NCAA championship: UConn wins third national title
NCAA championship ends in disappointment for second year for Butler. UConn beat the Indiana underdog 53-41, making it UConn's third national title.
(Page 2 of 2)
The version of "Hoosiers" with the happy ending is still available on DVD.Skip to next paragraph
In Pictures NCAA fans
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
UConn, meanwhile, gets the real celebration.
Just as impressive were the stats UConn piled up on defense. Four steals and 10 blocks, including four each by Oriakhi and Roscoe Smith, and a total clampdown of Butler's biggest stars, Matt Howard and Shelvin Mack. Howard went 1 for 13 and Mack went 4 for 15.
Butler's 41 points were 10 points fewer than the worst showing in the shot-clock era in a championship game. (Michigan scored 51 in a loss to Duke in 1992), and the 18.8 percent shooting broke a record that had stood since 1941.
It's been a rough year for the Huskies and their coaching lifer, whose season was tarnished by an NCAA investigation that found Calhoun failed to create an atmosphere of compliance in the program. He admitted he wasn't perfect and has begrudgingly accepted the three-game suspension he'll have to serve when the Big East regular season starts next year.
Then again, given this performance, it's clear UConn does its best work when it's all-or-nothing, one-and-done.
Counting three wins at the Maui Invitational, Connecticut finished 14-0 in tournament games this year — including an unprecedented five-wins-in-five-nights success at the Big East tournament, then six games — two each week — in the one that really counts, one of the most unpredictable versions of March Madness ever.
Villanova won that game by taking the air out of the ball and upsetting Georgetown.
Butler tried to do it in a most un-Butler way — by running a little and jacking up 3s.
Didn't work, and when the Bulldogs tried later to make baskets in the paint, it really looked like there was a lid there. During their dry spell, Howard, Garrett Butcher and Andrew Smith all missed open shots from under the bucket. It just wasn't their day.