You could tell Gus Johnson was waiting for this one all Tournament long. After Butler led No. 1 seed Syracuse by 10 at halftime and the ‘Cuse promptly rallied to make it a close ballgame in the second half, Gus was getting his “classic call” pipes warmed up.
“AND HOW ABOUT THIS? BUTLER! AGAIN!”
That was the capper as the final buzzer sounded and Butler knocked off the Orange, 63-59. The signature moment was probably Willie Veasley‘s three with about a minute to go that bounced high off the rim and in (a la Don Nelson way back in the day) and put the Bulldogs up by four. After that it was pretty much a free-throw parade for Butler, while Syracuse’s Scoop Jardine went into Iverson mode and may not have passed the ball once in the final two minutes.
* Have you ever seen a good shooter air-ball as many shots as Gordon Hayward? The Butler star forward — starter on this year’s All-Opie Team — somehow aired a free throw in the final minute.
* West Virginia is starting to put the screws into Washington, up 13 with about 10 minutes left. The Mountaineers are just bigger and tougher. They’re KILLING them on the offensive glass, getting 2-3 chances for every one UW shot.
* Jay Bilas went on a tangent about the pesky defense being played by UW’s Venoy Overton and did a great job of not saying “He gets his hands on a lot of balls.” Announcers always do that, and it always makes people giggle. Bilas had to catch himself a couple times, but kept it at, “He gets his hands on a lot of passes.”
* Apparently Brook Lopez and Robin Lopez took private planes to Syracuse to watch UW’s Quincy Pondexter, their former high school/AAU teammate. Their guy is struggling. When he’s not in foul trouble, Pondexter is getting stripped, blocked and generally bottled up by WVU’s defense.