[imgbelt img=matt-howard-butler150.jpg]

Yonder was rooting for Northern Iowa (along with Univ. of Kentucky, natch) in this year’s NCAA men’s basketball tournament. But with both our teams out of competition, we’ve been sizing up the four semi-finalists: Duke (Durham, NC), Butler (Indianapolis, IN), West Virginia U. (Morgantown, WV), and Michigan State  U. (East Lansing, MI).

Which team deserves a rural-centrist’s allegiance?

Hard to say. None of these college towns is rural. Butler is the smallest of the schools (with only 3726 undergrads) but it’s located in the biggest city of the four – Indy, which will host the final four.

West Virginia’s Mountaineers would seem the most Yonderific, but none of the players on the WVU team comes from a small town. Coach Bob Huggins does, though. He was raised in Gnadenhutten, OH, and played for Indian Valley High School, where his dad was the coach.

Duke has three rural players on the roster: Jordan Davidson (Melbourne, AR), and Mason and Miles Plumlee (Warsaw, IN). But Gothic architecture and the Blue Devil mascot make Duke an impossible choice here at DY. (There’s also a little thing about 1992)

Michigan State has two rural players, starter Isaiah Dahlman from Braham, Minnesota, and center Garrick Sherman, from Kenton Ohio – and a VERY rural coach. Tom Izzo was born and raised in Iron Mountain, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Butler’s center and star player, Matt Howard (pictured above), is a ruralite, from Connersville, Indiana. Zach Hahn and Chase Stigall both hail from non-metro New Castle, Indiana, and senior Willie Veasley, comes from from Freeport, Illinois – also rural.

So you tell us. Which team is most rural?

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