Revenge of the Sith: Duke wins another National Championship

04.06.10 9 years ago 30 Comments

Under the list of ingredients that have become standard in the NCAA championship recipe — defense, momentum, chip on the shoulder, good coaching, depth, etc. — perhaps we should add one more: Ability to win ugly. Last night’s national title game between Duke and Butler wasn’t one for smooth flowing offense and highlight buckets, but it was nonetheless an instant classic with crazy intensity, where both sides played like their lives were on the line and put on a defensive clinic before Duke walked out of the octagon with its fourth national championship … Kyle Singler put up 19 points and 8 boards, and while he hit some big-time jumpers, his Final Four M.O.P. trophy was primarily earned by his work on the defensive end; he locked down West Virginia’s Devin Ebanks in the semifinal, and kept Butler’s Gordon Hayward in check last night. Even when it became clear that the Bulldogs’ best chance of winning was to let Hayward create buckets wherever he could off the dribble, Singler still held him to 2-of-11 shooting from the field (12 pts) and just one assist. Hayward couldn’t get a clean look for 40 minutes. As a whole, Duke’s defense held Butler without a field goal for a 7:30 stretch of the second half … Duke’s lead was down to one with 13 seconds left when Hayward took a Kobe-esque fadeaway near the right baseline. He missed, and Brian Zoubek went to the line for Duke. Zoobs made the first and missed the second, and with no timeouts, Hayward got to halfcourt and threw up a good-looking shot that was mere inches from going in. Had he made that, Lucas Oil Stadium would have exploded, the roof literally blowing off and landing on two cops like in House Party … As it stands, Butler almost became a legendary team along the lines of ’83 N.C. State and ’85 Villanova. Now it’s just gonna be, “Remember that one year when Butler almost won it.” … There were some highlight moments: Jon Scheyer‘s and-one fallaway was even better if you were listening to Westwood One radio and heard the announcer scream, “Like a pinball off a flipper!” And that inbound lob from Scheyer (15 pts, 5 asts) to Singler was dope … Not to take anything away from Duke’s victory, but there were some CRAZY no-calls and bad calls going in the Blue Devils’ favor. The worst one was in the final minute, when Zoubek cleared out two guys from a loose ball with obvious elbows and no whistle blew. And some people wanted a flagrant call on Lance Thomas when his foul earlier in the second half resulted in Hayward crashing to the floor like a stunt double, but that was one of those plays where an NBA ref would’ve whistled it flagrant only because the landing looked bad … Is Matt Howard not the most goofy, awkward-looking basketball player to play an important role in such an important game? Granted, he still gets his numbers, and he’ll be one of those guys who drops 30 a night easy in a rec league when he’s grown up although no one can understand why, but still. The mustache and the long sleeves really don’t help … Speaking of goofy, today’s challenge is to find a game-action photo of Jon Scheyer from the last four years where he doesn’t have an over-the-top Rocky Balboa-ish look on his face … Jennifer Hudson is cute and the woman can sing, but there was no good reason to replace the Luther Vandross version of “One Shining Moment.” Matter of fact, there wasn’t a good reason to have Luther replace Teddy Pendergrass before that. So is Hudson gonna get a decades-long run with this, or will she get replaced by Justin Bieber in three years? … So what’s next for the key people involved? Despite rumors of NBA offers, we’re 99% sure Coach K isn’t going anywhere. Brad Stevens will be having more loot thrown at him than a stripper a Big Boi‘s house; we could see him taking the Oregon job or staying put. Hayward should seriously consider going pro, as his stock will never be hotter than it is right now. Same for Singler. Scheyer and Zoobs should get a whiff from the NBA, probably second-round draft picks … No NBA games scheduled for Monday, but the 2010 Hall of Fame class was announced. Karl Malone and Scottie Pippen headline the list, alongside the ’92 Dream Team, the ’60 U.S. Olympic team, Cynthia Cooper, Jerry Buss, Bob Hurley Sr., Maciel Pereira, and the late Dennis Johnson and Gus Johnson (ballplayer, not announcer). Biggest snub? Chris Mullin. Oh, and WHERE IS BERNARD KING?!? … We’re out like the Bulldogs …

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