They had two chances to win in the last minute, but it simply did not happen. For the first time in the NCAA tournament, the opposing team's defense was better than Butler's. Duke had the big 7 foot center down low. Duke was able to get their players more open shots than Butler's offense did. Despite all that, Butler was one possession away from winning.
The "talking heads" before the game that had Duke winning by 7-15 points shot their usual 0% accuracy with predictions. Bill Walton got it right, saying it was a toss up.
All the talk of Butler's Gordon Hayward being ready for the NBA can be put to bed. He is not anywhere near ready. He had a poor game. To be ready for the NBA, he needed to take over the game and deliver the win-he did not. Had he delivered the win, he would be NBA bound.
My biggest disappointment was the Hoosier fans, who made up 65% of the crowd. They were pathetic. They sat on their rumps until the last five minutes and even then were not the "shake the arena" factor that could have made a difference. For all the talk of the home field advantage, the Duke fans kicked the butts of the homeboys. I was shocked.
Here are the facts for next year:
1) Butler brings back four of its five starters.
2) Gordon Hayward hates to lose and will remain at Butler.
3) Coach Brad Stevens is going to stay at Butler for quite a while. He will leverage this season and bring in the "next level" players that will allow Butler to have the big men down in the paint that they need to win it all. Matt Howard, Butler's 6'6" center would be playing forward on any other team.
4) They will be ranked 1,2 or 3 in the preseason polls. If they are not, Butler will have to prove something once again. Memories are short!
Butler Nation has been born and the future is very bright.