April 6, 2010 Leave a comment
In what was one of the most enthralling NCAA Championship games in years, Duke edges past Butler by two to take the title- 61 to 59. Obviously Duke is no stranger to the big dance, but I swear, watching that game, you could see the determination on the faces of the Butler players. The most Duke led by all night was 6 points around the 5 minute mark of the first half. Butler kept battling back; grabbing rebounds and loose balls any chance they could get.
The game was played incredibly physical by both teams. With how tense the entire game was, and considering the title on the line, both teams played smart, well controlled basketball. I must add that the refs did a pretty good job officiating, doing their best to make sure the game’s pace wasn’t unduly interrupted. While there was a lot of aggressive play and it seemed as though perhaps a couple controversial calls were missed, I think ultimately the game was called accurately. I also think it’s better off that the officials were not trigger happy, thus allowing the outcome of the game to be decided by determination, talent and stamina, as opposed to free throws and the depth of the bench [as a result of foul outs].
Only 4,200 students attend Butler, but you could tell the majority of the 70,930 fans were rooting for the underdogs in the room. In addition to Butler’s unfamiliarity with the Tournament, they also have one of the youngest coaches in NCAA men’s basketball- Brad Stevens at the age of 33. Compare that to coach Krzyzewski, who has been coaching basketball since before Stevens was even conceived. Also consider that Duke basketball has 3 championship titles- all under Krzyzewski- compared again to this year being the first time Butler’s even made it past the Elite Eight. I think it’s pretty amazing that they still fought to the bitter end despite the odds.
Now I don’t want this post to sound like I’m playing favorites, even though it’s obvious that I am. Duke definitely played well and they deserve their title. Star players like 7’1” Brian Zoubek, (who kind-of reminds me of Lurch with a beard) lead the game with 10 rebounds. Leading the game in points was Kyle Singler, shooting at 54% from the field. I had the chance to watch this team play during the regular season, and let me tell you; they pulled out all the stops for this one.