And come Monday night, we’ere gonna have ourselves a dog fight. As I predicted here, Butler was able to defeat VCU last night, rather easily, and they moved back into the National Championship game, for the second year in a row. As I incorrectly predicted, there, they will be playing the Connecticut Huskies who squeaked past the Kentucky Wildcats last night by one point.
UConn was readily assisted by having the best player in the country on their team. I felt as thought Brandon Knight was going to be the X Factor in that game, or in fact, the alpha dog but it appeared to me that he was completely gassed. The entire Kentucky squad for that matter looked like their tanks were damn near empty in that second half. They made a hell of a game of it, and UConn gave them plenty of chances to take command, but I can’t even recall how many jumpers missed well short for the Cats.
I also found it very obvious that John Calipari was out-coached, rather readily, by Jim Calhoun. Calhoun never made any amazing moves as coach (aside from taking his team out of the foul lane when UK was shooting foul shots in the final seconds, take note Jamie Dixon!), but he certainly did not jeopardize his team’s chances. Calipari fell short on diagramming a winning play for a tying shot (unless Liggins prematurely decided it was a good idea to launch a 30-footer), and he also failed to create productive possessions down the stretch when coming out of time outs. There’s no way in hell, as a D1 basketball coach, you come out of a time out in the crunch and allow your team to execute as poorly as Kentucky did at times in that situation last night.
In the end, Kemba again proved why he is the best player in America, and he was able to will his Husky teammates into the championship game, despite a less than stellar performance.
On the other side of that game, is the most impressive team of this tournament. The Butler Bulldogs ran through VCU like Forrest through Louisiana, and they were downright filthy in the team defense and half-court offense departments. I’m going to stick to my initial final four predictions that Butler wins the title game, and I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Shelvin Mack outscores Kemba Walker in the championship. Kemba may have the better game, but Mack is rolling offensively right now, and his scoring paired with Butler’s experience and tenacity will without a doubt prevail come game time.
That being said, LEGGOOO Huskies!!
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