• The success of Bracket Town meant almost as much to the NCAA as the success atReliant Stadium.
    Photo by Bruce Bennett
  • NCAA official Greg Shaheen praised Houston's Final Four efforts.
  • Kemba Walker wasn't the only one who flew high at this Final Four.
    Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

  • Kemba Walker and UConn got to cut down the nets at Reliant Stadium. But no onewho watched this game felt like dancing.
    Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images
  • UConn 53, Butler 41 brought up visions of black and white basketball — whenscoring was almost considered illegal.
  • Houston still stood tall as a host city.
    Photo by United Services
  • And a freshman named Jeremy Lamb was the best player on the floor.

  • Butler and UConn battled for the national championship at Reliant Stadium.
    Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
  • Kemba Walker missed his first five shots in the national championship game.
  • Butler coach Brad Stevens had his team believing — and fighting.

  • It's the Final Four of Jim Nantz's life. Because he's back in Houston callingit.
  • Nantz is certain that if Shelvin Mack and Butler topple UConn, it qualifies asthe greatest upset of all time.
  • People keep telling Nantz how nice everyone in Houston is.
    Photo by United Services

  • Ali Fedotowsky hit St. Arnold's Brewery and the Kings of Leon concert atDiscovery Green on her Houston trip.
  • The Houston skyline is reflected in Ludacris' shades.
    Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchlightGroup.com
  • Christian Laettner, Ludacris and Bill Walton (not pictured) were also on hand atThe Big Dance
    Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchlightGroup.com
  • Surprising no one, Kentucky fan Ashley Judd cheered at Reliant from the frontrow of the student section.

  • Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchlightGroup.com
  • Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchlightGroup.com
  • Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchlightGroup.com
  • Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchlightGroup.com
  • Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchlightGroup.com
  • Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchlightGroup.com

  • Christian Laettner
  • Jim Valvano
    Photo by Rich Clarkson/Sports Illustrated/Getty Images

  • Kemba Walker is more dominant in more ways than Jimmer Fredette.
  • Jimmer Fredette can only take over a game by scoring.

  • METRO was packed to and from the big games on Saturday
    Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchlightGroup.com
  • Long lines developed after the Big Dance ended as fans traveled from DiscoveryGreen to Reliant Stadium by rail
    Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchlightGroup.com

  • Reliant Stadium was filled with more 75,000 fans for the Final Four semifinals.
    Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images
  • But some fans felt like the free Big Dance concert was even more hopping.
    Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchlightGroup.com
  • Kemba Walker's March may not be fully appreciated by his fans, but Houston'sshould buy in.
    Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

  • Kings of Leon
    Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchlightGroup.com
  • Ludacris hit the stage as MC along with former college and NBA legends BillWalton and Christian Laettner.
    Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchlightGroup.com
  • The Kings of Leon drew a large crowd to Discovery Green for the Big DanceConcert Series.
    Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchlightGroup.com
  • Kings of Leon lead singer Caleb Followill
    Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchlightGroup.com
  • A Kings of Leon fan holds up her camera to record the band.
    Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchlightGroup.com
  • Former Duke star Christian Laettner stopped by the stage with rapper/actorLudacris before Kings of Leon and got a mixed response from the crowd.
    Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchlightGroup.com
  • Among fans were Jeff Peoples and Karen Cox.
    Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchlightGroup.com
  • Discovery Green as viewed from One Park Place.
    Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchlightGroup.com

The Big Dance Concert Series

No lack of oomph at mid-afternoon Kings of Leon concert

  • Ashley Judd cheered from the student section.
  • Drake came out to support UK.
  • Colonel Sanders and Kentucky fans
    Photo by Jeff Unseld
  • Elvis was near the house
    Photo by Jeff Unseld
  • UK fans are serious

  • Kemba Walker raced out ahead of Kentucky in the second Final Four semifinal atReliant Stadium.
    Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
  • Wildcats guard Brandon Knight never stopped believing that his team would win.

Largest crowd in Final Four history

UConn knocks out Kentucky, setting up championship 'Dog fight

  • Butler has emerged as something of a favorite to win the national championshipwith the Bulldogs devouring foes like it's mascot Blue attacks a bone.
  • Should Matt Howard and Butler be favored over a traditional power Monday night?

  • Butler and VCU tipped off the Final Four in Houston.
    Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images
  • Ronald Nored has been Butler's heart-and-soul battler in two Final Fours now.
  • His stats are rather ordinary, but everyone on both sides knew that VCU pointguard Joey Rodrguez could be the key to the game.

  • Jones quit his practice to give his side gig his full attention.
  • Kentucky Sports Radio's Matt Jones with Dick Vitale
  • Jones has let the blog be, but expanded with daily television and radio shows.

  • The crowd was ready for Sublime with Rome
    Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchlightGroup.com
  • Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchlightGroup.com
  • Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchlightGroup.com
  • Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchlightGroup.com
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  • Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchlightGroup.com
  • Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchlightGroup.com
  • Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchlightGroup.com
  • Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchlightGroup.com

  • It's easier to be part of the massive crowd than you might think.
  • Final Four tickets are easier to get once teams starting losing on Saturday.

  • Photo by Bruce Bennett
  • Oscar Ozco gives it his all on the court at Bracket Town.
    Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchlightGroup.com
  • At the line, Kamron Jackson
    Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchlightGroup.com
  • Garrett Johnson goes for the goal.
    Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchlightGroup.com
  • Ebony Goudeau runs the football drill.
    Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchlightGroup.com
  • Judy Rodriguez take fencing lessons from Daniel Gorman, a Purdue Universityfencing alumni.
    Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchlightGroup.com

  • Is that Clint Eastwood or Jim Calhoun getting ready for Kentucky?
  • Jim Calhoun is letting it fly at the Houston Final Four.
  • Just don't tell players like Jeremy Lamb that he's mellowed.

  • Want to see a Final Four player? Hit the mall.
  • Kentucky forward Josh Harrellson notes that Houston's mall is "pretty big."

  • The Lindseys — Stacy, Audrey and Jordan — are rooting for their Wildcats throughthe weekend. They have tickets to both the Saturday and Monday night games.
    Photo by Caroline Gallay
  • It certainly wasn't filled to capacity, but the crowd at Reliant Stadium onFriday was enthusiastic.
  • Texas A&M students Thomas Sizer and Oliver Chen cut class to be at ReliantStadium. They don't seem too torn up about it.
    Photo by Caroline Gallay

  • Kenny Chesney on Sunday
    Photo by Matt Sayles/AP
  • Kings of Leon on Saturday afternoon
    Photo courtesy of Kings of Leon
  • Sublime with Rome on Friday
    Photo courtesy of Sublime with Rome

  • Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchlightGroup.com
  • Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchlightGroup.com
  • Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchlightGroup.com
  • Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchlightGroup.com
  • Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchlightGroup.com
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  • Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchlightGroup.com
  • Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchlightGroup.com

  • George Bush sat front and center at the Final Four NCAA Salute.
    Photo by Richard J. Carson
  • Butler forward Matt Howard received a handshake from the former prez.

  • Kemba Walker is the most feared player in Houston and he knows it.
  • Kemba Walker's matchup with Kentucky point guard Brandon Knight could be thetalk of Final Four Saturday night.

  • The steaks at Morton's are proving a lure for basketball fans.
  • The Grove is VIP central throughout the Final Four weekend and is closed to thepublic.
  • The Strip House has been bought out for Friday night but you can still sit downto your fave dishes the rest of the weekend.

  • Phi Slama Jama towered over the opposition.
  • Houston coach Guy Lewis led the Cougars to five Final Fours.
  • Clyde Drexler doesn't let not winning a college championship haunt him.

  • John Calipari expects The Commonwealth to descend on Houston.
  • Forget Ashley Judd. Jay-Z was the star who visited the Kentucky locker roomafter the Final Four-clinching win.

  • VCU coach Shaka Smart embraces his players. But it took a while for point guardJoey Rodrguez to believe and hug back.
  • Joey Rodriguez couldn't see how Smart could ever replace the imposing andcharismatic Anthony Grant.
  • Kentucky coach John Calipari is 52, but he still trends young with the recruitsthat matter.

  • The downtown Final Four party at George R. Brown. It's Bracket Town!
    Photo by Michelle Watson/Catchlight Group
  • Anyone wanna shoot some hoops?
    Photo by Michelle Watson/Catchlight Group
  • IMG's Shea Guinn and City of Houston's Sharon Adams discuss the details ofBracket Town.
    Photo by Michelle Watson/Catchlight Group
  • Blocking. Very essential in basketball.
    Photo by Michelle Watson/Catchlight Group
  • Where can you see Antonio Gates, Robert Horry, Clyde Drexler, and Desmond Howardplay a game of H-O-R-S-E? Right here on Buick Center Court, of course.
    Photo by Michelle Watson/Catchlight Group
  • It's training day! Football is one of the many sports you'll get to play atBracket Town.
    Photo by Michelle Watson/Catchlight Group
  • You, too, can kick a soccer ball in a dress at Bracket Town.
    Photo by Michelle Watson/Catchlight Group
  • What goes up must be downtown.
    Photo by Michelle Watson/Catchlight Group

  • The Hold Steady warms up the crowd at 7 p.m. Friday for headliner Sublime withRome.
  • Uncle Kracker entertains at 5:30 p.m. Sunday, followed by Pat Green and headlineKenny Chesney
    Photo by M.P. King/Green Bay Press-Gazette
  • Hear Roger Creager at 4 p.m. Sunday at Capitol One JamFest, part of The BigDance
  • Panic! at the Disco opens for headliner Kings of Leon on Saturday.
  • Following Vallejo on Saturday, Robert Randolph & The Family Band take the stage.
  • Vellejo plays at 11:30 a.m. Saturday at Coke Zero Countdown, part of The BigDance
  • Los Skarnales at 4:45 p.m. Friday at the AT&T Block Party, part of The Big Dance
    Los Skarnales/Facebook

  • Porch Swing is a spot for VCU fans
  • Designated hangouts: Christian's Tailgate is for Kentucky Wildcat fans
    Photo by Spencer Hutton
  • 360 Sports Lounge is for the Butler faithful
  • Sushi Raku aims for U Conn fans
    Photo by © Jill Hunter

  • Jamie Skeen — one of college basketball's discards — celebrates that he and VCUare headed to Houston for the Final Four.
    Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
  • It will be the haves vs the have nots with Kentucky coach John Calipari takingon UConn in one Saturday night semifinal and VCU getting Butler in the other.
  • Sometimes you're so happy that you can't help but cry. VCU in a quiet moment onits Final Four journey with coach Shaka Smart.
  • The court is set for the Houston Final Four and the teams are too.
    Photo by United Services

  • VCU pulled off the most improbable Final Four run of all time.
  • Bill Self has more March misery.

  • Marcus Morris isn't just the most intimidating player in college basketball.He's the smartest.
  • The Kansas dance team and cheerleaders are near celebrities in San Antonio.
  • The iconic scenes of the River Walk are being replaced by Jayhawk city.

  • Brad Stevens is the best coach in America. That's the reason Butler is back inthe Final Four.
  • When Butler needed a basket most, Stevens called precise plays that got the ballto players like Matt Howard in position to do something.

  • Patch the Pig is picking Kansas.
    Photo by Joel Luks
  • Can your bracket compete?
  • Zoë the Dog likes Arizona.
    Photo by Sarah Rufca

Psychic Pets: CultureMap Edition

Arizona, VCU and Kansas keep Patch and Zoë almost perfect

  • The VCU players celebrated like they'd won it all after beating Florida State inOT. And why not? The Rams are already the first team ever to win four games toget to the Elite Eight.
  • Shaka Smart made the right call by changing his call on decisive inbounds play.
  • They don't call Bradford Burgess "Big Shot Brad" for nothing.
  • But now fearsome Kansas, arguably the most talented No. 1 seed still standing,awaits the smarter Cinderella.

  • Rick Pitino may have gotten himself into a fight he cannot win with Kansas'Morris twins.
  • No killer instinct? Is Pitino calling the Morris twins soft?

  • Even the Morris twins must want better teams to trash talk.
  • Bill Self hasn't had much March angst this year.
  • When dunks are free in a regional semifinal.

  • Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchlightGroup.com
  • Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchlightGroup.com
  • Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchlightGroup.com
  • Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchlightGroup.com
  • Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchlightGroup.com
  • Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchlightGroup.com

  • VCU guard Joey Rodriguez is the heart of an underdog team.
  • Joey Rodriguez even shot down former NBA shooting whiz Steve Kerr in a 3-pointcontest.

  • Old computers, fax machines, keyboards and home phones are all examples ofacceptable electronics to donate.
    Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchlightGroup.com
  • It's a drive-through drop-off; you don't even have to leave your car to safelyrecycle your electronics.
    Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchlightGroup.com
  • Workers and volunteers will direct traffic for convenience and unload donationsstraight from your truck bed or trunk.
    Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchlightGroup.com

  • The Big Dance dish — tacos al carbon with queso, chips and pico de gallo.Flatware not included.
    Photo by Sarah Rufca
  • Ninfa's is making extra dough for tortillas in the days leading up to The BigDance — but they'll be cooked fresh on site.
    Photo by Sarah Rufca

The Big Dance Restaurant Challenge

100,000 tacos al carbon, coming up! Ninfa's revs up for The Big Dance

  • Derrick Williams is clearly the best player in college basketball.
  • Sorry Jimmer Fredette. It's true.
  • Just ask Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski.

  • That is, in fact, a very big bunny. A Flemish Giant rabbit, to be exact.
  • If you're into animals, you'll love Bracket Town.
  • Don't worry. The American alligator won't bite you at Bracket Town. We hope.

Somebunny for everyone

Bracket Town gets Houston Zoo ambassadors

  • Kyrie Irving of Duke
  • Kentucky's Terrance Jones
    Photo by Greg Wahl-Stephens/AP

  • The midcourt circle on year's Final Four floor.
    Photo by United Services
  • The Final Four floor is touring around in a truck before arriving in Houston.
    Photo by The Kosmoswki Group
  • One sideline on the Houston Final Four floor.
    Photo by United Services
  • Even the Dallas police wanted to get in on the signing action in the Final Fourfloor's tour.
    Photo by The Kosmoswki Group

  • Sublime with Rome, with band members Rome Ramirez, from left, Eric Wilson andBud Gaugh
    Photo courtesy of Sublime with Rome
  • Pat Green
    Photo courtesy of Pat Green

  • Kevin Durant didn't want to be in school and shouldn't have been forced to gofor a year.
  • Kobe Bryant went straight to the pros. That should still be an option for highschool stars. But if they commit to college, they have to really commit.
  • John Wall is part of the Kentucky starting five that were all drafted in thefirst round.

  • Jim Burr was part of the officiating crew that Texas and coach Rick Barnes willnever forget. Burr didn't make the five-second call that drove Barnes iratethough.
  • The NCAA Tournament is crueler to its losers than any other sporting event. Theend can be beyond sudden.
  • As Jordan Hamilton and Texas found out.

  • Texas' Tristan Thompson
  • Derrick Williams is Arizona's top player, arguably the best player in thecountry.
  • Texas coach Rick Barnes preaches defense first.

Psychic Pets: CultureMap Edition

Patch the Pig stays perfect in NCAA hoops picks

  • Downtown Tulsa can seem like a quiet place up close.
  • But the BOK Center is a revelation for intimate basketball.
  • Texas' Tristan Thompson knows Tulsa's perfect for one of life's most vitalthings too.
  • A good night's sleep.

  • Zoë likes Arizona, but they've been shaky so far.
    Photo by Sarah Rufca
  • Zoë the Dog and Patch the Pig are vying for psychic animal supremacy.
  • Can your bracket beat our psychic animals' picks?

  • Derrick Williams understands the responsibilities of a game changer.
  • Tristan Thompson is asking to play the opposing team's best player one on one.Is a game changer being born?
  • Keith Benson crumbled once the block was on him instead.

  • Could Texas really be in the same class as North Carolina's 2005 high-flyingnational championship team?
  • Oakland University coach Greg Kampe puts Texas in that company.
  • And says that these Longhorns are every bit as good as No. 1 overall seed OhioState.

  • Tristan Thompson and Texas swatted away Oakland University's Cinderella dreams.
  • Oakland center Keith Benson has posed problems for teams from big conferencesand small. But he found his match in Thompson.
  • Jordan Hamilton has been driving the Longhorns all season.
  • Tristan Thompson promised to bring the intensity.

  • Rick Barnes won't be lounging, but this is the most relaxed he's ever been goinginto the NCAA Tournament.
  • Taylor Swift could relate to this approach.
  • Rick Pitino ... not so much.

  • If you're a 6-foot-8 NBA prospect do you really want to be compared to a dog?
  • Entertaining Oakland University coach Greg Kampe didn't mean any harm with hisdog comment.
  • Still, Texas forward Tristan Thompson didn't quite know how to take it.

  • The NCAA would have you believe the NCAA Tournament started on Tuesday inDayton. Instead, it really began with Butler forward Matt Howard's buzzerbeater.
  • Texas made itself some fans in Tulsa when its stars like Tristan Thompsonstarted throwing free stuff into the stands.

  • Our animal psychics, from top left: Zoë, Sushi, Corfu and Patch.
  • The full bracket from our animal experts — can you choose better?
  • Zoë picks Arizona over Duke.
    Photo by Sarah Rufca
  • Patch votes Jayhawk.
    Photo by Joel Luks
  • Corfu likes Utah State.
    Photo by Fayza Elmostehi

  • Imagine bringing this tailgate to 78,000 people and you have an idea of the goalat the Houston Final Four.
  • The NCAA hopes that the Reliant Stadium lots will be even more festive than theones around Lucas Oil Stadium for the Final Four in Indianapolis last year.
  • Houston's Final Four tailgating doesn't figure to be this Do It Yourself. Atleast, not the official portion.

  • Hate Duke and coach Mike Krzyzewski? Pick the Blue Devils to go far in yourbracket. Then, you'll be happy either way.
  • There are better ways to pick your NCAA Tournament bracket. And most don'tinvolve any basketball analysis.

  • Shelvin Mack and Butler still make for must-watch TV a year later.
  • John Calipari knows he cannot look at Princeton as a pushover.
  • Jimmer Fredette is not letting BYU lose in the first round.
    AP Photo

  • Saint Mary's guard Mickey McConnell and his teammates are the one with a realNCAA Tournament snub gripe.
  • Even if Colorado coach Tad Boyle is getting all the pity party attention.
  • Both Colorado and Alabama earned their way off of the bracket.

  • Texas coach Rick Barnes cannot be happy with his team's NCAA Tournament seeding.
  • Oakland University center Keith Benson is no small-time player.

  • It's all about the bracket now.
  • Jared Sullinger leads the No. 1 overall seed, Ohio State.
  • Tristan Thompson and Texas found out how much their late stumbles cost them.
  • Jimmer Fredetter is the leading scorer in the nation, but he found out how mucha teammate scoring in the bedroom costs at BYU.
  • It's all about getting to Reliant Stadium, where 78,000 people are expected tobe packed in for each Final Four game.

  • Jimmer Fredette and BYU have earned a No. 2 seed. But this Selection Sundayhinges on the bedroom.
  • It's all about being in the best position to get to Reliant Stadium for asupersized Final Four.

  • Gene Hackman in "Hoosiers"
  • Kenneth Faried of Morehead State

  • Kenny Chensey knows that all signs are pointing at him performing in Houston forthe free Big Dance Concert Series.
  • Right back at you, Kenny Chesney.
  • Kings of Leon is already confirmed as the April 2 free Big Dance concert atDiscovery Green.
    Courtesy photo

  • Shasta can start getting ready for football season — already.
  • Arsalan Kazemi carried Rice to one win. Only problem? He needs to do it threemore days in a row.
  • The Final Four and all its logos can only inspire so much.

  • Original Ninfa's on Navigation
  • The Tasting Room
    Photo by Jordan Chan
  • House of Blues
  • The judges' favorite: Original Ninfa's on Navigation's fajita with chips andqueso.
    Photo by Sarah Rufca
  • Paella by second place finisher The Tasting Room
    Photo by Sarah Rufca
  • Lobster tacos (and slider in background) from House of Blues
    Photo by Sarah Rufca

The Big Dance Restaurant Challenge

Big flavors at The Big Dance: The final three winners are...

  • And the winner is...Max's Wine Dive!
  • Loyal patrons of Max's
  • Get ready for small and big bites from Max's.
    Photo by John M.P. Knox

You decided it

The Restaurant Challenge champ is ...

  • Kings of Leon lead singer Caleb Followill
  • Kings of Leon
    Photo courtesy of Kings of Leon

  • Jimmer Fredette gets his national TV showcase.
  • Steve Lavin has gone from question mark to the talk of the mighty Big East.

  • Sylvia's felt like Butler's Gordon Hayward after his half-court shot in thenational championship game at the buzzer just bounced out. Cinderella was soclose.
  • Sylvia's Enchilada Kitchen
    Sylvia's Enchilada Kitchen/Facebook

  • Only one restaurant — and chef crew — will emerge from the Big Dance RestaurantChallenge.
  • Have you updated your bracket?

  • Which restaurant do you have at the buzzer?
  • The Big Dance Restaurant Challenge is speedy toward a fantastic finish inseveral first-round matchups.
  • Which chef do you got?
  • Epic buzzer beaters aren't just reserved for Duke-Kentucky and other NCAATournament classics.
  • Gigi's Asian Bistro
    Photo by © Julie Soefer
  • P.F. Chang's

  • Jared Sullinger powers an Ohio State team that's trying to go undefeated.
  • Dwight Hardy keeps shooting St. John's to bigger and bigger upsets — and likelyan NCAA Tournament berth.