Sunday, April 3, 2011

Championship Game Preview

       The National Championship for College Basketball is between Butler and Uconn. Butler returns to the Championship Game for the second straight year, while Uconn comes to its third ever Championship, the previous two having been won by Uconn. Butler's coach Brad Stevens, 34, is exactly half the age of the Uconn coach, Jim Calhoun, 68. However, this is Stevens' second championship game and his second straight Final Four appearance while Calhoun, a Basketball Hall of Famer, has only  reached four Final Fours and three Championship Games.      
        Last year Butler had to face Mike Krzyzewski and the Duke Blue Devils in the National Championship, and suffered heart-break when, down 61-59, Gordon Heyward launched a half-court shot at the end of the game that hit the backboard and could've bounced in, but instead hit the inside portion of the basketball rim and bounced out, Duke won 61-59 and Krzyzewski won his fourth championship. Heyward left Butler to play pro after that, and Butler was faced with the task of rebuilding its basketball program.
       Both teams score on average about 72 points a game, and on defense only allow an average of about 65 points. Butler has more experience in general, as their youngest starter is a Sophomore and they have three Senior starters, while Connecticut's oldest starter is a Junior and they have three Freshman starters. Butler has also been on this stage before, while for most of Uconn's players, the exceptions being the Juniors and Seniors, none of the players had even been in a Final Four. The key matchup in this game will be between Kemba Walker, the Player of the Year candidate from Uconn, and Shelvin Mack, a good all-around player. If Mack has a good game, which I think he will, Butler will win.
               My Pick: Butler wins 80-74 in OT.

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