Smack / Apr 5, 2011 / 1:42 am

UConn and Kemba Walker Choke the Life out of Butler, Win NCAA Championship

Kemba Walker
We have all witnessed history. On many, many levels. We wake up this morning with UConn as champions of college basketball; the Huskies the last team standing at the end of an absolutely incredible postseason rampage that included winning five Big East Tournament games in five days and then reeling off the six Ws needed to win the NCAA Tournament. That type of run would have been considered unreal for a top-ranked team – the fact that it was put together by a UConn squad that wasn’t even ranked until Week 4 of the season and then entered the Big East Tourney as a No. 9 seed is just absurd. History will remember this Connecticut squad as one of the most unlikely championship teams in college basketball history Kemba Walker should donate his kicks (Air Jordan 6-17-23) to Springfield. He’s been wearing these ever since the start of the Big East Tournament and hasn’t lost since. After the Big East tourney, he told us he was ready to go get six more Ws … To the game … It was clear from the very first possession that even though everyone loved the idea of the “team” that Butler had, the Bulldogs were gonna be in for an uphill battle the entire evening. UConn was significantly taller, longer and more athletic at almost every spot on the floor. Scouts, players and coaches have often told us that the biggest difference between mid/lower Division I players and even Division II players isn’t skill level, it’s size. A guard from a “Mid-Major” like Shelvin Mack is 6-3, while a guard from the Big East like Jeremy Lamb is 6-5 with lank for days. Both teams were playing their guts out, especially on defense for the entire first half, but the Huskies seemed to be getting every rebound and scoring inside solely because of their height advantage. With six minutes to go in the first half, points in the paint tallied 14-0 in favor of UConn (out of 19 total for the Huskies) and it only got worse from there. If UConn was more skilled inside and if their bigs were in straight attack mode, they could have destroyed Butler. Looking back, we guess the Bulldogs had a pretty lucky draw in the sense that they never had to play an inside killer in the tournament. Can you imagine if they had to deal with the monster that is Derrick Williams at any point? That would have been an abrupt end to their run … The first half was a study in gritty defensive stands – Steve Kerr likened it to watching the Steelers and the Ravens. Not pretty basketball by any stretch, but entertaining in its own right, yet Greg Anthony seemed genuinely offended that he had to be subjected to any of it. He kicked off the halftime show by saying, “I want to start by saying that was the worst half of basketball ever in a championship game.” Charles Barkley chimed in later, commenting on Butler’s lead, “A team that made six fields goal has the lead. That’s sad.” … While beauty was in the eye of the beholder in the first half, there’s no denying that the second half was hideous. Butler’s offensive futility reached comical depths as they shot 18.8% for the game – the worst championship performance ever. They were a mind-numbing 3-31 from 2-point range. The craziest thing is that while UConn played serious defense, Butler was just stupendously inept on offense. Layups were blown, mid-range shots rimmed out, foul shots were missed, long jumpers bricked. It was really tough to watch. We kept waiting for Mack to go off, but his first two points of the second half came with two minutes to play and his team down 12. By then it was way too late, and UConn coasted to the 53-41 victory. It wasn’t as bad as this, but it ended up being a relatively easy UConn win … We really hope that Brad Stevens doesn’t let 6-11 center Andrew Smith come back until he figures out how to catch a basketball and finish around the hoop. If you were rooting for Butler, you were probably screaming at your TV in frustration watching him try to grab rebounds, make layups or just not get his weak stuff swatted by UConn defenders. He was torture to watch … With the victory, Jim Calhoun joins an elite group of coaches with three or more NCAA titles. The others are John Wooden (10), Adolph Rupp (4), Coach K (4) and Bobby Knight (3). And at 68 years old, Calhoun is now also the oldest coach to win a title … So what’s next for both programs? Butler has four recruits signed for next year: Jackson Aldridge (PG), Roosevelt Jones (SF), Kameron Woods (PF) and Andy Smeathers (SF) [all passable porn names]. UConn only has one recruit signed for next year: Ryan Boatright (PG) … The main NBA news from Monday was the announcement of this year’s Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame class: Chris Mullin, Dennis Rodman, Tara VanDerveer, Tex Winter, Artis Gilmore, Arvydas Sabonis, and Philly hoops legend Herb Magee, among others … We’re out like Butler buckets.

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  • Young Gunner


  • Young Gunner

    So glad the college basketball season is over. Never was a fan of it

  • Arno

    Butler shot 19 (nineteen !!!) percent, Connecticut 34% (and a beautiful 9% 3 pts shooting).
    Early draft and strict money rules baring european prospect to enter are killing college ball.
    But it is still a profitable business. Isn’t it the most important thing ?

  • the cynic

    that was awful, I could only bear 15 minutes. College basketball is beyond terrible, i was begging for a Cavs/Wolves game on tv

  • http://www.cracked.com/funny-353-kobe-bryant/ Atom

    That is one of the reasons I barely ever watch college b-ball. Level of competition is so much better in the league.

    Love the HOF class. Mullin and Rodman are two of my all time favorites and nice to see Sobonis and Winters get the well deserved nods.

    Im out like the chance of me watching any college ball anytime soon.

  • McSimon

    Anyone knows what’s up with those 2 brackets? Did anyone got everything right?

  • QQ

    You really don’t watch the college basketball expecting deft fundamentals and flawless play. It’s been like that for years now, and it won’t change. But people sometimes dig that kind of stuff. It’s like always watching an opera, and you sometimes long for a garage rock show for a change of pace.

    Props to UCONN and Kemba. As much as I hate Dime’s hyping of Kemba, he REALLY proved himself in this tourney beyond any expectations. He has been unbelievable.

  • pipdaddyy

    C’mon all you haters it is COLLEGE basketball for a reason: they are 18 to 22 year olds who are still getting better, while NBA is for grown men.

    And congrats to UCONN.

  • JAY

    DIME: “Looking back, we guess the Bulldogs had a pretty lucky draw in the sense that they never had to play an inside killer in the tournament. Can you imagine if they had to deal with the monster that is Derrick Williams at any point? That would have been an abrupt end to their run”

    What kind of shit is that, Dime? Big up Butler, that’s it.

  • JAY

    “That is one of the reasons I barely ever watch college b-ball. ”
    ^ This stated after the worst college Final ever. Nice. Have you watched the days with Corliss @ Arkansas? Camby @ UMass? Sheed/Stack @ UNC?
    I like college ball better because those kids act more mature than the NBA players. Generally they play with more heart than the NBA guys and aren’t afraid of going after loose balls. Guys who used to dive to the floor for loose balls in college suddenly criticize those who dive because “that’s how players get hurt.” – C. Bosh. The NBA is filled with a bunch of pussies.

    “Level of competition is so much better in the league.”
    The level of competition is also uneven in the league. They try to create parity but failed horribly, now there’s really only a handful of teams who could win the whole thing or even make the final. You can’t say the same for college ball.

    With most of the top freshmen coming back, next year is going to be bananas.

  • shiptar

    i love ncaa tournament basketball because of the sudden death competition format!! it would be interesting to see that in the nba.. Obviously you dont watch ncaab because of the quality!

  • JAY

    @ QQ: –> “It’s like always watching an opera, and you sometimes long for a garage rock show for a change of pace”.

  • Patrick

    UConn deserved it. They went through a tough bracket to come out as champs. They just happened to win the tournament against Kentucky leaving this game moot. You can’t fault Butler. All they did was beat the teams put in front of them. You have to blame Pitt for playing such a terrible game against them, and Kansas for somehow losing to VCU.

    How much does this hurt Kemba’s draft status?

  • That’s What’s Up

    Butler Brick Academy

  • Kevin

    Funny thing is that in a couple years, they’ll have to vacate this championship. Jim “Calipari” Calhoun, cheated his way to a championship and the truth will eventually come out. And obviously, Calipari will eventually have to vacate his 3rd Final Four trip b/c he cheated again, but everyone already knew that was a foregone conclusion.

  • jdizzle

    Im sure this has been said before but the NBA should give their slogan ”Win Or Go Home” to college basketball. It fits them better

  • NTstateOFmind

    Kemba’s ceiling = Ben Gordon

  • darko’s dougnuts

    @ Kevin: Suck on Calipari’s nuts you hater. What have you ever done with your gay little life? GO BIG BLUE!!!

  • Stewart

    A team full of athletes or a team that just runs an offense that includes a lot of jacking 3’s… Eventually jumpers will be missed, at the end of the day, you need a player to be a able to score in the paint. We have seen that with the tourney this year. Duke prime example, if they are hitting jumpers, look out. BYU, Jimmer hitting jumpers, look out. When the jumpers stop falling, their done. UCONN deserved the victory and Kemba deserved player of the year. He lead a team of freshmen and sophomores to a big east championship and NCAA tournament championship. The Big East, toughest conference in college hoops. For $200 dollars name 3 other teams in the Mountain West division?(You can’t use Google)

  • JDish

    I was rooting for Butler to win this game, but now I’m pondering wether the whole thing was a hype machine for Butler being a “small school” ,compared to UCONN (and Duke last year), to win the NCAA championship. Rather than that it was a testament to a Huskies team that was great. And then looking at Butler really all they had to look to for scoring was Mack and Matt Howard mostly, but Mack only showed up a couple of times, and it seemed as if it was Howard by himself vs the whole UCONN front court rotation.

  • First & Foremost

    What is with all the early hate on the NCAA. You can’t compare them to the NBA. Yes they have some absurd low scores in meaningful games but their games are shorter with a longer shot clock. Also, every year players are coming and going so teams rarely grow together.

    The NCAA has things you almost never see in the NBA. Frantic finishes and full court defense. How many NBA games come down to a timeout after EVERY possession.

    As for a sloppy game, thats what happens in this kind of tournament. Teams that wouldn’t advance in a series luck up and win the one game. Then their luck runs out and you see young players crumble on the biggest stage of their life.

  • JDish

    Its almost as if UCONN had this game in the bag the whole time, it’s just that so many were wishing hard for Butler to somehow grind out the win.

    And correct me if I’m wrong but there were moments in the second half where UCONN could have just started scoring all night with alley-oops and easy buckets while totally ripping the heart out of this Butler team. It was tough to watch.

  • Don Burg

    The rims were rigged. Worst game I ever saw. Such BS how no one noticed the rims were so hard that the ball bounced to the ceiling after every missed shot. Even UCONN couldn’t hit a shot.

  • K Dizzle

    First few posters shittin on college hoops cuz of one game need to get off DIME and never post again.
    No real hoops fan posts shit like “I’m never watchin college ball again cuz of that game”
    Y’all some straight clowns. did you forget last year’s down to the wire game already? Fake ass fans.

    I gotta side with JAY on dime’s bs disrespect of Butler. This MID-MAJOR pulled back to back Finals. Only 5 other squads have pulled that in history. Writin some shit like “If they had to face a force like D Williams, they woulda got spanked” after what that team went thru losin their best player from last year and havin Nored on one knee, shuttin down Kemba, is straight up disrespectful. You a hoops site. Show some class.

    And I hope Kobe haters shittin on #24 for his 6-24 game 7 spit the same venom on Kemba fo his 5-19 with 0 assists last night. He lucky his team showed up…

  • Claw

    Why do they play the championship game there? The seats are far away from the court, its not a basketball setup and everybody complains how it throws their shot off because of the openess. Find a better venue!

  • Abe504

    Like Don Burg said, the rims were definetly not right, no give on that bitch at all.

  • A.R.

    @ Stewart

    SD State, UNLV and Utah! BooYah! Hell I’ll give you another one, New Mexico.


  • Big Island

    @Jay – Couldn’t agree with you more. Butler had a TERRIBLE shooting night that just happened to be for the championship.

    IMO, nothing is better than the first round(not the bs play in games) of the NCAA’s. Obviously the talent isn’t the same as the NBA, but the games are better and they have more riding on it. Outside of the tournament, the NBA offers you a better deal night in and night out.

  • http://www.dimemag.com Austin Burton

    “That’s why I don’t watch college basketball.”

    Anybody who says anything like that today obviously didn’t watch the rest of the Tournament, which was great. Upsets, buzzer-beaters, overtime games, differing styles, lively crowds, dominant performances by star players. And hell, one reason I like NCAA ball over NBA ball is that not every player is a pro, and those young mistakes make for even more unpredictability.

    If the only NBA game I’d watched last year was Game 7 of the Finals, do you know what I’d think of the NBA?

    1. Nobody can shoot. The WINNING team shot 32% from the field, the losers shot 40%.

    2. That Kobe Bryant guy stinks and is completely overrated. How is he the best player in the world when he goes 6-for-24 in the championship game?

    3. The NBA is just a free-throw shooting contest. The Lakers went to the line 37 times.

    4. That Ray Allen guy stinks, and if he’s supposed to be the best shooter of all-time, the NBA is full of guys who can’t shoot. He went 3-for-14 in Game 7.

    5. How are the Celtics one of the best teams in the League when their starting center is some overweight lazy dude who recklessly jacks threes and looks homeless?

    6. Sasha Vujacic should be an All-Star. LA’s coach should have played him more.

    See how stupid I’d sound?

  • LakeShow84

    LMAO @ AB

    Be easy on them hahahaha but good points

    Honestly i knew what to expect so i didnt really care.. i got into Uconns D by the end though.. The more Butler started to brick the more Uconn started to smell blood.. they were smothering them that 2nd half..

    But damn did Butler choke.. athleticism or not midrange and 3 shooting have to do with spacing and if u got a open look u got an open look..

    Kids were front rimming everything..

    THATS the only thing i dont like about College basketball games.. when its all on the line it seem like one team is always choking.. could be in my head tho cuz thats what i watch for lol

  • http://www.theresastatforthat.blogspot.com deron

    It may have been a horrible title game, but this was a great tournament. UConn sure knows how to win ugly. Butler had a good run; they just ran into a long-overdue poor shooting night and a tough Big East defense. UConn closed out on the Butler shooters very well all night long.


  • LakeShow84

    @ KDizz


    Walker shot 5-19????

    Thats absurd!!! im sure he’ll pull above 50% for the rest of his professional career

    All guards are supposed the shoot over 50% am i right??? right haters??????????


  • QQ

    Agree with the WTF Butler mini-diss. I don’t understand that. The fact alone that a mid-major made the Finals. that deserves tremendous props. But this team, they made BACK TO BACK trips.

    A mid major reaching the championships on CONSECUTIVE trips.

    Ponder on that for a minute.

    There’s no fucking ‘ifs’ or ‘buts’. Give them respect and STFU.

  • http://www.dimemag.com Austin Burton

    It would actually be funny if somebody wrote a “Brad Stevens can’t win the big one” column this week.

  • srb

    At least we’re past the week-long Butler love fest.

    And Okwandu can hang out with Andrew Smith in no-hands land. He’s a senior and he needs four more years to develop.

  • Stunnaboy2K11

    What a horrible Finals, yet I couldn’t stop watching cuz a little voice kept telling me butler comes back and wins it. Props to Uconn for beating Butler in their own game, slow down and rugged. PS I loved how the refs let them play, if that was the NBA it would be a free throw bonanza.


    That would be so harsh if someone does that, he brought a mid-major to the finals twice. He was a half court shot away form winning last year, an now his team promptly decided to play the worst game of their life. Must be tough to be him.

  • http://www.dimemag.com Austin Burton

    I’m waiting for it. “Brad Stevens: The new Marv Levy.”

  • Stunnaboy2K11

    Question for Dime board

    if all the major players declare where do you see Kemba, Lamb, Mack and Howard going in the draft? I see it as Kemba late lottery, Lamb early 2nd Mack late 1st and Howard late first early second

  • http://www.dimemag.com Austin Burton

    Kemba is Lottery, somewhere between 12th and 14th. Mack is a first-rounder, probably mid/late-20s. Howard goes mid-second round, and Lamb … I just think he should go back to UConn and be a BEAST next season. During the Kentucky game my uncle said Jeremy Lamb looks like Rallo from “The Cleveland Show,” so now I can’t look at him without laughing.

  • LakeShow84

    “It would actually be funny if somebody wrote a “Brad Stevens can’t win the big one” column this week.”


    but it wouldnt surprise me at all :/

  • Sporty-j

    I love the way UCONN ran there offense in the 2nd half. Instead of Just Kemba running around and coming off of screens so that the defense can get a beam on him. UCONN made adjustments and put Kemba on 1 side and Lamb on the other and ran both of them off of screens. 1 team was able to adjust and i hope Erica Spoelstra was watching the game last night to see how you make adjustments. That was great coaching last night and if last nights game made anybody not want to watch college ball again just because it was a low scoring slug fest that made History. Maybe you should not watch “SPORTS” at all than because it happens in every sport from Soccer, to Baseball, to Football, and etc. Its just not always going to be a high scoring shootout type of game. I loved the defense that was being played last night and a guy like Melo should have been taking notes because theres no reason why he should not be a defensive bull like Ron Artest with all that strength he has. Great game last and if DIMES is going to do the what if with Butler. They might as well do what if with UCONN… Just saying!!!

  • the cynic

    I think some you guys are crazy suckers for the hype machine that is march madness. The whole tournament was and is terrible, and it has been for a while now.

    The only thin great about college basketball is the die-hard crowds


    College basketball > NBA

    Anyone saying that the competition level isn’t there in college basketball is retarded. Period.

  • darko’s doughnuts


  • A-Slam

    Every year people expect a mario chalmers big shot in the final. I think this whole “one shining moment” thing has gone over the top.

  • First & Foremost

    Level of competition is all relative. Just like Magic vs. Cavs you have Memphis vs. Coppin St. Lakers-Celtics & Duke-UNC

    It all depends on what your personal preferences.

  • http://deleted dagwaller

    The only history we witnessed was that this tournament was one of the weakest.

    @44 so true.

  • GMC

    Congrats UCONN!!!!