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Saturday, April 2nd, 2011 at 11:53 pm  |  19 responses

Butler, UConn to Meet in Title Game

by David Cassilo / @dcassilo

Two teams on remarkable runs will square off for the NCAA title on Monday when Butler and UConn take the floor in Houston. The Bulldogs made their second consecutive title game appearance by enjoying a magical ride as an 8-seed. They are the lowest seeded team to make the championship since Villanova in 1985. Meanwhile, since finishing ninth in the Big East regular season, the Huskies have yet to lose, winning their conference tournament in the process.

In the battle of the Cinderellas, Butler held off VCU for a 70-62 victory. Playing its trademark stingy defense, the Bulldogs were able to slow down the run-and-gun Rams’ offense. VCU shot just 39.7 percent from the field and 36.4 percent from long range.

For Butler, Shelvin Mack once again carried the team on his back. The junior guard had 24 points and 6 rebounds, while missing just three shots from the field. His teammate Matt Howard had an off night shooting the ball (3-for-10 from the field), but the senior made 11 of his 12 free throw attempts to finish with 17 points.

In the second game in Houston, UConn survived a second-half rally from Kentucky to prevail 56-55. A year after not making the NCAA tournament, the Huskies advance to their first title game since 2004.

Although Kemba Walker had another great game with 18 points, 6 rebounds and 7 assists, the real key to UConn’s victory was its defense. Kentucky shot just 33.9 percent from the field and made only four of 12 free throws. Brandon Knight had a particularly poor shooting night, making just 6 of 23 shots. Despite the weak shooting, the Wildcats had a chance to take the lead with less than five seconds remaining, but DeAndre Liggins missed a 3-pointer.

Now just two teams remain as UConn and Butler will square off on Monday. Butler would be the first non-BCS school to win the title since UNLV in 1990. As for the Huskies, a victory Monday would be the third championship in school history, all coming since 1999 under Jim Calhoun.

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  • cball

    uconn 2011 national champs

  • http://slamonline BossTerry

    Butler 2011 National Champs

  • http://www.theresastatforthat.blogspot.com Deron

    This year’s NCAA tournament has been one of the most unpredictable in recent memory. VCU made it to the Final Four, and now UCONN and Butler are playing in the national title game after UCONN was unranked in the pre-season poll and Butler was unranked for all but the first two weeks of the season.

    http://theresastatforthat.blogspot.com/2011/04/uconnbutler-is-ap-poll-losing.html

  • thalilbigkahuna

    4 of 12, ouch. Free throw woes haunt a Calipari team once again.

  • IAMORANGE4EVER

    The BIG EAST is about to get the last BIG LAUGH in the faces of all the doubters. Face it, the 9th best 2011 BIG EAST team (UCONN) is on the cusp of winning the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship. smh, it’s so CRYSTAL CLEAR the BIG EAST is hands down the best men’s basketball conference in the country.

  • Charles

    Go Butler!

  • Bruno

    Kemba!!!

  • logues

    i wish SLAM would do a ncaa national champions cover like they do nba finals champs

  • Riggs

    theres NOBODY in butler who can stop kemba, NOBODY. He’s in prime position to go for 30 on the biggest stage in college ball.

  • http://slamonline.com zoom

    Let’s go UCONN!!

  • http://www.slamonline.com Mars

    Jamie Skeen just played himself into a lottery pick. Yeah, I said it. A little McGrady in this guy. How did Wake let him go?

  • http://www.theresastatforthat.blogspot.com Deron

    UConn deserves to be here and the Big East is not overrated,(at least by preseason poll standards).

    http://theresastatforthat.blogspot.com/2011/04/which-conferences-get-too-many-top-25.html

  • Bryan

    How could anyone be rooting for UCONN? Dirty program with a dirty coach, would have been the same if Kentucky had made it

  • NJ4Life

    If by “dirty” you mean offering players nothing more than they would be at any other university in the nation, then sure they’re dirty.

  • 2KInsider

    I just want to say right now that I do not believe in Butler so just in case if they win and they do the whole “Nobody believed in us” they can be right.

  • Riggs

    how in the hell are they dirty?

  • floe

    dirty my ass. moron.

  • Bryan

    Is that you Coach Cal? And the major allegations of recruitment violations that have followed you to every program hes ever been a part of.

    Hasn’t Calhoun being suspended 3 games for recruiting violations? Maybe Nate Miles, someone who doesn’t really have a reason to lie might have something to say about UCONN’s program?

    If you guys don’t see these two for what they are, two of a sleaziest coaches in the nation then you are truly naive and ignorant. Most likely you have been too busy hyping up punks like John (better than DRose) Wall if you haven’t noticed this.

    Seriously, must have been either Calhoun, Cal or Ashley Judd that made the last two posts.

    Go Butler

  • r2j

    I am so pumped about this matchup. Butler, UConn. On the ladies side, Norte Dame, Texas A&M. This is the best and most unpredictable NCAA tournements ever. Looking forward to watching the men and ladies title games.

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