Monday, April 4, 2011
Kemba and the Huskies Slightly Less Bad Than Butler, Win National Championship
Well, that was ugly. In a contest that made last year's NBA Finals game 7 look like this game, the Connecticut Huskies outlasted the Butler Bulldogs to win Jim Calhoun's third championship.
Great defense was played, to be sure, but there's no excuse for a team to shoot 18%. That's not a good percentage on half court shots. If they shot twice as good, it would have been a terrible offensive night. This isn't to say that UCONN was much better. Neither team could hit a shot for minutes at a time. I almost wished NCIS or whatever is usually on CBS at 930 on a Monday would pre-empt the game. This game was that bad. Even the usual fawning college ball enthusiasts on ESPN and CBS couldn't pretty this one up. Gus Johnson would have trouble getting excited over this mess.
Anyway, not to sound too negative, great defense was played by the big doofy guys in the middle for the Huskies (Oriakhi made up for his Jared Jeffries like offensive skills with some key 2nd half blocks) and UCONN made a few baskets when they needed them to pull away with a 20-3 run. Since I mentioned the game 7 earlier, it looked like Kemba was going to imitate his idol Kobe's 6 for 24 in that game, but he too made a couple nice steals and hustle plays to contribute. But the story of this game was the absolute horror show put on by the Butler shooters. There were wide open shots missed all over the court, and this one has to hurt worse for the players and students at Butler than last year's heart breaker. At least last year, they can say they played their best against a very good Duke team, and were a miracle shot away from stealing that one. Tonight, they missed 24 3s and the face of their team, Matt Howard, went 1 for 13. Nothing went down for them. That's too bad, because this was an extremely exciting tournament full of dynamic offensive play, clutch shots and big time "Onions" performances starting with the conference tourneys all the way up to Saturday's final four games. Tonight's game between two not-so-great teams was an unfittingly ugly end to it all.
Congratulations to Uconn on a great season, though, they deserved to make it this far and have the chance to sneak out with an unsightly win.
Now dance, Kemba, dance!