yesterdayshoops

Heartbreak! Butler Hits the Wall, Scheyer, Singler and Smith Deliver for Coach K

In march madness on April 5, 2010 at 8:26 pm

A great final.

Duke 61, Butler 59

Butler did everything they had to do to win this one – kept it close, got Duke’s big man Brian Zoubek in foul trouble, played ferocious D, forced Duke to turn to only their stars for points – and the Bulldogs even got the ball into their own star’s hands, the Horizon Conference POY’s hands, with 13 seconds left.

Gordon Heyward, after his signature behind the back dribble, was pushed outside. He tried then to go baseline and hit the game-winner, but his high-arcing shot rimmed out.

Heyward was going for it all the way, and it looks like even the Duke players knew it – Zoubek drifted to the baseline to double-team leaving Matt Howard open under the basket, with 3 seconds on the clock.

Had Heyward dumped it, would they have had the lead? We were screaming at him to pass it. (sigh).

Instead of course, Duke rebounds Heyward’s miss. Butler fouls. A made FT makes it a 2pt. game. And a missed one left Heyward with the chance only to make a desperation heave – a shot which tantalizingly hit the backboard square and then the front rim hard …

and with a CLANG! Butler’s storybook season came to an end.

YH does feel the zebras favored Duke, and particularly Scheyer, on exactly three calls: Scheyer got continuation at the 7 minute mark on a foul that’s clearly on the floor; the charge called on Hayward when Scheyer was definitely moving (noted by broadcaster Clark Kellog) took away a 3 point play and gave Duke the ball; and Scheyer got away with offensive goaltending on the putback they praised.

But the Blue Devils weren’t lucky in this one, they were good.

Brilliant tactical move by Coach K at the end of the game to switch D’s on the inbound pass, forcing Butler to burn their final timeout, unable to get the ball in bounds. Not only did it defuse Butler’s offense striving for the winning bucket, but without that timeout, Butler had no play after Duke’s made FT at the end of the game. That was a crucial switch up at a critical moment that paid off huge for Coach K – master of endgame and inbound. (By contrast, Scheyer and Singler punked the Butler D twice on inbounds plays for easy twos).

Butler couldn’t get Matt Howard started which was critical because he was getting open looks. The Bulldogs struggled to hold onto the ball in the second half, and too often got jammed up by the 7’1″ Zoubek and Singler in the paint.

The Devils – and particularly Singler – matched the defensive effort of the Bulldogs with blocks and steals aplenty, and they won this scrap by making shots that Butler missed. The Blue Devils kept their cool.

Congratulations to the Duke Blue Devils, NCAA March Madness 2010 Champions.

and to the runner-up Butler Bulldogs – for the last several weeks you were America’s team. We fell in love with you and admired every minute of tough team defense. Thank you so very much for an amazing, valiant, impressive effort to win it all against the odds.

Brad Stevens, YOU ARE THE MAN!

[By the way, Stevens’ substitutions down the stretch were stunning – repeatedly, on a play-by-play basis, bringing Jukes in on offense and Howard back for D resulted in a four point turnaround at one stage – tactically brilliant].

YH thanks all you college hoops fans for joining us –

hey stick around! We are covering the NBA Playoffs next!

so subscribe!

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