Butler, UConn Advance: Morning After Reflections

Considering the whole evening, the one thing that struck me most was how much better the Davids — Butler and VCU — played than the Goliaths.

UK and UConn played a highly competitive game. But they both played nervously. Neither played as well as they are capable. The Wildcats hit a third of their shots across the board. Okay for treys. Awful for a field goal percentage. Despicable at the free throw line.

UConn committed 15 turnovers. Many came down the stretch, more than a few by this season’s legitimate POY, Kemba Walker. The Huskies were 1/12 beyond the arc.

The Cats veterans were more out of sync than the rookies. Miller and Liggins each went 1/7 from the field. Harrellson grabbed but four rebounds.

This was not an instant classic.

* * * * *

I find it odd that Coach Cal did not have a more specific play with options set up at the end.

* * * * *

There is simply something eerie about Butler.

Greg Anthony hit the nail on the head. Even when the Bulldogs are off their feed, they stay in the game. They’ll be playing awful. Then you look at the scoreboard and they’re right in it.

Much of the credit must go to Brad Stevens, the intern in Accounting Dept. lookalike who has now retired the March Flavor of the Month Award in perpetuity.

VCU was valiant, Butler better.

The Rams hung tough, even though they weren’t shooting as they have been in the tourney.

The harbinger of the end came when Jamie Skeen missed the +1 after a trey at 2:33 that would have cut the deficit to three. Darius Theus short-armed layup  at :47 was the end.

* * * * *

Freshman still playing this late in the season get nervous for the most part. Dick Vitale, you’re wrong. They are not “really sophomores.”

Kentucky’s shaky effort is understandable. Especially when the upperclassmen underperform as they did last night.

Rarely do freshman lead their school to the national title. The only example that immediately comes to mind are the Syracuse Carmelos.

Which I mention because UConn relies heavily on Lamb, Smith, Napier, Giffey and Olander. All of whom are frosh. Can Kemba carry them all the way? Can they play at a level beyond their tender years?

Meanwhile Butler played only one rookie in the semis, Khyle Marshall.

Does this bode well for the boys from Indy? I sure hope so. The UConn/ Big East connection notwithstanding, I really want Butler to win. Because they’re the underdog. Because it would be great for college hoops.

* * * * *

Shelvin Mack!!!!!!!!

* * * * *

Unlike many U of L fans, I get no solace whatsoever from the peculiarity that the Cards went 3-1 against the national championship contestants.

I’d trade that Yum! opener W against Butler for a W against Morehead. And those two regular season wins over UConn for two more rounds in the Dance. Wouldn’t you?

Butler and UConn got it together and have gotten it done when it matters.

As much as I/ we loved this edition of the Cardinals, the reality is they lost their regular season finale, the tournament championship game and their opening round game in the NCAA.

– Seedy K


  1. cbcard
    Posted April 4, 2011 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    Get used to losing a number of close games. At least until Pitino can teach someone other than TJ how to shoot free throws.

  2. cbcard
    Posted April 4, 2011 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    Get used to losing our share of close games. At least until Pitino can teach someone other than TJ how to make free throws.

  3. Barbara
    Posted April 4, 2011 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    You seem to have forgotten “Never Nervous Pervis” of 1986 Cards???

  4. c d kaplan
    Posted April 4, 2011 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    I do not ever forget Pervis Ellison. And, while U of L would never have won the title without him, he was not the “leader” of that team. The soul and inspiration of that club were the upperclassmen. Billy Thompson. Milt Wagner. Herbert Crook. Jeff Hall. 

    Pervis was more akin to the missing link, rather than the leader. While I love Ellison, I’ve always been of the opinion that U of L underperformed, when he was the “leader.”

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