In one of the most woeful offensive title games the NCAA has seen in a while, the city of Houston witnessed third seeded UConn managed to end #8 Butler’s Cinderella story by defeating it for its third title in a stingy 53-41 win. The winners were led by their star Kemba Walker, who needed 19 shots to reach 16 points and grabbed 9 rebounds, while Shelvin Mack was the Bulldogs’ lone player in double digits, scoring 13 points on a woeful 4 from 15, all three point makes.
UConn also got help from its other starters, with Jeremy Lamb ending up with 12 points and 7 rebounds and center Alex Oriakhi going for an efficient 11 points on 5-6 shooting and 11 rebounds.
Butler had the worst title game shooting performance in NCAA history, missing a shocking 52 shots from 64 attempts, which also makes it the third worst shooting performance in NCAA tournament history, while its 12 field goals were the 2nd least as well. The Huskies dominated the game in every single way possible, despite having a lousy night shooting as well (19 for 55, 34.55%), by limiting the Bulldogs to a frustrating 3 made shots from inside the arc, which helped the Huskies win the battle of the paint 26-2. Butler’s bench had no field goals, and managed to score on 2 points on guard Ronald Noren’s two free throw makes, although UConn’s bench wasn’t that better, scoring 12 points on a miserable 4 from 17 shots. The 94 combined points by UConn and Butler is the fewest in a National Championship game since 1950.
Despite the horrific performance, and making only one 2 point shot on a hook shot by forward Andrew Smith, Butler managed to lead the first half 22-19. Yet it went dead cold in the second half, going for 13 minutes and 26 seconds scoring only one field goal, putting UConn back in the game, and increasing the lead to as much as 14 points, making coach Jim Calhoun the oldest coach at 68 to ever win an NCAA championship and add him to the elite company of John Wooden, Adolph Rupp, Mike Krzyzewski, and Bob Knight as the only coaches to win the NCAA tournament 3 times.
Since the field expanded to 64 teams in 1985, Kemba Walker’s 23.5 PPG is the 6th highest scoring performance by a player whose team won the national title. With this loss, Butler becomes the 4th team to lose consecutive title games. UConn’s 1 from 11 on the 3 point line tied Duke for the lowest 3 point percentage in a National Championship game.