It wasn't pretty, nor was it entertaining for most, but the Connecticut Huskies took care of business on Monday night in the NCAA Championship Game to cut down the nets and give Jim Calhoun his third NCAA championship. While we expected defense to be the common theme, Butler's shooting performance was one for the ages -- and not in a good way. The Bulldogs set a new mark for futility in the NCAA title game, giving UConn all the room it needed to run away with the championship in the second half.
Nothing illustrates the Four Factors. While UConn didn't exactly light the world on fire, Butler's offensive struggles ran so deep, the Huskies were able to take over with a less than average performance on the offensive end.
Yes, Butler's effective field goal percentage was just 25.8 percent. If raw numbers are your thing, the Bulldogs shot just 18.8 percent from the floor -- connecting on just 12 of 64 shots. Consider Butler made just three shots from inside the arc all night -- three of 31, to be exact. It's easy to see why UConn was able to storm away with the game down the stretch as the Bulldogs were powerless to stop the bleeding.
Kemba Walker did what he's been doing all tournament long, leading UConn with a game-high 16 points while also grabbing nine rebounds. Jeremy Lamb proved to be a capable sidekick again, finishing with 12 points and seven rebounds. Alex Oriakhi won the battle in the paint, finishing with 11 points and 11 rebounds. The other six UConn players to log minutes scored just 14 points combined, but the big three were enough to bring home the championship.
Shelvin Mack was the only Butler player in double-figures with 13 points and nine rebounds. Mack took just four shots inside the arc, missing all four, while shooting 4-11 from three-point range. Matt Howard couldn't buy a bucket, hitting just one shot, a three-pointer, and scoring seven points in the loss. Chase Stigall finished with nine points, all on three-pointers. Andrew Smith had two of the Bulldogs' three made baskets from two-point range, with Shawn Vanzant adding the third.
With the 53-41 win, UConn finished the season at 32-9 with an NCAA championship as a feather in its cap. While the 2011 NCAA Tournament finished with a whimper, it was still a fun ride filled with ups and downs throughout, and the show UConn put on over the last month -- both in the Big East Tournament and NCAA Tournament -- has been one for the ages.