HOUSTON -- The Jimmer got Jimmered.
By a dog.
Fans mobbed Blue 2, Butler's adorable English bulldog mascot, snapping pictures with him and petting him while everybody's player of the year, Jimmer Fredette, was ignored behind the CBS stage at the Final Four on Saturday. Even TV analyst Kenny Smith whipped out his phone to get a picture when Blue joined the CBS crew two hours before Butler and VCU tipped off in the first national semifinal."Four or five years ago, we used to walk around Indianapolis and people would say, 'Oh, what a cute dog,' not knowing it was Blue," said Michael Kaltenmark, a member of Butler's development staff and Blue's master. "Now you're walking around the Saturn V rocket and people are like, 'That's Blue 2!' He doesn't have his jersey on or anything.
"It's just crazy. Just crazy."
Blue became something of a celebrity during last year's Final Four, and the (puppy) lovefest has only continued to grow, thanks to Kaltenmark's use of social media. Blue tweets, posts pictures, has a Facebook page and, when he's in Indianapolis, has a webcam so people can keep an eye on him in Kaltenmark's office.
He's up to almost 5,000 followers on Twitter -- almost 1,000 of those were added just this week -- and 57,000 people checked out Blue's Flickr page Friday to see photos of him at the Johnson Space Center, open practice and media appearances. Compare that with last year's Final Four, when the high was 19,000 views.
"It's incredible. Last year I thought we'd hit the ceiling," said Kaltenmark, clearly amazed so many people are interested in what is, for most of the year, a family dog. "He's an everyday dog at home, he does dog stuff. You come to something like this, and it's a different story. We're kind of awestruck by it all."
Not Blue, though.
Despite a full day Friday and more appearances Saturday, he happily posed for photos, sat quietly even when Kaltenmark took off his leash and never barked once.
"He gets it," Kaltenmark said. "He understands, I might be tired, but this is the Final Four."
BUTLER'S BIGGEST FAN: It's a special day for Bobby Plump, who is perhaps Butler's most famous alumnus. The 74-year-old Plump is the man who in high school hit a last second jump shot in the 1954 Indiana state championship game that led to the movie "Hoosiers."
He was an all-conference guard at Butler and is in the school's athletic hall of fame.
"I've been excited since they won last week," Plump told The Associated Press in a phone interview. "This year is a bit more special because it's the second straight year. It's awfully nice to repeat."
They're expecting a big crowd at Plump's Indianapolis restaurant, Plump's Last Shot, on Saturday. They've added televisions outside and dogs, especially Bulldogs, are welcome out there. Their special of the day is the Blue Dog, a beef hot dog wrapped in bacon and deep fried.
He is confident in his team against VCU on Saturday.
"Butler is going to win of course," he said.
He's very proud of what Butler has been able to accomplish in reaching the Final Four in consecutive years.
"It's unbelievable," Plump said. "When you stop and think that Butler is the first Indiana school to go to back-to-back Final Fours that's saying a lot."
It's no surprise to him that Butler is contending for a national championship. He's known for years that they were capable of such success.
"They've done such a magnificent job," he said. "We've known for 10 or 15 years that they've been good."
SHAKAMANIA: VCU athletic director Norwood Teague is ready for the season to be over -- but only so he can sit down with coach Shaka Smart and try to wow him with a new contract.
"We're going to get really aggressive with a package for him and hopefully carve out a deal that we can work it out after the season's over," Teague said courtside at Reliant Stadium.
Smart has gone from a surprise selection to replace Anthony Grant two years ago to the hottest young name in coaching as the Rams have made their surprise run to the Final Four.
Several power conference positions remain open, including Missouri and North Carolina State, and Teague is well aware that fans at those schools likely will want them to look at Smart.
But that doesn't mean Smart will leave.
"I think a lot of people agree with me that we could keep him," Teague said.
After Grant had great success at VCU, the school reworked his contract and was paying him nearly $900,000 until he left to take the job at Alabama before last season. Smart makes $325,000 base salary, but bonuses have boosted his pay for this season to $640,000, Teague said.
"I feel very comfortable talking about that at any moment," he said. "The only time I don't feel comfortable about it is this weekend because I want to let him enjoy it and focus on what he's doing."
WHERE'S ENES?: Enes Kanter wasn't on the sidelines for Kentucky on Saturday night and never played a minute for the Wildcats this year, but that doesn't mean the talented center didn't make an impact.
The NCAA ruled Kanter permanently ineligible in January for accepting improper benefits from a Turkish club team two years ago, a decision that was supposed to doom the Wildcats.
Instead, they made it back to the Final Four for the first time in 13 years thanks in large part to the guy who filled in: senior Josh Harrellson, who evolved from little-used role player to glue-guy.
Harrellson heaps much of the praise for his rapid development on the 6-foot-11 Kanter, considered one of the best big men in the country when he signed with Kentucky a year ago. Kentucky coach John Calipari made Kanter a student assistant after the NCAA's judgment, a move that allowed him to practice with the team.
"Just competing against him, doing drills with him, trying to match what he does, it made me better," Harrellson said. "You think if you can hang with a guy like that, you can hang with a lot of other guys too."
Harrellson turned the confidence he gained battling Kanter in practice and transferred it to the games. He held his own against Ohio State's Jared Sullinger and North Carolina's Tyler Zeller in last week's regionals and he become arguably Kentucky's second-most important player behind point guard Brandon Knight.
Kanter spent most of the home games sitting at the end of the Kentucky bench in a white sweat suit, clipboard in hand. He opted to remain on campus during the postseason to focus on working out and getting ready for the NBA Draft. Several teams have already traveled to Lexington to get a look at Kanter, and he is expected to be a lottery pick despite not having played a game in over a year.
ROYALTY IN THE PARK: The Kings of Leon headlined the Big Dance concert series downtown at Discovery Green on Saturday before the game. Hundreds of people crowded into the park on Saturday to listen to the music and enjoy food, drinks and basketball-themed games.
The park is across the street from the George R. Brown convention center, which has been transformed into Bracket Town throughout the tournament. Bracket Town features basketball competitions, interactive games and prizes and is open through Monday evening.
The concert series wraps up Sunday with performances by Roger Creager, Uncle Kracker, Pat Green and Kenny Chesney.
AP Sports Writers Nancy Armour, Will Graves, Hank Kurz and Kristie Rieken contributed to this report from Houston.