Tuesday, April 05, 2011

04/05 (UConn) Quickie

A few thoughts about last night's game:

*Simply because of the epically bad shooting performance, it is possible that people will remember this game as ugly.

But more likely, we will simply remember UConn as champs -- few bring up Maryland's godawful win over Indiana in the 2002 title game.

We will remember Butler's run to back-to-back title games, which is a pretty good consolation prize; they get to keep that legacy no matter how they finished the second game.

We will remember VCU, going from "First Four" to "Final Four."

If the legacy of this Tournament and this Butler team is their awful shooting in one game, then it really is a signal of how superlatively bad this single game was.

But I don't think that happens. I think we remember UConn's epic run, we remember Butler's back-to-back and we remember VCU.

*That said, what strikes me as most remarkable about last night's game is that for the second straight year, Butler -- in a losing performance -- eclipsed the champion.

The legacy of last year's title game isn't Duke winning the championship; it is that Gordon Hayward's halfcourt buzzer-beater that would have won the game almost went in.

And the legacy of this year's title game isn't UConn winning the championship; it is that Butler couldn't hit the broad side of an Indiana barn. In a Bizarro twist, the shots -- again -- almost went in.

(That's unfair and doesn't give nearly enough credit to UConn's defense, which as SI's Luke Winn put it, was the greatest defensive performance ever in a title game.)

*I don't think we will focus on the horrible shooting. Then again, I don't think we will focus on UConn winning the title (or Duke winning the title a year ago).

I think this goes down as the Butler Era -- the "micro-dynasty," a two-year run that set a new standard for smaller programs, turned Brad Stevens into America's most beloved coach and captivated the country for those two months of March when everyone cares about college basketball for a few weeks.

-- D.S.

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