Connecticut beats Butler: Worst final in NCAA basketball history?

The Butler Bulldogs' inspirational run for the NCAA men's basketball title ends with an ugly loss to UConn. Did anybody really win in this clunker of a game?

Butler Bulldog Shawn Vanzant walks off the court after losing to the Connecticut Huskies in the NCAA championship game.
(Image credit: Getty)

Butler's improbable sprint for the NCAA men's basketball national title ended Monday night — with a flop. The Bulldogs, who fell to Duke in last year's national title game, lost again on Monday, to the University of Connecticut Huskies in a painfully low-scoring 53-41 rout — a score that "might have made for an exciting football game," says The New York Times' Mark Viera, but "was an unsightly evening of basketball." UConn wasn't great, but Butler's 18.8 percent shooting — just 12 of 64 shots — was the worst ever in an NCAA title game. In all, it was the lowest-scoring final since 1949. Was it also the worst NCAA title game ever?

Yes, it was terrible: Not to get too existentialist, but can you even call such a lousy game the "National Championship"? asks Martin Manley in the Kansas City Star. Eighth-seeded "Butler couldn't hit the broadside of a barn," and UConn, which shot a meager 34.5 percent, "didn’t exactly deserve a National Championship either." But it was worse than just a historically low-scoring title game; it was "one of the most boring national championship games in history," too.

"What is wrong with the NCAA Tournament?"

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Boo to the game, cheers for Butler: "This game wasn't just ugly," says Bob Kravitz in The Indianapolis Star. "It had a lousy personality." And it was an especially "hideous evening" for the Cinderella team, Butler. But their "historically awful" offense in the game doesn't diminish the little-school-that-could's remarkable back-to-back runs for the national championship.

"The Bulldogs have a lot to be proud of"

Let's not "remember this book by its ending": Monday's "horror show in Houston" is especially tragic, says Andy Katz in ESPN, because last year's final, where Butler lost to Duke by just one basket, was "iconic," perhaps "one of the greatest in the sport." So if this is the "closing chapter" of Butler's "storybook run," it's still a great story. Let's just remember the middle section.

"Don't remember this book by its ending"

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