Title game — giving credit to the defenses

Why is it that every description of UConn’s Championship win over Butler uses words like “horrible” and “inept”?

Granted, both teams shot horribly in the game, but can we give at least some credit to the defenses?

Am I the only person that believes that if the shooting percentages in last year’s title game had been the same, we’d have been regaled with stories of Duke’s record breaking defensive effort, and how the scrappy Bulldogs had held Duke to 35% shooting?

In fact, here’s a description from last year’s game, “Duke guarded with a slap-the-floor ferocity that long defined the program…”

For the record, in last years 61-59 Duke win, Butler shot only 34.5%, and 6-18 on 3’s, while Duke shot 44.2% yet only won by a point.

For a ‘lousy’ game, there were surprisingly few turnovers — Butler committed only 6, while UConn had 11, at least 3 on baseline inbounds plays.  Duke had 12 last year, and Butler had 8.

I’m not going to argue that Butler didn’t miss a lot of easy shots — they certainly seemed to miss a bunch of chip shots.  At the same time, UConn deserves a lot of credit.  The Huskies blocked 10 shots, undoubtedly altered a bunch, were very physical inside, fought through screens and were mostly in the faces of the Butler players.  Quite honestly, I’ve never seen the Huskies defend so well on the outside.  They really didn’t give up a bunch of open looks.

Similarly, I thought that Butler did a pretty good job defending — I didn’t see a lot of really open looks for the Huskies, and most of Walker’s drives seemed to be pretty well defended.

For the record, and for whatever reason, none of the teams shot well in Houston.  Perhaps the arena had something to do with the scoring issues.

For my part, I thought the game was well contested, played under control, and of course I was happy with the result!


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