Because they both can't win. But they both can recognize the similarities and draw from them.