Open thread: National title game

  • 04/06/2010 12:22 am in

What a breathtaking ending.

What a disappointing outcome.

What a game.

This post is mostly meant to be an open thread for y’all to discuss the Butler-Duke national championship, which has to be among the best this reporter has ever seen. Strike that, it’s easily the best I’ve ever seen.

So Hollywood and real life don’t always match up as we’d like. If the last 40 minutes of this college basketball season were disappointing to you, then I’m not surely what you’d consider pleasing. I mean seriously, I’m still shaking my head in wonder, almost an hour later.

Without further ado, we’ll open up our trusted, Disqus-driven comments section up to you. I’m going to go check and see if Duke stole anything else from me besides the opportunity to see a rare and special moment. Have a good one folks.

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  • Eric Ostby

    I saw a tweet that summed it up best: Hypothetical time: IF Gus Johnson was calling that game, and IF Hayward hits that shot, what would’ve happened? #headexplosion #butler #duke

    Helluva game by the Bulldogs, and it would’ve been real nice to see the feel-good story knock off Coach K. Wasn’t meant to be, I suppose.

  • Tom

    It was the referees not Duke that stole that game from Butler( and Baylor). Not calling over the backs and moving screens, giving Zoubek 10 uncalled fouls including the late throw down of Howard,allowing Scheyer a clear continuation basket, calling an obvious block on Scheyer a charge on Heyward-depriving Butler of 3 points, the pushing of Heyward by Singler on the fall away shot, the intentional foul that wasn’t called,etc. The sad thing is that reverse those plays and the calls would have gone the other way.

    I defy anyone to watch the tape of that game and still say Duke deserved to win

  • Just got home from the game, still in shock at the ending. Not the Hollywood ending but what a season for those kids. Hope IU can learn that defense, heart, and a will to make plays are just as important as top tier talent.

  • Taskmaster75

    It was a good game. I personally think Memphis-Kansas was better , but t would easily be #2.

  • marsh21

    One of the best I've ever seen and Butler proved everyone wrong. They could have won that game and missed several opportunities.

    My friends Butler is the best program in the State and will be again next year as most of the players are returning. Top five program next year. Wow……..

    This puts more pressure on our coach. He better improve because if Mr. Stevens sticks around long enough, well you know what I'm thinking…..

  • Kelin Blab

    Great great basketball game
    +I still hate Duke
    +I will still hold our dusty banners over their heads until they win one more
    +Butler getting their is good for the state overall and we are still the basketball capital of the world

  • unclekerfuffle

    I have to agree with this being one of the best championship games ever. It ranks right up there with 1982 and 1987 when it comes to two teams playing with heart and battling it out until the last shot. As silly as this sounds, in all three of those games, the deciding factor was simply who made the last basket. In all three games, if you add another 10 seconds to the clock, the outcomes are likely reversed.

    What this game should teach fans is that good game and prep coaching, recruiting the right type of STUDENT-athlete (that means team players) who are allowed to develop into mature upperclassmen will pay huge dividends to a university and fan base that are willing to be patient and focused on the longterm objectives of the program. Winning should not be the objective–winning the right way should be.

  • CutterInChicago

    Great game. Best title game since 1987. Butler was impressive (but I can recall a lot of lay-ups and bunnies that Howard missed in the first half… <sigh>). If Howard can figure out a way to defend without fouling (he possesses an almost Big Tom Pritchard ability to draw fouls at times) he will be a really nice college player. Hayward needs to hone his killer instinct, good things were happening for Butler in the last 10-12 mins of the game when he was getting the ball early in the possession and making things happen. Nored is a stud.
    Give Duke credit, esp Kyle Singler, he was unstoppable last night. Really impressive performance. Both teams as well as Purdue will be in pre-season Top 5.
    A great game to watch. Just really enjoyable and a great way for the season to end.

  • Billy Joe

    What a great game! I wanted Butler to win but the most important thing that has been over looked is the way both of these institutions look at the student athelete. Look at these kids grades! Wow what a great tribute to college! These other schools whereby the coaches are always getting nailed or the schools are because of cheating! This is what it is all about not just winning but doing it the correct way! My hat is off to both schools and the one and dones were not there?? HAHA

  • millzy32

    Great game. One thing no one has mentioned which was the real reason Butler lost the game was the poor shooting by Seniror Willie Veasley. He had multiple wide open 3 point looks and clank clank clank. If he hits any of them they win that game. Howard could have hit a free throw or two as well. Butler outplayed them and I am very impressed at their ball control. Watchin them against Duke's tough D just made me think how disciplined they are compared to IU's team. We would have had 35-40 Turnovers last night against that Duke D. Butler doesn't force it and takes what they can get and protects the ball. I wish we had a coach like Stevens and players like Butler. Sad, never thought I'd ever say that. Our guys couldn't set a non-moving screen if their lives depended on it. Sad that we have to look at Butler to see how good Indiana basketball can be. Wake up Mr. Crean and teach some fundamentals.

  • marcusgresham

    Damn skippy! I was thinking about it, and I realized that of the 10 D-I schools in the state, half of them have made it to the Final Four. Four of those five made it to the championship game. I haven't counted for sure, but the only other state with 5 teams to make it to the Final Four is North Carolina, and there are 15 or more D-I schools there.

  • CutterInChicago

    One interesting stat to me: the turnovers – Butler had 2 or 3 “bad” ones but then again they only had eight (8). Yes, eight turnovers in 40 minutes (though they only had 7 assists).

  • fcgrizz303

    1. What a gritty performance by both teams in a very physical game.
    Both teams just oozed with passion and a will-to-win. As a fan who appreciates the more idealistic aspects of the game (team play, selflessness, strategy, and fundamentals) I couldn't have asked for a better final game/matchup.

    2. Officiating dictated the game (dictated, not decided):
    The thing I was looking for in the first 5 minutes was how the game would be officiated; I thought if they called it tighter then Butler had the advantage, but if they let them play overly-physical without whistles then the dogs would be in for a battle that would be tough to win. The rationale is this: while Duke had a major size advantage inside, Butler had a major footwork and quickness advantage to counter. And if anyone saw Howard's comments in a recent interview, he said,

    “Most of the time, I am matched up against someone taller or heavier, but for our system, I can't put on 15, 20 pounds. As long as our defense is working the way it should, and I'm working hard, it shouldn't matter if the guy is that much bigger than me.”

    Well, the whistles didn't blow much either way (1st half was horrible officiating…appreciated the greater consistency and evenness from the officials in the 2nd half, though), but wow did the dogs adapt, and then scrap, and then give themselves a chance to win – even though they were built to win a different way.

    3. My Brad Stevens man/coach-crush instensified.
    Not only is his knowledge of the game incredible, he understands the ultimate ideal which any athletic program/team should be built upon: SYNERGY. Butler's synergy is what I love…and their synergy is also what analysts, fans, and the sports world always seem to overlook and underestimate.

  • Matt

    IU fans might be upset they don’t have Butler’s Brad Stevens as their coach. He could have been hired for half of what Crean gets paid. Read this for more: http://www.ibj.com/the-score/2010/04/06/butlers-brad-stevens-success-haunts-iu/PARAMS/post/19131

  • Hoagland

    To piggyback off of your number 3. because it starts the point I was going to post and also notes someone else with a man/coach-crush on Brad Stevens:

    I loved watching Coach Stevens in the presser afterwards. He was undoubtedly heartbroken, but he still answered every question openly and honestly. There was no spin whatsoever to his presser. You could see the dissapointed (rightfully so), yet he still talked about Hayward using the last T.O. correctly, and could explain why they switched who took the ball out. He talked about BASKETBALL, not how the kids needed the right mindset, or effort, or more intensity like in practice. This is all needed, but its not basketball analysis, its just stuff that changes in every game, for every program. I loved that he didn't just throw out general effort things, but took the time to at least explain their scouting and strategy on a few key elements of the game. He made adjustments throughout the game from the first play on. This is what we need back at IU. I can take mistakes or plays I don't agree with if the coach can at least explain them, it lets you know he understands. Sometimes, I'm not sure Crean realizes where he needed adjustments, just thinks its effort or something.

    This isn't a hate post on Crean, I like Coach Crean. I guess my general point is this: I really liked watching a game that was a chess match, and not just a game of who could hit more off-balanced shots, or get more highlight plays. The teams shared, and played as teams, and you could tell both coaches were very knowledgeable about the game. They made moves and counter moves the whole 40 minutes, and I think both had enough material in the playbook to do it for at least 40 more…

    Coach Stevens was quoted before the game saying something along the lines of the difference between him and Izzo/Coach K/ Jim B. , besides age and experience/championships, was that they wrote books, hes just a guy who gets to read them. Well, even if he didn't coach another game in his life, I'd still read a book written by Brad Stevens.

  • MillaRed

    Ditto on the officials. As usual the advantage goes to Duke. If you watch the last offensive possession for Duke, Zoubek literally threw Howard to the turf.

    The only thing worse than watching the outcome was listening to Clark Kellogg kiss Coach K's _ss for 2 hours. I hope you had a nice glass of champagne with him last night Clark. I am no longer a fan of yours. Extremely one-sided commentating.

  • This isn't going to be popular, but I actually feel this game is being over-hyped, although I'll give the caveat that if you were in the arena then it was probably a totally different experience.

    I thought it was more just a close game than actually a really well played game, at least at the end. I also thought the ending, although exciting, lacked that moment that makes a game great IMO where someone steps up and “wins” the game. Duke had several chances to take control at the end, Smith's layup miss and Singler's near airball of a wide-open elbow jumper and Butler had several chances to take the lead and/or tie and couldn't convert.

    Yes, the defense was good, but I'd prefer someone putting a stamp on the ending by going out and winning it. Similar to Chalmers in the '08 game.

    Don't get me wrong, still a fantastic game and extremely enjoyable to watch. The whole Butler/Indy thing definitely adds a ton to the story.

  • The officials were not in favor of Duke. Butler shot 2 more free throws, and obviously it's even four more free throws if you take out Zoubek's two at the end where Butler had to foul.

    A couple calls went Duke's way, no doubt, but some went Butler's way too. There was one play where Shyer was almost knocked to the ground on a baseline jumper toward the end. Butler also got away with some pretty heavy hand-checking for most of the second half.

    I thought it was poorly officiated, but poorly in both directions.

  • MillaRed

    The comment Grizz made was the officiating style dictated a type of game that favored Duke and I agreed. I really don't see it any differently than any other Duke game, it just happened to be the national championship.

    The real question is, seeing how we agree the game was poorly officiated, is this is the best the NCAA can do? You have hundreds to choose from and you go with these 3? Even Kellogg said, “they are letting them play.”

    It's basketball not rugby. Regardless of whether one team was favored or not, etc. that was a crap job from that set of refs. Another swing and miss by the NCAA.

    Give Duke credit, it was all Singler for them. I just thought the refs created bad situations for Butler at times. Only an opinion. When Zoubek all but body slammed Howard in the end, Kellogg called it a FLOP. Good grief buddy.

  • 100% my bad. I skimmed the thread very quickly and am not even sure that I fully read the comment above yours. I apologize for jumping the gun.

    I disagree a bit that the officiating “letting them play” favored Duke though. I think it created opportunities for both teams. It definitely favored Duke in the paint, most notably on the boards, but I thought it really favored Butler on the perimeter.

    Duke had an extremely tough time running their sets, especially in the second half, because the refs allowed Butler to be physical on the perimeter. That's sort of why it was mainly Singler for Duke. Sheyer, and Smith to an extent as well, had a really difficult time creating separation and getting open looks because of that.

    Zoubek and Thomas got away with a lot in the paint, true, but Mack, Van Sant and Veasley dictated the game on the perimeter with their physical play.

  • MillaRed

    Someone mentioned Veasley in another post. Veaslet gets an F for his performance. If he hits 2 of the many open looks he had, Butler wins.

    Gleas, I have my Hate Duke hat on today. Let me whine in peace!

  • Message received, loud and clear! 🙂

  • MillaRed

    Ya know this wasn't even a very good Duke team. They had no depth at the guard positions at all and the Plumlee's were very average. It all just seemed to fall into place for them.

    I think there are 10 teams that could have beat the hell out of them.

  • MillaRed

    Well if you think this one was over-hyped, wait until next year when they add a another 32 “Cinderella's” to the tournament!

    Yeaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!

  • It wasn't an impressive field period. This was definitely a down year in general as far as NCAA basketball goes. There wasn't a single great team. Last years UNC team would have walked away with this title. I mean I love Butler and all, but no way they sniff the Final Four last season or the year before, probably Duke too.

    I agree the Plumlees didn't play that great last night, although I think in the tournament in general they played very well, given their role.

  • I hate the 96 teams thing, but I find myself having a much harder time dealing with this new Jennifer Hudson One Shining Moment thing.

  • Kelin Blab

    BGleas…..you can change NFL over time, you can have inter-league baseball, IU can get a new uniform…BUT don't mess with my candy stripes and my one shining moment. I like jennifer hudson, but waaaaay tooo much yelling, pics of her singing, and I got use to Teddy P. After this I fully expect the NCAA to go to a class basketball system where Duke is 4A and IU is 3A….

  • I think there's 20 (maybe 21) teams down here.

    That being said, there's also 11 national championships…

  • Don't worry. The NCAA will make sure that the Cinderellas are all weeded out in the opening rounds of the tournament so that we don't have a travesty like a Butler or *gasp* Davidson almost making the Final Four again.

  • Andrew

    Totally agree BGleas. It was a very good game, and a close game, but far from legendary. I'd be curious to know how old Zach is, b/c to call it “easily the best” national championship he's seen, he can't be very old. 1987 (IU/Syracuse), 1989 (Michigan/Seton Hall-OT), 1993 (UNC/Michigan), and 1999 (UConn/Duke) were all better games IMO b/c more plays were made throughout the game, and especially at the end. I realize both teams play very good defense, but let's be honest, both offenses leave a lot to be desired…the fact is it was a 61-59 final in the 3 point/35-second shot clock era.

    I would put this more in the ilk of 1997 (Arizona/UK-OT), 2003 (Syracuse/KU), 2005 (UNC/Ill), and 2008 (KU/Memphis-OT)…close games, hotly contested, but just b/c a game is close doesn't make it a shake-your-head-in-wonder moment.

    I think if it were the same exact game, but with a BCS school instead of the upstart, it wouldn't be viewed as romantically. Just my two cents.

  • marsh21

    I thought this was the best overall NCAA since I've been watching it and I'm 38. Upsets, close games, crazy defense and it all comes down to two private schools that have students not a bunch of one year kids not going to class.

    I don't care if the talent wasn't as high this year because it was great to see team defense not a bunch of one on one plays. UNC last year was a freak team and people were getting used to that type of talent and expecting it this year. This game was one shot away from the being the greatest Championship game ever and no one would be talking about lack of talent.

  • marsh21

    Good article and thanks for posting. If Crean doesn't do anything by year 5 and Brad is still around maybe that will be the play.

    I wanted Scott Drew from day one and he would have come for less as well.

  • silkyslim

    WOW! Truly a classic! Too bad that last shot didn't fall, but still one heck of a season. With IU down this year it was good to see one of our “Hoosier” teams play great ball!

  • WestCoast Hoosier

    What this make me think of is how famous Hayward would be if that shot had gone in:

    1. His name would live in basketball lore as long as the game is played – probably getting bigger by the year.

    2. He would be a made man for life, even if he never did another thing.

    3. He could make a living writing his life story up to 19.

    4. He could be signing autographs at those autograph shows for the rest of his life – and have a decent income from it.

    5. He would be famous all over the country and in many foreign countries.

    6. He would probably marry a starlet and be a celebrity.

    7. Every year, the shot would be shown at NCAA tournament time. The cameras would pan to him in the crowd.

    8. Underdogs everywhere would cite his name.

    9. One word: paparazzi.

    10. We’d be having conversations about him in our nursing homes. Duke grads would still be having nightmares in theirs.

    And that is all setting aside anything he might do as a junior, senior, in the pros or otherwise in life.

    Instead, he’ll be an afterthought.

    An inch or so.

  • aceman07

    Here is my take:

    Butler hung with Duke on the boards statistically (especially offensive rebounds).
    Butler was almost even in points in the paint.
    Butler outscored Duke in second chance points.
    Butler outscored Duke in points off turnovers.
    Butler dominated Duke in bench points. (all this according to the unofficial stats flashed at the end of the game so I'm not positive on one of these points).

    And Duke still one. What this did prove is that a certain brand of basketball and the effort that accompanies it can still win at the college level and help a little old mid-major compete against power conference teams. Butler did everything they needed to do statistically to win and almost did! The did miss a few bunnies and squandered a few points that way but they executed near flawlessly as they did the entire tournament and guess what, they should just keep getting better next year.

    Congratulations to the Bulldogs and we appreciate what you did and how you helped prove that the state of Indiana is still the home of true, no guts no glory, basketball!

    BTW – probably the second best game I've seen behind Keith Smart's shot against Syracuse but I'm probably a little biased.

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