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UConn: The Unappreciated Cinderella

All the talk yesterday was about Butler's Cinderella run to its second consecutive NCAA final, and much of the talk afterward was how disappointing it was to see the Bulldogs fall short again, and in such hideous fashion.

But let's look at things another way: Our 2011 champions had bombed out of the NIT this time last spring. They had begun this season unranked, an afterthought, having lost eight players from the previous year, three of them starters, with four freshmen forced to step into major roles. Their coach was battling cancer for a third time, and by midseason he was wrestling with NCAA investigators. They lost seven of 11 games going into the Big East tournament. They were relying heavily on the services of a wisp of a kid named Jeremy Lamb who, almost out of nowhere, turned into Scottie Pippen once the postseason began — per John Gasaway, Lamb shot 56 percent from two and 52 percent from three and took 23 percent of UConn's shots when he was on the floor (and you can be sure Butler players won't throw another entry pass in their lives without worrying about Lamb shooting the lane). They played for a national championship, and their best player shot 5-for-19 from the field, and somehow they still won.


Connecticut pulled off an improbable run to a national championship, one only a smidge less preposterous than a Butler title would've been. Maybe in a way it was to the Huskies' misfortune that they made Butler play so ugly. A Cinderella won last night, but all anyone will remember is how dull the dance was.

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