Though many casual fans tossed their brackets after the first weekend, the NCAA men's basketball championship and the year of the underdog concluded Monday night with perhaps the most boring game of the season. Tuesday's women's championship game was more exciting and it didn't even feature UConn, Baylor or Tennessee.
The only thing lower than Butler's shooting percentage during Monday's contest has been the Boston Red Sox's winning percentage. Seriously, how does a team shoot 18.8 percent from the field in a championship game? That tally includes going 3-31 from inside the three-point line. I'm a horrible shooter, but I think I can do better than that.
This year's tournament and championship game did prove a couple of things. First of all, Butler forward Matt Howard will not be an NBA player. The 6'8" senior made only seven points on the game's biggest stage and scored just one shot from the field. The Bulldogs as a team shot 1-26 inside the paint as Howard and the rest of the team had plenty of problems against Alex Oriakhi, Roscoe Smith and the rest of UConn's length. If you are a big man and you can't make shots in the paint, you can't play at the next level.
Second, Butler was extremely under-seeded for the second straight year. Obviously any team to reach two straight championship games two years in a row as a five and eight seed is greatly underrated. This is a team that year in, year out plays a tough non-conference schedule, wins its conference tournament, and plays its best basketball at the right time, in large part thanks to the coaching abilities of Brad Stevens.
Last year as a Syracuse fan I was tremendously disappointed when the bracket came out and a team that should have been a two seed was a five seed and slated to play the Orange in the Sweet 16. Yes, the Bulldogs did have struggles early in the year, but they won 14 games in a row and should have been seeded better than an eight. It's always fun to root for the Cinderella but expect the committee to over-seed Butler next year and suffer an early first round exit. But who knows, this is the selection committee we are talking about.
Lastly, the Big East is actually really good. All the critics called out the Big East because only two of its 11 teams in the tournament moved on to the Sweet 16. But those two teams (UConn and Marquette) were ninth and 11th in the Big East, respectively, and each defeated another Big East team (Cincinnati and Syracuse) in the third round in order to advance to the Sweet 16.
The fact that the ninth best team in a conference during the regular season can make such an astounding postseason run shows the quality and depth of the league. Yes, most other teams in the conference had early exits, but that's because the Big East teams beat up on each other in the regular season and Big East conference tournament with their physical style and quality of play.
Saying the Big East is overrated based on a few early exits would be like saying Tennessee was a national championship contender because the team won the National Invitational Tournament Season Tip-off.
But now that college basketball is through, fans can sit back and be entertained by the NBA where 53-41 will be the score through 15 minutes instead of 40 – but that's only because nobody is playing defense.