By Sam Valentin-
Butler had a close to fairy-tale ending to its 2010 season, but it was happily ever after for Duke.
After a crushing screen on Dukes Kyle Singler from Butlers Matt Howard, Gordon Hayward was instantly freed up and put up the shot it hit the backboard as the clock hit zero the ball then hit the rim and hit the floor next as the Butler Bulldogs clock struck zero on their fairy tale.
As the Butler fans screamed “ohhhhhhh,” there was already a dog pile of Duke players at half court.
The win for the Blue Devils wasn’t secure until after the ball shot near half court by Bulldog forward Hayward, hit the floor.
Duke won their fourth national championship Monday, all under Coach Mike Krzyzewski. He won his first in Indianapolis and now gets his fourth there, also. He is tied with Adolph Rupp for second place on the all-time list.
Kyle Singler led the “big three” and Duke in the championship scoring 19 points and grabbing 9 boards. Duke’s junior guard Nolan Smith had 13 with senior guard Jon Scheyer scoring 15 points in the win.
Butler was only 5.6 miles from their private school to Indianapolis, ensuring the stadium had many Butler fans.
Butler showed they could hang with the elite earlier in the tournament by eliminating Syracuse, Kansas State, and Michigan State. They showed it again by only being down by one at half to the skilled Duke shooters.
The teams came out and were fast paced in the first half, only starting to slow down about half way through the first half.
Most believe this is one of, if not the most, memorable NCAA basketball tournament in recent years with a great combination of upsets, underdogs and a plethora of close games.
Butler was led by sophomore guard Shelvin Mack and forward Gordon Hayward who both had 12 points in the crushing defeat.
Butler won’t be losing many players to the draft or to graduation so look for them to make another deep run into the tournament next year.
And the always strong Duke team always expects to go deep into the tournament but they will most likely be losing Kyle Singler to the draft and Jon Scheyer is a senior, therefore dismantling their big three.
That leaves only Nolan Smith, but he too could declare for the draft. Duke will also lose senior center Brian Zoubek to graduation or to the draft and starting forward Lance Thomas, leaving maybe one starter from last year, Nolan Smith.
Duke has a strong recruiting class coming in for next year. But always expect the Blue devils to go deep.