Will Butler Replace Duke as the Worst Basketball Champion Ever?

A blog about politics, sports, media, stuff
April 5 2011 7:10 PM

Will Butler Replace Duke as the Worst Basketball Champion Ever?

It wasn't that the Butler Bulldogs showed up and played a bad game of basketball in the


last night. Most everyone has a clunker sometime. What was depressing about Butler was that the plucky underdogs weren't even trying to play basketball—they were just chucking three-pointers, hoping to get hot enough from long range to make up for the fact that they were incapable of doing anything else.

Connecticut's Jim Calhoun is a crooked coach, but righteousness doesn't have much to do with talent. The only pleasure to be had from the title game was seeing Butler try to chip away at UConn with its slow, methodical, disciplined passing game, to create an open shot—only to have one of the non-methodical Huskies recover in time to leap over and swat the ball. That's the kind of basketball allegory I grew up enjoying.

So the game ended, after 40 long minutes of scoreboard-clock time, with Butler having made 3 of 31 shots from inside the three-point line and having scored 2 points in the paint. Overall, with their three-pointers included, the Bulldogs shot 18.8 percent, the worst performance ever in the tournament final.

Does that make Connecticut's victory less impressive than even the title won by last year's

, also against Butler? This year's Butler team was worse than last year's; on the other hand, last year's game came down to the buzzer, while UConn won this one handily, if sloppily. Sorry, Blue Devils. (Not really.)

But Jon Scheyer and friends still have a chance to get off the hook. Calhoun is already facing a

next season for "failure to monitor and promote an atmosphere of compliance" in his program's recruiting, as the NCAA delicately put it. If UConn gets caught having done anything else, Calhoun could follow in the footsteps of his


for the second time in his career.

Should that happen, then either the title would be vacant, or the bricklaying Butler team would be the retroactive champions. Duke stunk last year, but they weren't as bad as Butler. And they were definitely better than nobody.



The Self-Made Man

The story of America’s most pliable, pernicious, irrepressible myth.

The GOP Senate Candidate in Iowa Doesn’t Want Voters to Know Just How Conservative She Really Is

Does Your Child Have “Sluggish Cognitive Tempo”? Or Is That Just a Disorder Made Up to Scare You?

The Supreme Court, Throughout Its History, Has Been a Massive Disappointment

Why Indians in America Are Mad for India’s New Prime Minister

Damned Spot

Now Stare. Don’t Stop.

The perfect political wife’s loving gaze in campaign ads.

Building a Better Workplace

You Deserve a Pre-cation

The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.

Rehtaeh Parsons Was the Most Famous Victim in Canada. Now, Journalists Can’t Even Say Her Name.

Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD

The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
Sept. 30 2014 12:04 PM John Hodgman on Why He Wore a Blue Dress to Impersonate Ayn Rand
  News & Politics
Sept. 30 2014 2:36 PM This Court Erred The Supreme Court has almost always sided with the wealthy, the privileged, and the powerful.
Building a Better Workplace
Sept. 30 2014 1:16 PM You Deserve a Pre-cation The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.
Sept. 30 2014 1:48 PM Thrashed Florida State’s new president is underqualified and mistrusted. But here’s how he can turn it around.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 30 2014 3:21 PM Meet Jordan Weissmann Five questions with Slate’s senior business and economics correspondent.
Brow Beat
Sept. 30 2014 3:59 PM The Trailer for Taken 3 Is Here, and Guess Who’s on His Phone Again
Future Tense
Sept. 30 2014 2:38 PM Scientists Use Electrical Impulses to Help Paralyzed Rats Walk Again
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 30 2014 7:30 AM What Lurks Beneath the Methane Lakes of Titan?
Sports Nut
Sept. 28 2014 8:30 PM NFL Players Die Young. Or Maybe They Live Long Lives. Why it’s so hard to pin down the effects of football on players’ lives.