It was the tale of two games last night in watching the Final Four. The Butler vs. Michigan State game was indicative of the entire tournament. A mid-major team ‘upsetting’ a perennial powerhouse team. And to add to the drama the game came down to the last shot, with the ‘home team’ Butler Bulldogs surviving against Michigan State, one game away from turning their dream into a reality. Game two though was anything but reminiscent of the tournament, and can only be described as a nightmare for any West Virginia fan (or anyone who hates Duke). Not only did the Blue Devils dominate on their way to a 21 point victory, but WVU saw their star player Da’Sean Butler fall to a horrific knee injury (which of course the foul was called on WVU).
While Duke was well in control of the game, you could put a ‘W’ on the scoreboard as soon as Butler went down. He has been their most consistent player all season and if anyone could spark the comeback it would have been him. But with 9 minutes remaining in the game Butler was down on the ground and the Mountaineers were down for the count. Already without one key starter, the loss of Butler was too much for WVU to handle. And someway somehow, Duke played their best basketball of the season. They shot lights out yesterday, particularly from downtown, where they knocked down 52% of their 3-pointers.
Duke will now face the upstart Butler Bulldogs, who will not go down without a fight. Butler has been a surprise team this entire tournament and have knocked off teams with just as much talent as the Blue Devils, so the game isn’t written in stone yet. Though as tough as it is for me to admit, Duke seems unstoppable this season. If West Virginia’s length and athleticism, as well as their stellar defense wasn’t able to overcome Duke (or at least keep the game close), I’m not sure what Butler will be able to do.
One thing I do know is Butler will have the support of the nation, in Monday night’s showdown. Not only do people enjoy rooting for the underdog, but college basketball fans’ favorite past-time is rooting against Duke. The Blue Devils haven’t done themselves any favors of late to change their reputation, as Duke didn’t make any friends with their play this tournament, including last night’s game. Given the way this year’s Tournament has been going, anything is possible so Monday night could (hopefully will) be a surprise.