The Uconn Huskies had enough gas left in the tank for one more, they rallied to beat the Butler Bulldogs to be crowned the 2011 Mens College Basketball Champions. The Huskies have won every game they played outside of their conference and in neutral sites, the streak continued from Maui in tournament settings this team is now 14-0!! Connecticut can now add Houston on to the end of that Maui-Manhattan phrase. The old adage never rang more true, “Defense wins Championships.” This was an extremely sloppy game, I don’t know what people were expecting but this is how Butler makes teams play. They slow the game down to a crawl and force you to play their way, the problem for Butler was that they have never played a team as long as Uconn. Uconn’s defense is the reason they won in Maui, the reason they won the Big East Tournament, and the reason they won THIS game!! Uconn is able to really get after teams and challenge shots, seldom does setting just 1 pick do the job. Their were times during this game where Butler set picks and Uconn’s hedger kept their position long enough that it almost became a double-team. The Huskies challenged almost every shot, that’s what they did to Kentucky except people didn’t want to readily admit that. It’s what Uconn does, the stifle you defensively until they get going.
The first half was a perfect example, Butler had a clear advantage with Uconn in foul trouble. Kemba Walker, Jeremy Lamb, and Alex Oriahki were all on the bench with 2 fouls and Butler could only take a 3 point advantage!! When the starters returned in the 2nd half, Uconn suffocated Butler for 9 minutes and change while going on a 22-3 run!! Uconn held Butler to just 3 two point Field Goals!!! Think about that for a second, most of the talking heads on television aren’t going to let you know that. Butler had NO faith that it could generate ANY points in the paint, let alone inside the 3 point arch!! Uconn held a 41-28 advantage at that point and went on to win 53-41. Uconn got their offense on track in the 2nd half by finding Jeremy Lamb, he finished with 12 points with 11 of them coming in the 2nd half. Kemba Walker didn’t have a great night shooting(16 points on 5-19), but he grabbed 9 rebounds. Lamb also corralled 7 rebounds while providing GREAT defense on Butler Star Shelvin Mack. Shabazz Napier did a great job running the offense while he was in, but he also helped by grabbing 4 rebounds. This might not make it out there with what the perimeter guys did, but Alex Oriahki really imposed his will in this game. Oriahki had 11 points, 11 rebounds, and 4 blocks. He helped Uconn OWN the paint and made Matt Howard an afterthought, Howard struggled finishing with 7 points on 1 of 13 shooting. Roscoe Smith also was a reason that the Huskies held a 51-40 rebounding edge. Roscoe didn’t impact the game offensively at all, on the defensive end he grabbed 4 rebounds, blocked 4 shots, and altered numerous other shot attempts. Even Neils Giffey got in on the action, the seldom used freshman scored 6 points and grabbed 4 rebounds. This was an outstanding team defensive effort by the Huskies, Butler shot 12 of 64 from the field and 9-33 from deep!! Congrats to Connecticut on their 3rd National Title!!!
This has been a long journey since the beginning of the season, I can’t sit up here and tell you that I knew this was going to happen the whole time because that would be a blatant lie. I CAN tell you that I had faith that this team wasn’t nearly as bad as most predicted it would be prior to the start of the season. I CAN also tell you that I’ve always been an advocate for how talented this freshman class was and how offended I was that many never gave them their due credit. I can also tell you that I KNEW if anyone was capable of molding and developing all of this young talent that Jim Calhoun was the perfect man for the job. I WAS a big Kemba Walker fan prior to his meteoric rise this season, I knew big things were going to happen for him this year when I heard the noise he made on the USA Select Team this past summer. This team has become my FAVORITE Uconn team thus far, purely because of how far they had to go to get here and the blatant lack of respect they were given. I enjoyed every part of this season, and most of all I enjoyed writing this blog all season long. What made this experience that much better is that I AM a Uconn fan and have been one since the days of Donyell Marshall. It was a shame that Kemba Walker didn’t get Player of the Year, but I will happily accept Uconn’s 3rd National Title instead!! Thank you all for reading, hopefully I’ll be able to cover Uconn again next year!!
-Kemba Walker named Final Four Most Outstanding Player and named to the Final Four All Tournament Team
-Jeremy Lamb named to the Final Four All Tournament Team(Jeremy also made All-Region)
-Uconn’s 3rd Championship, Jim Calhoun is the oldest Coach to ever win at 68 years of age
-Butler shot 18.8 percent the lowest in National Championship Game History
-Butler became the 4th team to lose consecutive title games
About the Author
Written by Wilson Tarpeh Jr.
I am a passionate sports fan, who desires a job in the sports industry. I'm a graduate of the Connecticut School of Broadcasting and I have my own website as well. I believe that I have a unique view of sports and I wish to share it with as many people as I can. I hope you enjoy my work.