Anyone who didn’t feel that misery along with Hayward must have been one of two things — either a devout Duke fan or some cruel soul who hates happy endings.
“I hate losing,” Hayward said just moments after Duke defeated Butler 61-59 for the NCAA national championship. “It’s one of the worst feelings personally that I have, is losing. It’s great for us to be here. But that’s not what we wanted to do. We wanted to win.”
Hayward wasn’t crying. His eyes weren’t red from rubbing away the tears. He handled this difficult defeat like a man, with class and maturity. Butler had won 25 consecutive games. America was rooting for the team with the adorable bulldog mascot.
There were a lot of basketball fans roaming the streets of Indianapolis Monday wearing Butler T-shirts and hats. Those NCAA vendors, who set up under their big white tents, probably could have sold as many, if not more, I HATE DUKE shirts. But none were available.
Still, this isn’t about hating Duke. This is about coming so close to the perfect ending and then being deprived of that satisfaction.
“I just hate losing,” Hayward said to anyone who might have missed his point.
Butler’s best basketball player had just experienced not one, but two, deflating moments. Two moments that he instantly wanted back and will think about the rest of his life.
These shots were dialed in. Both looked good as they came out of Hayward’s hands. Either one could have been the game-winning shot for little Butler, the mid-major program that grew into a major problem for everyone else in this NCAA tournament. But there would be no Hollywood ending. Not even a Hickory-style ending.
This night felt like “Hoosiers, The Sequel.” If you loved the movie, think how exciting this would have been in real-time. This would have been the updated version, the 2010 version with friends using their social media skills on Facebook and Twitter to drive up the crazy TV ratings.
Instead, we got the same old thing. Duke now has won four national championships since 1991. Mike Krzyzewski is a great coach. According to the record book, Coach K and his four titles make him better than anyone other than John Wooden and Adolph Rupp.
Haven’t we read this script before?
After cutting down the nets, Krzyzewski kept saying this was the best championship game one of his Duke teams had ever participated in. Baloney.
The Blue Devils and Bulldogs put on a great show, but the best championship game Duke ever participated in was 1999. Coach K and the Blue Devils were heavy favorites in that game too, but they lost to Connecticut, 77-74.
Coach K didn’t want to mention 1999 because his Devils lost a game they should have won.
How silly is that? The game was so good, it’s a dirty rotten shame Butler didn’t win. At halftime, with Duke leading 33-32, the perfect ending seemed obvious. The script for “The Sequel” should have included a last-second winning shot by Hayward, the 6-9 sophomore who was best suited for the role of Jimmy Chitwood.
Hayward struggled with his shot and wasn’t fully involved in Butler’s offense in the first half. He was 2-for-7 from the field and scored just four points in the first 20 minutes. But so many other things were going right the Bulldogs, it was obvious they would keep it close for at least a portion of the second half.
Duke was the superior team, but in college basketball the best team doesn’t always win the national championship. Imagine what Kansas coach Bill Self, Kentucky coach John Calipari and Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim must have been thinking during the Final Four. They were the other No. 1 seeds and, on paper, all three teams were better than Duke or Butler.
Duke coach said that after winning his second gold medal in men's basketball would be his Team USA finale. That may not be the case anymore.
CBT: Turning the page on the Mike Rice scandal, Rutgers hired Louisville's Julie Hermann as athletic director on Wednesday. But, Hermann has a prior scandal of her own.
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