Duke and Butler in the NCAA title game; Derrick Rose is a Bad Man

By: 04.04.10

Butler's Shelvin Mack

Everybody wants to make the Hoosiers comparison, but the best movie for Butler‘s surprise run to the NCAA championship game might be Invictus. Yesterday’s win over Michigan State was like part basketball and part rugby. It was ugly, it was grimy, it was gritty, but the Bulldogs pulled off the upset despite shooting 31% from the field, enduring a 10-minute stretch in the second half where they didn’t make a shot, and trying time and time again to give the Spartans the game … Butler was up one with a minute to go when Gordon Hayward (19 pts, 9 rebs) missed a three, but 6-foot Shawn Vanzant came up with the offensive board, and falling out of bounds, whipped a pass to Hayward cutting for a layup. State’s Draymond Green almost turned it over on the other end — the Spartans repeatedly went to him in the post down the stretch — before getting fouled and cutting the lead to one at the line. After Ronald Nored‘s layup popped in and out, MSU had the rock with 23 seconds left and a chance to win. They went to Green in the post, but he threw up a bad shot. Nored added two free throws, and before State could get off a triple to tie, the Bulldogs fouled Korie Lucious with 2.0 on the clock. Lucious made the first FT and missed the second on purpose, but Hayward snatched the rebound. Game over … A typical sequence for MSU came in the second half when Delvon Roe broke out a textbook KG shoulder shimmy to free himself up for an open layup in the lane — and missed it. Every golden opportunity they were handed, Michigan State fumbled away … After Butler finishes celebrating the W, they need to figure out what’s up with Shelvin Mack. The sophomore guard scored 12 of his 14 points in the first half before sitting out almost all of the second with muscle spasms in his legs. Mack is Butler’s second-best player and best athlete; they’re not winning a national title without him … In the other semifinal, all you need to know is Duke picked the right time to play their best game of the Tournament. In fact, it was their best all-around performance since they unleashed a meat-slapping on North Carolina on Senior Night about a month ago. Against West Virginia, the Blue Devils owned the offensive glass (usually the Mountaineers’ forte), their defense locked down Da’Sean Butler and Devin Ebanks, and the Big Three carried them offensively. Jon Scheyer scored 23 points, Nolan Smith had 19, and Kyle Singler added 21 … And Brian Zoubek deserves a special shout-out. All week long people were talking about West Virginia’s length, rebounding and toughness, but from the get-go Zoubek (6 pts, 10 rebs) was the biggest and toughest dude out there, the most dominant rebounder, and Kurt Thomas would’ve been proud of the picks Zoobs was setting. He was a brick wall …

Duke's Jon Scheyer

When Butler (10 pts, 2-8 FG) had his left knee buckle and went down screaming in pain in the second half, the Mountaineers were done. Amazing scene, though, when Butler was on his back crying and Bob Huggins got down on the floor and cried with him. Not sure what it was like where you watched the game, but it was silent over here … Did you see when Dick Enberg was making his farewell speech at halftime and that douche kid was jumping up and down in the background trying to get his face on camera? Where is Homey the Clown‘s loaded sock when you need it? … Oh, and Clark Kellogg clearly tanked that game of H-O-R-S-E with President Obama. Barack has an accurate jumper — he probably beats T.J. Ford easy in a shootout — but Kellogg could’ve skunked him if he wanted to. Don’t forget, “Special K” was a BEAST back in his day. He averaged 20 points and 10 boards as a rookie with the Pacers in ’83, and was on his way to an All-Star career before his knees went bad … The Bulls were up one on the Bobcats late in the fourth quarter when Derrick Rose (26 pts) cut backdoor, got a perfect pass from Brad Miller, and dropped in a gorgeous reverse layup to put Chicago up three. That bucket capped an 11-2 run where Rose scored or assisted eight points. “That boy is BAD,” said announcer Stacey King. “He’s bad.” … Luol Deng added a steal-and-layup, and Rose dimed Joakim Noah for a dunk to help seal the win, but Charlotte was also getting self-inflicted wounds courtesy Larry Hughes. With Stephen Jackson having an off night, Hughes decided he was back at St. Louis and was jacking shots down the stretch … Milwaukee may be done. Brandon Jennings scored 23 to lead the Bucks past the Suns last night, but the big news is that Andrew Bogut did something terrible to his right elbow and might be out for the season. Last we checked there was no diagnosis on the injury, but when Bogut slipped off the rim on a breakaway dunk, his arm folded like Willis McGahee‘s leg. The team seems to be taking the “It looked worse than it was” approach, but it’s gotta be a dislocation at the least … Maybe it’s time to shut Chris Paul down for the season. If his knee isn’t 100 percent, there’s no reason to keep playing him when the Hornets are mathematically out of the playoffs and if they’re going to put up piss-poor efforts like they did Saturday in New Jersey. Getting nearly 30-pieced by the Nets is just unacceptable. EIGHT Nets scored in double figures, including five of the bench guys … Other stat lines from Saturday: Chris Bosh put up 28 points and 12 rebounds as Toronto beat Philly in overtime; Dwyane Wade dropped 39 points, 8 boards and 6 assists in Miami’s win at Minnesota; Jamal Crawford scored 29 to lead Atlanta past Detroit; Carmelo went for 24 points in Denver’s win over the Clippers; Kevin Durant had 23 points in OKC’s win at Dallas; and Brandon Roy had 24 points and 6 dimes to lead Portland past Sacramento … We’re out like Huggy Bear …

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