I was excited to watch this game.
8 seed Butler taking on 3 seed UConn. Bulldogs vs. Huskies. This game had all the makings of a classic.
Instead of watching the game at home, I decided that I would keep my dad company and watch it with him. I drove the 2 hours to his home and watched the game on a 1 year old 20 inch square TV with mono sound. I knew this game was going to be a good one.
I guess not all games are classics.
UConn defeated Butler 53-41. Butler actually played a fairly strong defensive game. They held UConn to 35% shooting from the field and 9% from the 3 point line. The real story was that Butler made only 18 % of their field goals.
I guess this was a classic – an ugly one
Here are 7 observations made as I watched the 2011 NCAA Championship Game
1. UConn is the more athletic team
Especially the guards of the Huskies. Walker and Lamb are so fluid in their motions. Some of the saves Walker made were unbelievable. Butler is a hard nosed team but their blue collar effort was not enough for the smooth UConn team.
2. Butler can D up
I will go on a limb and say that Butler played better defense than UConn. This does not mean that UConn did not play good D because they did some great things. Good close outs and challenging the Butler bigs in the paint were just two areas of standout.
The Bulldogs however were scrappy. They took charges, dived for loose balls and even held Kemba Walker, the Cousy award winner for best point guard in the nation, to ZERO assists. Butler simply did not make their open shots, including their layups. The Huskies made the shots they were supposed to make.
3. Both coaches have done amazing things with their teams
Both Brad Stevens (34 years old) and Jim Calhoun (68 years old) are great coaches and their respective programs are benefiting from their leadership skills. One is on the rise and the other is at the peak. It must be noted however that it was Calhoun, the experienced one, who made the most obvious adjustments at the half. It showed on the scoreboard.
4. Scoring in the paint is important
Ask Butler if they think scoring in the paint is important? It was painful to watch Smith and Howard struggle against the UConn big men.
5. Kemba Walker is a going to be a good NBA player
Good players make adjustments in tough games. Kemba Walker is a good player and will do well at the next level because he can make adjustments, even in adversity.
Although he was not able accumulate the assists he usually gets (blame it on poor shooting from his teammates?), he was still able to score (16 pts) and rebound (9). Throw in a silky smooth jump shot and a super quick first step and this young man will benefit any team that wants him.
6. One Shinning Moment gets weaker every year
I try to get excited about this video montage every year and every year I am disappointed. Sometimes change is good (hint, hint).
7. Next year the championship will be more exciting
I guarantee this one. But for the boys at UConn, congrats is still in order.
What did you think of the NCAA Championship game this year?