It closed with 11th-seeded VCU in the Final Four and with eighth-seeded Butler joining the 1985 Villanova team as the highest seed to play in a championship game.
Villanova won that game by taking the air out of the ball and upsetting Georgetown.
Butler tried to do it in a most un-Butler way — by running a little and jacking up 3s.
Didn't work, and when the Bulldogs tried later to make baskets in the paint, it really looked like there was a lid there. During their dry spell, Howard, Garrett Butcher and Andrew Smith all missed open shots from under the bucket. It just wasn't their day.
"I felt like we kept trying to go back inside," Howard said. "We had quite a few pretty good looks. They just weren't going in."
It won't go down as an offensive masterpiece for UConn, either.
The Huskies only made 19 of 55 shots, and Walker's 16 points came on 5-for-19 shooting. But through the ups and downs of the junior's college career, he has shown there are lots of way to lead — with words in the locker room, by example in the weight room and by doing the little things like playing defense and grabbing rebounds. He had nine on this night and finished with 15 in two games, including the 56-55 win over Kentucky in the semifinals.
His biggest offensive highlight: Probably the twisting, scooping layup he made with 10:15 left that put UConn ahead 39-28 — a double-digit lead that was essentially insurmountable in this kind of contest.
"It was tough shooting in the first half, but in the second half, we stuck with each other," Walker said. "We told each other we were going to make shots, and that's what we did."
It was the final, successful chapter in a season defined by believing even when things weren't going so great. This team lost its last two regular-season games and looked like it would spend a short time in the March Madness bracket. Instead, the Huskies were the team cutting down the last set of nets.
"We were unstoppable," Walker said. "That's why we're national champions. We're the best team in the country."
CBT: Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski made it official that he'll be coaching Team USA at the 2016 Rio Olympics, and he'll also be with Duke at least that long, too.
Latest from CollegeBasketballTalk
College basketball videos
Team USA prolongs Coach K's tenure at Duke
DPS: Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski joins the Dan Patrick Show to talk about his decision to return as Team USA basketball coach. Coach K admits coaching in the Olympics has extending his tenure at Duke, saying, “I wouldn’t stop coaching at Duke while I am still the National [team] coach.”
Three cheers for college hoops
Take a look at cheerleaders in action from around the country.