And can they please let them back in? Thanks.
Seriously, for anyone who watched that game last night… I feel your pain. That was uglier than ugly. Butler managed to shoot only 18% from the floor for the entire game. UConn didn’t fare much better, but they somehow managed to score more points, 53 of them to be exact. In doing so they managed to win their third national championship and sent Butler back to the world of the also rans.
So what happened to Butler, a team that so many people felt could and would win this game, myself included. (Granted I disclosed in making that pick that I had zero confidence in it and felt UConn could win for a multitude of reasons, all of which came to the surface from the tip)
To put it in the politest way possible, Butler was simply out shot, out athleticised (Is that a word? I doubt it, but who cares. Let’s roll with it.), and out sized. From the start of the game it was obvious that going inside for easy baskets with Matt Howard and Aaron Smith just wasn’t going to happen. UConn was just too tall and too long for Butler to deal with. Butler also never got into an offensive rhythm. They looked disjointed, rushed, and poorly spaced which caused rushed shots and bad looks at the basket all night. I also think it was unfair that Butler was forced to play both halves on a peach basket using rules from 1915. Was their rim broken? Was there a lid on it? I’ve never seen a team have such hard luck when it came to trying to get shots to go down. It went from rooting for them to feeling bad for them. It was a shame to see them go down like that because they are a better team than what they showed last night.
In the end the night belonged to the UConn Huskies and in the process they completed one of the most improbable runs to a title that we’ve ever seen in the history of March Madness, if not all of sports. They’ve won 11 games overall going all the way back tot he start of the Big East Tournament. Not to mention the first five wins were over the course of fives days. For whatever reason when the odds were against them, this UConn team rose to the occasion. The majority of the credit goes to Kemba Walker (Tournament and Final Four MOP), and rightfully so, but yesterday’s victory was due in part more to the contributions of Jeremy Lamb and Alex Oriakhi, both of which played phenomenal games. Without them they don’t win that game last night as they shut down Butler’s two best players, Shelvin Mack and Matt Howard.
The worst part of all of this is the fact that everyone will remember what has been such an amazing tournament for it’s sloppy, low scoring, and down right ugly championship game. And that’s a shame. There were dozens of memorable moments from VCU’s run, to Morehead St. and Richmond, all of the buzzer beaters, and the emergence of players like Kemba Walker and Derrick Williams. But it is what it is. You want the final game, the highlight and culmination of the tournament to be a suspenseful and exciting affair. This wasn’t. That’s not to take anything away from either team, but sometimes these things can’t be helped.
But so ends another college basketball season and another March Madness. It was a fun ride. I even won some money for the first time ever, which I’m pretty excited about. I also lost bragging rights for the third straight year. Oh well, that’s the risk you take with this tournament.
Now let’s all cross our fingers that everyone decides to leave college early for the NBA Draft…