HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 04: Matt Howard #54 of the Butler Bulldogs walks off of the court after losing to the Connecticut Huskies in the National Championship Game of the 2011 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament at Reliant Stadium on April 4, 2011 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
That wasn't what a national championship game is supposed to look like. The Connecticut Huskies won the battle by only shooting 34.5! percent from the field. Butler somehow managed to stay in the game while shooting an extra meager 18.8% of their own. It was obvious on the court who had the better athletes. Say what you want about mid-majors, the Butler Bulldogs just didn't have the athleticism or size to match up with UConn. Just take a look at Mid Majority's Red Line for a second there. Just keep on looking and you'll see the Horizon league WAY WAY down on the list. That conference spends less than half the amount of money that the Mid-American Conference does on basketball and just over a quarter of what the Big East spends.
Will Butler ever win a national championship? It's really hard to say yes to that statement. Brad Stevens isn't going to get the type of athletes Butler than what he would at one of the top programs in the nation. While he probably didn't need McDonald's all-americans on his squad, just the length of the UConn Huskies made it near-impossible for them to penetrate near the basket. It is truly unbelievable to see a team make only THREE 2-point baskets in a national championship.
UConn out-rebounded the bulldogs 53-41, which would have even been a bigger margin had Butler not missed so many shots. 36-21 on the defensive end. There just wasn't anything there. UConn played pretty good defense, but the general perception is that this is a game in where Butler didn't execute. It seems as though they were a bit exhausted getting to the championship game. Sure they had the experience from a year ago, but this was not a pretty game for them.
The kids fought hard and there's nothing wrong with that, but it was just disappointing to watch. Basketball is a game of percentages. It was slow paced, but this was by far their worst performance of the season. They were able to put 70 up against Duke. After that was a comparable 49-51 loss to Xavier back in December. The defense and the effort was there, but boy the offense just wasn't able to put it together and that's not something you can do against a top school. Oh well, there is still hope for mid-majors as they are already receiving a lot more funding than the Horizon League but it is going to be very hard for one of those teams to repeat the success of the Bulldogs without major talent.