NCAA Finale: Dog on Dog Is Right
Last night’s grand finale to the men’s NCAA basketball tournament was bad. Really bad. Epic-ly bad. All together now: How bad was it? Well, at halftime the score was the Butler Bulldogs 22, the UConn Huskies 19. I’ve seen better games when my kids were playing at the Y.
If I’d had any sense, I would have gone on and done something else instead of watching the second half, in which already chilly underdog Butler went stone-cold, winding up with an amazingly anemic 18.8 shooting percentage. Through the first three-quarters of the game, they scored no points in the paint. UConn wasn’t much better; its team’s 53 winning points were the fewest by any national champion since 1949, when I think they still used peach baskets. “The worst performance I’ve ever seen in a national championship game,” one CBS talking head said after the abysmal exhibition. “Unfortunately, we all had to witness it.”
The stench of the men’s game was particularly pungent because on Sunday night, I watched two absolutely stunning women’s NCAA semifinal games: a tense, hard-fought grudge match in which Texas A&M, down by 10 points with six minutes left to play, capped a comeback against mighty Stanford with a gorgeous last-second under-the-backboard dish from Sydney Colson to Tyra White for the 63-to-62 win. In the nightcap, underdog Notre Dame also came from behind to knock off … who else? Perennial powerhouse UConn and the mighty Maya Moore, 72-64. What fun to see Geno Auriemma lose for a change!
So now all the excitement is over, right? The rarefied NCAA hoops air has all leaked out with last night’s Butler-UConn suckfest? Uh, not exactly. The unlikely women’s winners tip off tonight in their one shining moment face-off. And if Sunday night’s games are any indicator, this match will prove that women’s basketball can be every bit as exciting as the men’s game. Hell, I’ll bet you right now that the halftime score will beat that 22-19 embarrassment. Come on, how about a little Title IX love? Texas A&M’s big, beautiful Danielle Adams and Notre Dame’s Skylar Diggins and Natalie Novosel are just as fun to watch as the boys—even more so, this year. Go ahead—catch this game with your daughters and your sons.