There is a reason they call the NCAA Tournament March Madness, and the ending of the Butler-Pitt game personified that. We all remember Butler’s magical run in last years tourney getting all the way to the National Championship game against Duke. So, are we really surprised that they have given us two fantastic moments already in this years tournament? Butler beat Old Dominion on a last second shot to get into the third round, in fact the last 4 tournament games for Butler have all been decided by 3 points or less.
Now onto Saturday’s game, Butler came out shooting they hit twelve 3-pointers and at one point in the first half led by 12 points. Well Pittsburgh is a number 1 seed for a reason and battled back to cut it to 8 before halftime. Pitt opened the second half on a 13-3 run and took the lead 43-41. From that point forward neither team led by more than 5 points as they traded blows down the stretch. Now to the much talked about final seconds. After a Pitt turnover Butler had the ball down 1 with 7.1 seconds left on the clock. Andrew Smith lays in the go ahead basket with 2.2 seconds left and Butler leads 70-69. On the inbound for Pitt, Gilbert Brown was fouled by Shelvin Mack with less than 2 seconds on the clock giving Brown two shots. Mack would later say that was the dumbest foul of his life, no argument here. Brown makes the first free throw but misses the second and Matt Howard is fouled as he collects the rebound, and he gets free throws with 0.8 left on the clock. OK, this utterly insane how can two players make two just dumb fouls on the biggest stage. Howard makes 1 of 2 and Butler pulls off the upset.
Obviously this game has gotten a lot of talk since the end of it. Some of it surprises me that people would be complaining about the refs in this situation. Let me remind all of you that a little over a week ago we crushed a couple Big East referees for not making calls at the end of a Big East tournament game. No matter where you are in the game, a foul is a foul period. Shelvin Mack clearly made contact with Gilbert Brown, and Matt Howard was clearly hacked on the arm when he rebounded Brown’s miss. The refs are not to blame for this game, the players decided this game. For those who did not see the finish click on the link below, you wont be disappointed.
Andy Snakovsky – 105.7 The Fan Staff Writer
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