The 2011 NCAA championship game is set to tip off at 9:23 p.m. ET tonight. The game will wrap up Final Four weekend in Houston and determine this year's national champion. The two teams in the NCAA championship game are UConn and Butler. UConn is in its first national title game since 2004 (the Huskies beat Georgia Tech that year for the championship) and Butler is back in the final game of the basketball season for the second consecutive year. In 2010, Butler lost to Duke after having a half-court shot at the buzzer narrowly miss.
UConn's path to the NCAA championship game took them through the West Region and Kentucky in the Final Four. In its opening game of the NCAA tournament, UConn, a No. 3 seed, beat Bucknell rather handily. In the round of 32 teams, UConn downed fellow Big East foe Cincinnati to advance to the Sweet 16, where it played San Diego State. The Huskies held on to beat the Aztecs and then held off Arizona at the buzzer in the Elite Eight to advance to the Final Four, where it dispatched of Kentucky on Saturday.
Butler's path back to the NCAA championship game was one nobody expected. As an eight seed, the Bulldogs beat Old Dominion in the second round of the NCAA tournament on a Matt Howard buzzer beater. Butler then beat Pittsburgh thanks to a ridiculous finish that had late fouls and free throws. The Bulldogs advanced to the Sweet 16 with the win and proceeded to beat Wisconsin. In the Elite Eight, Butler downed Florida in overtime to punch their ticket to Houston, where they beat VCU two days ago.
Based on some of the games UConn and Butler have played during this tournament, the 2011 NCAA championship game has all the makings of providing a memorable finish to the college basketball season.
To keep track of the games that have already been played, check out SBNation.com's printable NCAA tournament 2011 bracket. Also make sure to check out SB Nation Detroit's NCAA tournament StoryStream.