Connecticut Huskies 53, Butler Bulldogs 41 in the Ugliest National Championship Game, Ever
By Jason McIntyre
[Oh. You’re probably wondering what Jim Nantz said when the buzzer sounded. “The Huskies are the Top Dog in 2011!” It was a battle between the Huskies and Bulldogs, get it? He kept the narrative going moments later: “… it was clear tonight – Connecticut, wins best in show.” I guess that’s acceptable. Earlier, his “Walker, Texas Ranger” line was not.]
Butler shot 12-of-64 from the field (18 percent, lowest in title game history) and was an unfathomable 3-for-31 on 2-point shots. You can blame the outside shooting on playing in a football stadium, but all those missed bunnies inside the arc? Credit the long interior Connecticut defense of Alex Oriakhi (four blocks) and 7-footer Charles Okwandu (four blocks). Butler’s Matt Howard, who some think is an NBA player, shot 1-for-13 mostly going against Oriakhi.
Greg Anthony said it was “by far, the worst performance I’ve seen in a National Title game.”
Connecticut struggled in the first half because four starters had two fouls. Calhoun sat each of them as soon as they picked up No. 2, so Lamb and Oriakhi sat out about the final eight minutes of the half. Once they all played a few minutes into the second half without picking up a third, Jeremy Lamb got going (12 second-half points), Oriakhi scored inside, and the Huskies pulled away. Kemba Walker finished with a game-high 16.
Jim Calhoun has won three titles since 1999. The only coaches with three or more titles: John Wooden, Bobby Knight, Coach K and Adolph Rupp.