TOURNEY WATCH: 4/6/2010

One shining letdown.

Well, all good things must come to an end, and so it was for the uppity Butler Bulldogs, whose Cinderella run stopped just a few seconds short of midnight.

I couldn't help but think that if Butler had Denis Clemente or Jacob Pullen out there on the court at the end, instead of Gordon Hayward and Shelvin Mack — both of whom struggled mightily to get clean shots against the Duke defense — that the Bulldogs would have won the game when they were down one with 13 seconds left.

When it really counted, Butler's team style finally came back to bite the Bulldogs, because they didn't have a superior playmaker such as Kyle Singler who could step up and make a tough, guarded shot for the outright win.

Butler always will be remembered as a nice story, but I think it finished exactly where it deserved to (given those few flaws that weren't exposed until Monday night): A hair short of being a champion.

One shining moment, indeed.

And the real hell of it is: It's hard to see another confluence of events in our lifetime such as those that propelled the Bulldogs into the national championship. Will a small school ever be that close to a title again...?

AP Ranking = 7

ESPN/USA Today Ranking = 7

NCAA Seed = 2 (West Region)

Record = 29-8

  • Loyola Chicago (14-16)
  • Western Illinois (13-17)
  • Boston University (21-14)
  • No. 2* seed Ole Miss (24-11)
  • No. 3* seed Dayton (25-12)
  • IUPUI (25-11)
  • FHSU (22-7)
  • Washington State (16-15)
  • No. 6 seed Xavier (26-9)
  • No. 8 seed UNLV (25-9)
  • Alabama (17-15)
  • No. 16 seed UAPB (18-16)
  • Cleveland State (16-17)
  • South Dakota (22-10)
  • No. 10 seed Missouri (23-11)
  • No. 5 seed Texas A&M (24-10)
  • Colorado (15-16)
  • No. 8 seed Texas (24-10)
  • No. 7 seed Oklahoma State (22-11)
  • No. 3 seed Baylor (28-8)
  • No. 1 seed Kansas (33-3)
  • Nebraska (15-18)
  • Iowa State (15-17)
  • Oklahoma (13-18)
  • No. 5* seed Texas Tech (19-16)
  • No. 15 seed North Texas (24-9)
  • No. 7 seed BYU (30-6)
  • No. 5 seed Butler (33-5): Loss to No. 1 seed Duke (61-59 in the NCAA Tournament)

*NIT

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