With Saturday’s semifinal games in the rearview mirror and Monday’s title tilt between UConn and Butler still a day away, we took the time to wander off the beaten path a bit Sunday afternoon during our time in Houston for the Final Four. Ray Daniels, our Infiniti rep for the weekend, had previously told us that he hooked us up with tickets for Cirque du Soleil Ovo, which is described on the official site as, “an immersion into the teeming and energetic world of insects.” If that sounds crazy…well, it is, but in a fantastically awesome way. We had no idea what to expect when we arrived Sunday afternoon, but we immediately were met with another surprise: Ray not only had tickets for us to see the show, but he also secured VIP passes that got us into the Tapis Rouge tent beforehand and during intermission, where we were treated to a sensational spread of hors d’oeuvres and desserts, plus beer, wine or mimosas from the bar.
With bellies full, we made our way to the main tent to see the show. Unfortunately, no photography or video is allowed during the show and words simply wouldn’t do justice to the performance we saw. We’ll try to elaborate on the event when we recap the weekend’s festivities later this week, but for now, we’ll say that Ovo featured some of the most impressive feats of strength, balance, body control, grace and coordination we’ve ever seen, and the show itself is a memorable mix of intoxicating music, outlandish costumes and all around magnificent performances from the show’s entire cast. If you ever get a chance to check out a Cirque du Soleil show (there are a bunch in Las Vegas, including The Beatles LOVE), don’t pass it up. Your lady will absolutely love it and you likely will be surprised by how much you enjoy it. (You’ll see a photo of our group outside of the VIP tent in the slideshow above.)
Afterward, we walked through Bracket Town, the area set up in downtown Houston with more sports activities and games than you can shake a stick at — basketball, baseball, football, hockey, lacrosse, video games, you name it. The NCAA did a great job putting Bracket Town together, although it clearly is geared more toward kids than adults. Then again, we saw plenty of dads trying to slug home runs in the whiffle ball home run derby event and seeing how fast they could hit a slapshot. Later, we grabbed a delicious dinner at Hearsay Gastro Lounge Sunday night and then hit Cabo up again Monday afternoon for some lunch before finally making our way one final time to Reliant Stadium for the championship game.
As memorable as the weekend in Houston with Infiniti has been, it was disappointing to have it end on such a low note on the basketball court. The third-seeded Huskies rode a 22-3 second-half run to a 53-41 victory over the eighth-seeded Bulldogs, but there’s more to the story than that. Not only did Butler have the worst title game shooting performance in college history (12-of-64 — that’s a stellar 18% — overall from the field, 9-of-33 from the 3-point line and 3-of-31 on 2-point attempts), they nearly had more missed shots (52) than UConn had points (53). Their 41 points marked the lowest total in any National Championship game since Oklahoma State scored 36 in 1949, and the 94 combined points by the two teams is the fewest in a National Championship game since 1950. In a word: Ugly. But let’s not take anything away from UConn, whose defense deserves credit for forcing Butler into what may very well be the worst offensive performance in NCAA postseason history. Jim Calhoun (68) became the NCAA’s oldest championship coach while junior G Kemba Walker took home Most Outstanding Player honors. It may not have been the highlight-reel finale we were hoping for, but it won’t take away from what was a memorable sports weekend, capped by seeing CBS’ famous “One Shining Moment” video montage in person and then watching the champion Huskies cut down the nets.