2011 NCAA Basketball Tournament: Important Observation 67, UConn wins, we all lose
To everyone who has read SpreeGoogs throughout the NCAA tournament, thanks for sticking with me for all of my important observations. You’re welcome for the knowledge. Get ready for the ride now that I have less news to comment on and more musings to get out there, so buckle up.
UConn 53, Butler 41 — UConn may have won last night, but everyone else in America lost.
Congratulations to UConn, because they played good ball all year and they put together a great run and beat great teams in both of their postseason tournaments. I doubt that any of the players of coaches are reading SpreeGoogs, but they are, congratulations and you deserve that trophy and whatever other party favors come with an NCAA championship.
But the real story from last night’s is not that UConn won, it’s that America lost. We lost partially because Butler lost and mostly because the worst game of the tournament was the championship game.
To start with — and I hate to do this to UConn, because the story should be about the winning team — this game was more about Butler losing than UConn winning. Butler is better than a Cinderella. This is the second year the Bulldogs have made it one win away from the whole shebangabang. That’s an awful lot of wins for a program that no one considered a threat this year. Or last year. Since this year was unofficially the year of the underdog (a Final Four with a 3, 4, 8, 11), I’d expect that Butler winning would have been the true longshot, miracle ending that would have capped it all off. Not to say UConn wasn’t a longshot either, but with this particular Final Four, UConn was a giant.
I’ve said it several times before, but Butler was America’s team in this game, and they really put up a terrible fight. UConn played great defense, like they always do, but Butler just did not make anything. It took the Bulldogs something like 35 minutes to get their first point in the paint. A stat that is less staggering when you consider that they only made 12 shots all night. That’s a field goal every 3:20. Butler didn’t even make free throws (8-14 for the night). They shot under 20% for the night. It was a bad way to lose a game.
Butler playing that badly last night was a big art of the game, but the biggest part of the game is that both team played terribly. If Butler were to look at the UConn side of the box score, they’d probably be elated: 19-55 shooting (34.5%), 1-11 three-pointers, only 6 assists, 53 points. Kemba went 5-19. Roscoe Smith was scoreless and had 4 fouls. No one except Walker, Lamb, and Oriakhi scored more than 4. UConn looked beatable. Butler looked worse. The game looked the worst. By far.
Now that the NCAA tournament is behind us, let’s celebrate that it was a great year, pay the winner of our bracket pool, and move on to more fun and interesting sports topics. Keep visiting SpreeGoogs for upcoming posts on the Barry Bonds trial, the start of the baseball season and the NBA/NFL drafts that are about to happen.